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Self-learning Special and General Relativity

  1. Jul 6, 2017 #1
    (I don't know if this is the right place to post it, but I think the "textbooks" section is'nt. So I'm going to put it here.)

    I have been self studying S&G relativity for almost eight months, mostly from Weinberg's book on S&G relativity, but also from papers I occasionally find on web and from the help of PF members when I start threads here.

    I'm actually in the second year at uni to get a bachelor degree on physics. I'm not getting S&G relativity lectures yet, since these are usually at the third / fourth year of the course. Anyway I don't like introductory lectures, because I find them so simple. BTW, I started learning Calculus long before starting the course at uni. When I did start studying there, I already knew almost all of Calculus. (I wonder why the same doesn't happens to S&G relativity.)

    My question is, do you people think I'm too slow in learning the theory? Six months!!! and I can only derive things like:

    - Schwarzschild solution
    - Most of those expressions of Special relativity
    - FRW metric

    And of course, I understand some of the theory behind these derivations. But this is a litlle bit of the foundamentals of S&G relativity. On the part of Cosmology I know almost nothing at all!! When I turn to more advanced textbooks or even at uni when I talk to professors or guys which are in graduate courses, I see that I know essentially nothing, and it is long for almost eight months!!!

    I can't stop loving physics. What can I do? Maybe pay for a Phd to give me lectures on the topics I'm interested in?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 8, 2017 #2


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    Hm, I think you are pretty far when you really can solve the Einstein equations to get the FLRW and Schwartzschild solutions, and if you understand Weinberg's book on the subject (I guess you mean "Gravitation and Cosmology" from the early 70ies), then you are pretty advanced. Of course, if you talk to a PhD student working on a research problem in GR/cosmology, it's likely that you don't understand much of his or her advanced and specialized problem. In my opinion it's also not good to specialize too early. You should first get a broad knowledge about the fundamental basics to see what you really like to do for a PhD.

    So, I'd encourage you to go on learning what you like, but also try to follow a systematic study plan on your university, so that you get a broad overview over all of (I guess theoretical?) physics and a solid foundation for more specialized work in the higher semesters and finally a PhD work.
  4. Jul 8, 2017 #3
    Thanks vanhees71.
    Yes, that's what I meant
    Really? But this is so simple. There are still all those things about gravitational waves, rotating black holes, etc... which I can say are really hard for me to understand. Quantum Mechanics usually has to be used, and the integrals that appear are really challenging for me.

    How far do you think one who knows what is presented in Weinberg's book is from understanding (and being capable to work with) things like the integrals with QM terms, etc?
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