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Special and general relativity resources

  1. Feb 18, 2007 #1
    Hello I am a highschool student who's interested in general relativity and would like to know about some good books. I know vector calculus, a bit of the calculus of variations, a bit about vector spaces and linear algebra, and of course and introductory knowledge of special realtivity. I also have some knowledge of ordinary differential equations and ordinary systems, though I can't claim to be very well versed.

    I've recently learnt about tensors, though my knowledge is still very elementary. I prefer the component free approach as I find it more rigorous and beautiful(however as I've said I still know very little as the notation has kept me from getting very far).

    I'm looking for something that is mostly informal and that doesn't assume that I know the notation before hand. It would be necessary for it to devellop the necessary tensor calculus and diff geom in an informal way. I would be happiest if they formalized the material after a discussion of the intuition and motivation behind a concept.

    I'm not exceptionally bright, but I'm very eager and willing to learn.

    BTW, I've already read portions of a first course in general realtivity. The first chapter was very good(learnt the basic goemetrical aspects from it). The later chapters however had very confusing notation. I have very little formal training you see.

    Anyway I'm rambling. If you need more information please don't hesitate to ask.

    Peace out.

    EDIT: If it covers other aspects of physics(related), then that would be a plus.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2007
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  3. Feb 18, 2007 #2

    quasar987

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  4. Feb 19, 2007 #3

    That's in postscript? How can I run postscript? Is it really that good? I heard that his book is based on it.

    i'm short on money now, so yes lecture notes should do. For now though, i'm reading explroing black holes til I've mastered all of the prerequisite tensor calculus and diff geom.

    So how do you run postscript?

    I'm interested in spacetime and geometry the book, but it's not available in canada. How unlucky I am.
     
  5. Feb 19, 2007 #4

    cristo

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    In the paragraph above the ps links there is this sentence
    Click on the link, and it takes you to the notes in pdf from arxiv
     
  6. Feb 19, 2007 #5
  7. Feb 19, 2007 #6

    robphy

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  8. Feb 19, 2007 #7

    George Jones

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    :grumpy: Poor unlucky guy, all Canadians live in igloos, and bookcases don't fit inside igloos.

    I'm not sure what you mean by the above comment. This book is availabe at the libraries of most Canadian universities, as it is at the libraries of most American universities. It isn't available at most Canadian and American municipal libraries.

    If you want to buy this book, you won't find this book in most bookstores in the US. University bookstores, and Borders and Barnes and Noble that cater to university populations *might* stock this book.

    The same is true in Canada (replacing Borders and Barnes and Nobles with Chapters/Indigo). In fact, I bought my copy of this book off the shelf from the University of Toronto bookstore. Any Chapters/Indigo/Coles will order this book for you, and you can even do this on-line and have it delivered to your door. I did this for Hartle's relativity book.

    I now live in Saint John, New Brunswick, and, previously, I lived in Quebec, Ontario, and Manitoba. At no time was I in a position that I couldn't purchase advanced physics and math books.
     
  9. Feb 19, 2007 #8
    Firstly are there books that explain all the notation beforehand.

    Also what I mean was that I couldn't find the book at any of the canadian versions of american webistes, like amazon.ca. I'm used to rodering things. I guess I'll need to go to the u of t bookstore.
     
  10. Feb 19, 2007 #9

    George Jones

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    Sorry, but to my ear, it sounded like you said you were unlucky to live in Canada.

    I bought the book in September, 2004, so it might not still be there, In any case, If you live in the area, U ot T bookstore is a good (used to be great, but now there's too much on-line competition) to browse. Might sure to check both dowstairs (where the texts for courses are located) and upstairs (where general, including technical, books are located.

    amazon.ca


    Chapters
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2007
  11. Feb 19, 2007 #10
    Based on what i wanted, which book would better to start with, MTW or spacetime and geometry?
     
  12. Feb 19, 2007 #11

    George Jones

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    Everybody is different, so: different things work for different people; different people will recommend different books.

    I recommend that you learn special relativity first, either from A Traveler's Guide to Spacetime by Moore, or from Spacetime Physics by Taylor and Wheeler.

    In this chain of links, I said more about learning GR.

    In any event (Pun intended!), you have made a great start.

    And keep asking questions here.

    Welcome to Physics Forums!
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2007
  13. Feb 19, 2007 #12
    A word of warning. You've gotten some fairly decent math training for a high schooler, but this is physics. You won't really master it without going deep into the bowels of physics where everyone divides by dt whenever they feel like it.
     
  14. Feb 19, 2007 #13
    most of the math I learnt was within the context of physics. That's why i expressed concern over mathematical notation. Of course i ten to do math within a slightly more rigorous framework. Actually, I was terrible at math until I began studying mechanics.

    EDIT: Define fairly decent.
     
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