1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Relativity Special Relativity by T.M. Helliwell

  1. Strongly Recommend

  2. Lightly Recommend

    0 vote(s)
  3. Lightly don't Recommend

    0 vote(s)
  4. Strongly don't Recommend

    0 vote(s)
  1. Jan 19, 2013 #1
    Last edited: May 6, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 13, 2013 #2


    User Avatar
    Education Advisor

    Does anyone have any experience with this book? I'm starting university physics this spring, and I was considering using this book to self study SR over the summer, in between physics I and II. I want to use the Purcell E&M book as a supplement for physics II, but I've gathered that the Purcell book assumes prior knowledge of SR. Since I'll have a whole summer between Physics I and II, I figured self studying some SR would be a good way to utilize that time.

    Any other suggestions would be great too!
  4. Aug 14, 2013 #3
    This is a good book for learning SR for the first time after completing Physics I. The author explicitly states this in the beginning chapters.

    As for the content itself, the author stresses concept more than math within the book. I found the book very easy to read and have been reading it over the summer. Although it took me sometime to finish it, it could be finished within a month if a person is studious. Like every book though, there are practice problems at the end of every chapter and if you really want to understand SR the practice problems are worth doing.

    I've posted the standard chapters in another thread I believe, and there are appendices that relate to specific chapters to give the student more information in relation to a certain chapter.

    All in all I recommend it strongly for the student learning SR for the first time.
  5. Apr 15, 2016 #4
    How is this book compared to Spacetime Physics (Maroon version) by Taylor and Wheeler?
  6. Apr 15, 2016 #5


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    I don't have any texts to compare it with, but I thought Helliwell's book was excellent. It was the first serious study I'd done in 30 years and I was completely new to SR (I'm a pure maths graduate). It was the perfect introduction to SR. One of the author's strengths, in my opinion, was to know how much the student can digest at any one point. Everything seemed to come in manageable chapters, but when I reached the end of the book and looked back it was suprising how much had been covered.

    I wouldn't expect to nail SR from any book in a month (unless you're very clever!). It took me three months really to learn SR properly, I would say.

    I've started GR this year and I didn't need an additional text to bridge the gap. Helliwell doesn't cover the more general vector-based approach to relativistic kinematics, but that was covered in my GR text. In any case, I believe that if you nail the basics of SR, then generalising to a more mathematical approach is not very difficult. For me, Helliwell's focus on the core ideas was spot on.
  7. Apr 15, 2016 #6
    Based on the contents and skimming through the book, I think it is a very good book. But I'm just curious if Helliwell is better than or at the same league as Taylor and Wheeler. Thanks for your comment on the book.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?
Draft saved Draft deleted