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SR/GR: What to study after A traveler's guide to spacetime ?

  1. Apr 6, 2009 #1
    SR/GR: What to study after "A traveler's guide to spacetime"?

    Just recently I finished an introductory course on special relativity. The book we used was "A travelers guide to spacetime" Moore. The subject got me hooked and I am now looking for a book to continue my study of it, slowly moving to general relativity. Would books like French, Rindler or Woodhouse be appropriate follow-ups to Moore or is the content of these books comparable to Moore? Would reading an introductory book on general relativity perhaps be more fruitful, instead of trying to learn more about special relativity?

    I am a freshman physics student and possibly relevant courses I have taken are calc 1&2 (I guess, equivalent to 1,2 and 3 in other countries), linear algebra 1, a first course in classical mechanics, thermodynamics, some quantum mechanics and astronomy and, of course, special relativity.

    I would love to hear about your opinions and suggestions.
     
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  3. Apr 6, 2009 #2

    robphy

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    Re: SR/GR: What to study after "A traveler's guide to spacetime"?

    General strategy:
    Learn to reason with spacetime diagrams, interpret physically and geometrically, and calculate with tensors.


    I would suggest Woodhouse SR... for use of tensors and relativistic electromagnetism.
    Then, maybe his GR book... and the book by Ludvigsen.
    At some point, Misner-Thorne-Wheeler, Wald, Hawking-Ellis.

    It would also be good to study from Taylor and Wheeler's first (maroon) edition of Spacetime Physics.

    Moore is working on a new textbook for GR.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2009
  4. Apr 7, 2009 #3
    Re: SR/GR: What to study after "A traveler's guide to spacetime"?

    Woodhouse it is then. It would be particularly fitting, since I just enrolled for E&M1.

    I've also read positive reviews of Schutz's GR book. How would that compare to your suggested books? Also, I have read some rather negative reviews of Taylor and Wheeler, the main concern being its "average Joe" target audience. Or would that only apply to later editions?
     
  5. Apr 7, 2009 #4

    Fredrik

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    Re: SR/GR: What to study after "A traveler's guide to spacetime"?

    I liked it a lot, but I liked it for the part about special relativity, and its introduction to tensors. Those parts are excellent, but when it was time to move on to GR, I found myself reading Wald instead. Wald is much more mathematical, and does a much better job of explaining GR in my opinion, but others have complained that it's too difficult to be used as an introductory text. To some extent it's a matter of taste. I really liked Wald, and yes, it is difficult, but it's mostly because he's not dumbing it down like some other books do, and I consider that a good thing.
     
  6. Apr 7, 2009 #5
    Re: SR/GR: What to study after "A traveler's guide to spacetime"?

    although Fredrik already point out that Schutz's GR is excellent, I still want to say: it is an excellent book! It is hard but not too hard, and his derivation is pretty easy to follow (and I think he is actually really humor in his book :D!). Also like Fredrik say, he emphasize a lot on SR and Tensor. And I think it would be nice to use it beside Gravitation, by Misner et al (just the part which labels 1).
     
  7. Apr 7, 2009 #6

    robphy

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    Re: SR/GR: What to study after "A traveler's guide to spacetime"?

    I like Schutz's book as well... and it seems to fit as a prelude to Misner Thorne Wheeler.

    The thing I like about Woodhouse's text is that it is more succinct... and one learns techniques in doing tensor calculations.
    (Maybe that's not ideal for a beginner... depending on your background.)

    (The 1966 maroon) Taylor and Wheeler was probably the first introductory text to really develop thinking in terms of spacetime and spacetime diagrams... rather than merely, e.g., Lorentz Transformations, length contraction formulas, etc...
     
  8. Apr 12, 2009 #7
    Re: SR/GR: What to study after "A traveler's guide to spacetime"?

    This is all very helpful. Thank you for your time!
     
  9. Apr 12, 2009 #8

    nicksauce

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    Re: SR/GR: What to study after "A traveler's guide to spacetime"?

    I, for one, think, at the least, a course in Classical Mechanics (Lagrangian/Hamiltonian), a Griffiths level E&M course, and vector calculus are important prerequisites for studying GR.
     
  10. Apr 13, 2009 #9

    atyy

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  11. Apr 14, 2009 #10
    Re: SR/GR: What to study after "A traveler's guide to spacetime"?

    That's good to know. I'm taking the latter two this semester, but unfortunately I'll have to wait until the last semester of the second year for the more advanced classical mechanics. I guess that's all the more reason to get a head start on that.

    Nice resource! Thanks a bunch. But I guess the lecture notes aren't as comprehensive as the textbook, are they?
     
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