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Sr & Gr

  1. Jun 6, 2003 #1

    Id like to ask any of you to suggest to me a book which can describe SR & GR straight from its postulates all the way to the forumals used through math but also through detailed explanations. Does such a book exist ?

    I have almost complted reading elegant universe and it is pretty mind bending after chapter 2 when it starts to hit string theory. I think thats why not to many lay people and crackpots can come up with theories regarding string theory its pretty confusing.

    Anyway yeh back to my first question what books can you guys recommend which detail SR & GR in detail with explanations and math at the same time.

  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 6, 2003 #2


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    I see no replies as yet, but there will be.
    While you are waiting for people to recommend books you
    might try some of the GR and SR tutorials and animated movies on the wb.

    For SR try this

    For GR try for example:

    this has no movies and is very brief, but it has a bibliography pointing to some other things on the web

    This link is to the introduction of a very short simplified presentation called "The Meaning of Einsteins Equation"----it is condensed into about 8 pages and the last two are about the big bang and the cosmological constant.

    It may disappoint you---no hype. tells you the meaning in words and simplified highschool calculus of the main equations of GR. and one is apt to wonder "is that all????" really plain and simple.
    the no-frills 8 page treatment.

    Warning: this is not everybody's ideal introduction to GR! But it is free and you might get something out of it.
    Here is how Baez starts out on page one of "The meaning of
    einst. equation."


    General relativity explains gravity as the curvature of spacetime. It's all about geometry. The basic equation of general relativity is called Einstein's equation. In units where , it says

    [the equation didnt copy when I tried to bring it here]

    It looks simple, but what does it mean? Unfortunately, the beautiful geometrical meaning of this equation is a bit hard to find in most treatments of relativity. There are many nice popularizations that explain the philosophy behind relativity and the idea of curved spacetime, but most of them don't get around to explaining Einstein's equation and showing how to work out its consequences. There are also more technical introductions which explain Einstein's equation in detail -- but here the geometry is often hidden under piles of tensor calculus.
    This is a pity, because in fact there is an easy way to express the whole content of Einstein's equation in plain English. In what follows, we start by outlining some differences between special and general relativity. Next we give a verbal formulation of Einstein's equation. Then we derive a few of its consequences, and finally we explain why it is equivalent to the usual formulation in terms of tensors. This article is mainly aimed at those who teach relativity, but except for the last section, we have tried to make it accessible to students, as a sketch of how the subject might be introduced.

    end of quote

    There are great movies on the web about what it looks like to fall into a black hole or go very fast etc etc. But I will just offer this one thing. Other people will suggest other stuff.
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2003
  4. Jun 7, 2003 #3
    For SR, I would use Taylor&Wheeler's "Spacetime Physics" -- very accessible. GR is a lot harder; Schutz's "A First Course in General Relativity" is a decent starting book, but it's not easy. Both of these are real physics texts, not pop-physics books like Elegant Universe, so they are significantly harder.
  5. Jun 7, 2003 #4

    thats what im after actual physics texts , i just started reading Elegant because i heard that it was a good book, plus i just wanted a general intro into where physicist are these days.

    any more suggestions would be greatly appreciated so at the end i can make a selection on which book to get.

    The more the explanations & basics in terms of maths and interms of theory the better.

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