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Textbook recommendations

  1. Apr 12, 2014 #1
    Not sure if this is the best location to ask this lol, I find myself at a quandary, I'm an avid reader and I'm looking for more textbooks to add to my collection. Preference on the technical side. I prefer seeing the related metrics etc.

    Textbooks I already have.

    "First three minutes" by Weinburg
    "Introductory to particle physics" by Peter Griffith
    "Introductory to Cosmology" by Barbera Ryden
    "Modern Cosmology 2nd edition" by Scott Dodelson
    "Towards the mathematics of quantum field theory" by Frederic Paugam
    "Introduction to Quantum mechanics" by A.C Phillips
    "Introduction to Astronomy and Cosmology" by Ian Morison
    "Elementary Differential Geometry" by Barrett O'Neill

    although these aren't precisely textbooks they are of the same format to count as such

    "Relativity: The Special and General Theory" reprint by Albert Einstein
    "Particle Physics of the Early Universe" By Uwe Gein weiss
    "Astrophysics and Cosmology" by Juan Garcıa-Bellido
    "Fields" by W. Siegel
    DIFFERENTIAL GEOMETRY :A First Course in Curves and Surfaces by Theodore Shifrin
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 12, 2014 #2
    ah good a moderator found a better post location lol

    preference on Cosmology and GR,SR related textbooks
  4. Apr 12, 2014 #3


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    Hi Mordred! What specifically are you looking for in the realm of GR/SR textbooks?
  5. Apr 12, 2014 #4
    better coverage of Minkowski metrics the one book I have covering SR and GR, by Albert Einstein posted in my list doesn't go into great detail its a reprint of Einsteins original. So not the greatest considering the more modern developments
  6. Apr 12, 2014 #5


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    So are you looking for modern pedagogical treatments of SR and GR?
  7. Apr 12, 2014 #6
    absolutely, I've read numerous dissertations and articles on the subject however it would be nice to have a decent hard copy lol. Obvously several of my books cover the EFE aspects however any further material will expand my database and knowledge.

    the book I mentioned is a free for distribution so I can link it for comparision


    For example I have no decent coverage of Kerr space-time and killing vectors, nor Boyer-Lindquist coordinates, much of what I learned on those subjects is via this forum and articles I've located.
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2014
  8. Apr 13, 2014 #7


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    Well there are a plethora of books I can suggest (GR is one of those special subjects of physics for which pedagogically brilliant books are abundant) but let me just list my favorites i.e. the ones that I've found most instructive, elegant, and conceptually deep.

    (1) https://www.amazon.com/Gravity-Introduction-Einsteins-General-Relativity/dp/0805386629
    (2) https://www.amazon.com/Spacetime-Ge...r=1-1&keywords=carroll+spacetime+and+geometry
    (3) https://www.amazon.com/Special-Rela...keywords=special+relativity+in+general+frames
    (4) https://www.amazon.com/Foundations-...4&sr=1-1&keywords=malament+general+relativity
    (5) https://www.amazon.com/General-Rela...66247&sr=1-1&keywords=wald+general+relativity
    (6) https://www.amazon.com/Gravitation-...=1-1&keywords=wheeler+gravitation+and+inertia
    (7) https://www.amazon.com/General-Relativity-Graduate-Texts-Physics/dp/9400754094

    I especially love (4) and (6) because both deal extensively with the concept of rotation in GR, which is unequivocally my most favorite topic in GR. (7) is also incredibly amazing because it is very comprehensive and uses Cartan calculus to a great degree (as opposed to the Ricci calculus used in most GR texts) and as such allows for an easy transition into general gauge theories. (1), being an introductory text, has very instructive problem sets and insightful discussions (this is the book we use for the undergraduate GR course at my university). (5) is a classic that basically everyone involved in relativity knows more or less inside and out so it speaks for itself.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  9. Apr 13, 2014 #8
    many thanks, I'll probably pick up a couple of them judging from the prices. Course I'll have to slip it past the wife lol. She tends to ask why I study this space stuff as she puts it "I'll never go there" I usually tell her I'm already there but she doesn't grasp that lol
  10. Apr 13, 2014 #9


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    My mom says the same exact thing haha. She's a biologist so to her, something like interference of de-Broigle waves in a Sagnac ring due to the twist of the time-like Killing field of a spinning star is hopelessly abstract.

    By the way, what is your opinion of Dodelson? I'm doing a project on low frequency band gravitational waves from inflation and was thinking of using Dodelson as my primary reference for the needed background.
  11. Apr 13, 2014 #10
    Dodelson is an excellent reference he has a good coverage of detecting gravitational waves,acoustic oscillations, large scale anisotropies, Boltzmann and polarization, along with weak lensing and analysis techniques. His book is not for the faint of heart as he expects you to already have a decent understanding in Calculus and cosmology, however I know you have those skills already. He also has good coverage of harmonic oscillator.

    Barbera Ryden does a better job showing the metrics of the FLRW metrics in regards to geometry and distance measures, however I use Dodelson for the more advanced metrics.

    his chapter on the initial conditions will help, however he tends to bounce around the same principals in his other chapters lol.

    Initial Conditions 139
    6.1 The Einstein-Boltzmann Equations at Early Times 139
    6.2 The Horizon 142
    6.3 Inflation 144
    6.3.1 A Solution to the Horizon Problem 146
    6.3.2 Negative Pressure 151
    6.3.3 Implementation with a Scalar Field 151
    6.4 Gravity Wave Production 155
    6.4.1 Quantizing the Harmonic Oscillator 156
    6.4.2 Tensor Perturbations 157
    6.5 Scalar Perturbations 162
    6.5.1 Scalar Field Perturbations around a Smooth Background 162
    6.5.2 Super-Horizon Perturbations 164
    6.5.3 Spatially Flat Slicing 169
    6.6 Summary and Spectral Indices 170 Exercises

    this one chapter table of contents will give you some idea of the intensity of the metrics in the book

    here is his Anisotropies table of contents

    8.1 Overview
    8.2 Large-Scale Anisotropies
    8.3 Acoustic Oscillations
    8.3.1 Tightly Coupled Limit of the Boltzmann Equations
    8.3.2 Tightly Coupled Solutions
    8.4 Diffusion Damping
    8.5 Inhomogeneities to Anisotropies
    8.5.1 Free Streaming
    8.5.2 The Ct's
    8.6 The Anisotropy Spectrum Today
    8.6.1 Sachs-Wolfe Effect
    8.6.2 Small Scales
    8.7 Cosmological Parameters
    8.7.1 Curvature
    8.7.2 Degenerate Parameters
    8.7.3 Distinct Imprints Exercises
    9 Probes of Inhomogeneities
    9.1 Angular Correlations
    9.2 Peculiar Velocities
    9.3 Direct Measurements of Peculiar Velocities
    9.4 Redshift Space Distortions 9.5 Galaxy Clusters Exercises

    You can probably get an indication of how informative this book is from those two tables of contents

    edit: by the way I had to type that in so if there is spelling mistakes its my fault not the books lol
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2014
  12. Apr 13, 2014 #11


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    Brilliant, thank you Mordred!
  13. Apr 13, 2014 #12
    no problem, I can easily promise you will not be disappointed in having that book in your collection. I easily count it among my best purchases. Also thanks again on your recommended books
  14. Apr 13, 2014 #13
    Another article that is an excellent compilation and reference you may be interested in is

    "Fields" best part is its free 885 pages of various field related metrics, I find this reference invaluable

  15. Apr 13, 2014 #14


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  16. Apr 13, 2014 #15

    George Jones

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  17. Apr 13, 2014 #16
    sweet, I also bought a copy of Wald's General relativity, there was a copy at the university, between that your added posts and George Jones post, that should give me an excellent coverage of GR lol
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2014
  18. Apr 13, 2014 #17
    I've been skimming over this text I particularly love the fact he refers to many of the arxiv articles I have in my collection. My thanks again for this
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