1. Not finding help here? Sign up for a free 30min 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!

The theory of relativity by Christian Møller

  1. Apr 27, 2014 #1
    I stumbled upon this text recently and I was just interested in how you'd rate it, in case you're familiar with it.
    To me the exposition seems alright, but the text is old and sometimes it shows.
    Would you consider learning relativity from this book as a main source or would you go for a more modern exposition? and why?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 28, 2014 #2

    robphy

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    While there are some topics of interest not covered or emphasized in more modern texts,
    I would not recommend it as a main source (with the selection available today) because it doesn't emphasize geometrical thinking in terms of spacetime and spacetime diagrams. In the preface, Moller declares his preference for 3-d vector calculus in the beginning, followed later by 4-d tensor calculus [with ict] --with emphasis on algebra and calculus, which is good for doing some types of calculations.

    My $0.03.
     
  4. Apr 28, 2014 #3

    Bill_K

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Moller is very well-written and very well-organized. As Robphy says, he covers several topics more thoroughly than most modern texts, and often devotes more attention to a 3+1 split.

    What he does not cover at all is black holes, so for this reason alone you'll need another book to consult.
     
  5. Apr 28, 2014 #4

    vanhees71

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    2016 Award

    ict convention is a no-go nowadays, while I don't know, why one should empasize Minkowski diagrams. Usually I find them more confusing than the algebra/calcculus in covariant form.
     
  6. Apr 28, 2014 #5

    Bill_K

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Except when doing a Wick rotation, then it's acceptable. :wink:
     
  7. Apr 28, 2014 #6

    robphy

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    It was Minkowski's reformulation of Einstein's papers that led to the "covariant" way of thinking.
    Minkowski formulated "space-time" geometry, "proper-time", "light-cone", "world-line", and 4-vectors [developed further by Sommerfeld].
    (Einstein didn't appreciate all of this at the time. Sommerfeld quotes Einstein "Since the mathematicians have invaded the theory of relativity, I do not understand it myself any more".)


    Did you learn [or would you teach] introductory Euclidean geometry with algebra and calculus, but no diagrams?
    Are diagrams of Euclidean geometry confusing?
    (Is it helpful to draw the intersection of two figures? Or just write a system of equations?)


    In PHY 101, we often draw "position vs time" diagrams (a.k.a. space-time diagrams... although one often does not recognize or explicitly use its underlying non-euclidean metric) to supplement the typical algebraic and calculus-based kinematic equations. This is especially helpful for piecewise motions that are not easy to write down algebraically.
    (Later, we also draw Free-Body diagrams and do vector-addition graphically.. to support an algebraic computation.)


    Finally, I like this quote from
    J.L. Synge in Relativity: The Special Theory (1956), p. 63 ,
    "Anyone who studies relativity without understanding
    how to use simple space-time diagrams
    is as much inhibited as a student of
    functions of a complex variable who
    does not understand the Argand diagram."
     
  8. Apr 29, 2014 #7
    Thanks for all the answers, as i kept reading the book and i saw the way it deals with the structure of spacetime i realized i truly dont like it.
    I'll stick to Visser's lecture notes and to Wald's text for now.
     
  9. Apr 29, 2014 #8
    I find this very interesting, given that the geometric interpretation of the properties of spacetime are at the very core of GR's foundations. I didnt know this was Einstein's opinion at first.
    Do you know how he came to appreciate this later on?
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2014
  10. Apr 29, 2014 #9

    robphy

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

  11. Apr 29, 2014 #10

    WannabeNewton

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    The book proves that the Einstein synchronization convention is actually a synchronization convention. This immediately makes it better than most SR books out there :)

    But apart from that, I wouldn't use it as a main resource for learning relativity. It is far too outdated. There are more comprehensive and more modern texts out there you can use to greater fruition.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?
Draft saved Draft deleted



Similar Discussions: The theory of relativity by Christian Møller
Loading...