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Thomas Thiemann's book

  1. Nov 5, 2007 #1
    Has anyone taken a look at it yet? I would kind of like to get my grubby hands on it, but I'm not about to shell out $130. Thanks, but no thanks.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 5, 2007 #2


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    Nor I. And I see the price has gone up.

    Earlier Amazon was listing it for $130, I think, but when it actually came out the price posted was $140.

    The Cambridge website has more information about the book, including the full Table of Contents.
    It looks like it could be a useful book, when institutional libraries have it on the shelf. I'll certainly walk over to the physics library and peruse, but shell out bux for it I'll not.

    In case anyone is curious, it has salesrank around #67,000 at the moment. I've seen worse. Despite its whopping price, the book is selling.
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2007
  4. Nov 6, 2007 #3
    I have a copy if you have any questions about it. A nice feature is that there are well over two hundred pages devoted to mathematical methods which is quite difficult to find all in one place.
  5. Nov 9, 2007 #4
    I have it, it's absolutely amazing and in my opinion worth the price tag. I was going to get it a few months ago but I decided to wait until I got to uni' so that I could use the 15% discount that Cambridge students get on CUP books.
  6. Nov 9, 2007 #5
    Are there major differences between the published book and the draft available from the arxiv?

    BTW, does someone have information on Kiefer's (also expensive) book?

  7. Nov 9, 2007 #6


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    Hopefully Geoff or Perturbation will let us know for sure, but I would expect huge differences since the draft on arxiv is several years old.
    In case anyone wants to look I will post the link

    this was posted in October 2001 and the arxiv version has not been revised or updated since then. So the actual published version is different by 5 or 6 years

    the 2001 draft is 301 pages.

    a lot has changed since 2001 and the published version has twice as many pages so I would guess it is totally different
  8. Nov 9, 2007 #7
    Hi Marcus,

    You're correct; I see now that the preprint has not been updated.
  9. Nov 9, 2007 #8


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    I sympathize with your dilemma. Book prices can be formidable.
    For those of us who are not students at Cambridge, enjoying a 15 percent discount, there is always the hope that the book will be available secondhand for less.

    Or that the local campus library will soon have the book available to lend.

    From my standpoint, in the USA, part of the price must be due to the declining dollar.

    Anyway, it sounds like Geoff and Perturbation are pretty happy with it!
  10. Nov 9, 2007 #9
    Hi Marcus,

    The book is expensive, yes. But I can purchase it. The problem that I'm facing now is to choose from a huge list of books which one(s) I'll be purchasing for myself as a christmas gift. I must take the opportunity that US$1.00 now is "only" R$1.75 (Brazilian reals).

  11. Nov 15, 2007 #10
    I stumbled upon the book by accident when browsing at the UC Davis Library yesterday when I was trying to buy printer paper. I couldn't hold back, I bought the book and http://angryphysicist.wordpress.com...modern-canonical-quantum-general-relativity/" of it (or what I've read so far, I'm plowing through chapter 4 as we speak).

    The content from the introduction to the last page of chapter 33 totals some 774 pages long, 34 pages additionally are used for the bibliography, and to top it off it's hardcover (which is probably why it's so expensive). Personally I prefer hard cover books because they're durable, and most books I have I read many times (I don't have a TV, so I read for enjoyment...so having paperback books is a bad idea since they get well worn fast; for example my copy of Misner, Thorne, and Wheeler's Gravitation is already starting to fall apart after two years of intensive study!).

    If you're not a die-hard reader like me, you'll probably want to wait for the paperback version to come out...but this may be a year or two, I don't know how Cambridge University Press works :(
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 23, 2017
  12. Nov 15, 2007 #11


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    have to respect this. not everybody has what it takes to plow through a book like that.
    I look forward to reading the review at your blog!
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 23, 2017
  13. Nov 15, 2007 #12
    Loved your review of the book, Angry.

    I just don't have the will, mental stamina, mathematical background, and $130 lying around to go out and get that monster.
  14. Nov 15, 2007 #13
    I think you'd find the mental stamina if you were sick and had nothing else to do all day ;)

    Heck, my cold is so bad I sleep only a few hours at night. More time to study this fantastic text!

    The book is very mathematical, but unlike your average "high level" math textbook Thiemann can actually write in a very engaging manner.

    That perhaps saddens me most seeing a math textbook being little more than a grocery list of definitions and theorems. It's so...boring! I don't know about others, but after reading a topology textbook for the first time, my initial response was "So...what? How is this 'open ball' thing useful in anyway? It seems like this author just needed a few extra bucks and decided to write a textbook to get by." (A very smart maneuver for math professors :wink: )

    I don't know how, but Thiemann actually makes the math come alive. I would love to meet Dr. Thiemann sometime, he really knows his stuff and can communicate it clearly with ease.

    Compare this to another book I got recently: Lectures on Quantum Mechanics by Paul Dirac! For the lazy layperson that hasn't read anything by Dirac, Dirac is notorious for letting the math do the explanation.

    (I actually had a T.A. lead my very first calculus section that couldn't speak English, he spoke Chinese. He also had to learn arabic numerals too; it was fascinating watching him work using Chinese numerals and translate them into arabic ones! In order to communicate, we had to write equations on the chalk board and give hand waves, grunt "Huh?" when we got lost, and he would in turn go step by step on the chalk board with what he'd do grunting "Uhuh?"; Paul Dirac was, as I understand it, exactly like this during a lecture. Except when asked a question to clarify an equation, Dirac would simply shake his head.)

    I also loved the forward; I love hearing about people's stories about how they decided to come into their respective fields. And Dr. Christopher Isham is a researcher I have the utmost regard for, reading his story - even if it was 3 paragraphs long (out of 2 pages) - was a pleasure.

    Dr. Isham appears to have tremendous faith in Thiemann though. Isham writes in the forward:
    (Forward, last paragraph on page xviii)

    --emphasis added.

    No pressure Dr. Thiemann, but the entire fate of canonical quantum gravity lies on your shoulders! :biggrin:
  15. Nov 15, 2007 #14
    Too true! Every math textbook I've used for classes were just painful to read. To be honest, I think I learned advanced calculus and linear/abstract algebra from this forum and wikipedia instead of from textbooks. Of course, this doesn't make me too confident in my math background at all.

    I may have to look into this book, are there any excerpts online?
  16. Nov 15, 2007 #15
    I don't think so, but there was a rough draft on arxiv.org if memory serves. (I just looked it up, and it's An Introduction to Modern Canonical Quantum General Relativity, similar title but I think it's more of a scaffolding for the topics to cover in the book rather than a rough draft.)

    The closest thing to an excerpt is from Amazon.com.

    Just what I could find...
  17. Nov 15, 2007 #16
    Skimmed over it and it looks pretty interesting, I may very well end up buying this book.

    Thanks very much for all your help Angry :smile:
  18. Nov 15, 2007 #17
    Now if Thiemann would only pay me commission I'd be set :biggrin:
  19. Jan 28, 2008 #18
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 23, 2017
  20. Jan 28, 2008 #19
    Wow! 65 dollar? Here in europe it costs at least 120 euro (=176 dollar). I have immediately ordered it from amazon. Shipping to europe only costs about 3 dollars. Ok, it will take about a month for it to arrive, but a 70 euro discount is worth waiting for.
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