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Weinberg vs. Misner, Thorne and Wheeler

  1. Jun 30, 2004 #1
    Which book on general relativity is better to start with?

    "Gravitation" by Misner, Thorne and Wheeler,


    "Gravitation and Cosmology" by Weinberg ?
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  3. Jun 30, 2004 #2


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    In my opinion, it depends on what you know already and what you want to learn in general relativity [or "get out of learning" general relativity].

    MTW is more "geometrical" and more abstract.
    Weinberg is more "practical", in some sense.
  4. Jul 1, 2004 #3
    I learned special relativity a couple of years ago. I know still (almost) nothing about GR. I'm starting in my fourth year now. Up to now i've been doing both physics and mathematics, so I know already something about curvature, Christoffel symbols, connections etc.

    Why do I want to learn GR? To solve the Quantum Gravity problem!
  5. Jul 1, 2004 #4


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    MTW, the "big black book", is great to have around for all the special topics it covers. But I myself wasn't able to use it for self training. All those different threads and sidebars made it a slog.
  6. Jul 1, 2004 #5
    I like Weinberg is better than MTW.

  7. Jul 1, 2004 #6


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    It's probably fair to say that Weinberg is a particle-physicist and Misner, Thorne, and Wheeler are relativists. So, these perspectives appear in their respective texts.

    I tried (and failed) to read MTW sequentially. Instead, I jumped around to the various topics... and I still go back at times trying to understand the subtleties. Weinberg is easier to read and work through sequentially.

    For Quantum Gravity, it might be better to go with MTW. However, you might find that D'Inverno's "Introducing Einstein's Relativity", Carroll's "Spacetime and Geometry:An Introduction to General Relativity", or Wald's "General Relativity", might be better books to start off with... on the road to MTW.

    Here are some useful guides from Carroll's website
    and from Baez's website
    http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/RelWWW/reading.html [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
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