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- Thread starter pellman
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To the extent that it deals with the interface to quantum mechanics, it's extremely out of date. This doesn't just mean string theory and loop quantum gravity, it includes stuff like semiclassical gravity.

I think MTW predates most of the recent work on energy conditions, closed timelike curves, and cosmic censorship.

I don't think anyone is going to come out with anything that could be considered a replacement for MTW, because MTW is such an unusual book. It covers a huge number of topics, at a variety of levels. Anyone who's serious about relativity should certainly own a copy. My suggestion to someone learning the subject today would be to start with a modern book like Carroll, but also get a copy of MTW and use it as a secondary resource.

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Thanks, bcrowell.

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Hmmm, I am buying this book. Thanks guys.Thanks, bcrowell.

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Overwhelmingly dense... *drools*. :!!)

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Well, for a mental break try "The Strangest Man", by Graham Farmelo, which is a fantastic biography of the man Dirac. It's my favourite next to "Prime Obsession". I'm going to take your advice and when I start to feel the old skull creaking, I'll look for Wald and other sources. Thanks!

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IMO the problem with Wald is the almost complete lack of contact with experiment. He also does a poor job of explaining the meaning of the mathematics. If you want mathematical elegance, it's a good book. For someone who wants to learn the subject for the first time, I'd suggest either Carroll or an undergrad book like Rindler or Hartle. There are a bunch of books (including a partial version of Carroll) that are free online: http://www.theassayer.org/cgi-bin/asbrowsesubject.cgi?class=Q#freeclassQC

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Ben Niehoff

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Their notation leaves a lot to be desired, too. They use too many different fonts in their formulas, to represent different mathematical objects. In my opinion a printed formula should not use typographical distinctions that cannot be reproduced in handwriting.

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I think these are valid reasons to complain if you aren't intending to go on and do research in GR. If you are intending to do research in GR, then the advantage of the book is that it exposes you to all these things you need to be exposed to.

Their notation leaves a lot to be desired, too. They use too many different fonts in their formulas, to represent different mathematical objects. In my opinion a printed formula should not use typographical distinctions that cannot be reproduced in handwriting.

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Ben Niehoff

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I know this is sick, but this makes me want to read it even more. Boredom is the enemy after all. ;)

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atyy

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I don't agree. The fabulous masterpiece is aggressively meditative.Overwhelmingly dense... *drools*. :!!)

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I don't agree. The fabulous masterpiece is aggressively meditative.

"

I got the book today, and I'm already loving it. Apparantly I'm the S&M type when it comes to my reading taste.

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I strongly agree! They treat GR like it is something written under the influence of QM with all those complicated and twisted notations which look more alike a difficult matheamtical guide for GR than a book that provides reader with the usual litrature of GR! For instance, D'inverno, Weinberg and Hobbson use a quite simple style to express things and are more helpful than MTW just because the latter uses unnecessary explanations and prolongated proofs\derivations which if were neglected, the book would end at page 500!I'm not much of a fan of MTW. I think their writing style makes everything seem much harder than it really is.

There are lots of thin books that can be more fruitful than MTW for an interested reader. If you are after a preliminary book in the context, go with D'inverno, Hartle, Ohanian or Schutz. If you are looking for something much harder and up-to-date, try Weinberg, Witten's Gravitation: an introduction to current research or Poisson's a relativistic toolkit.

Leave MTW alone if you're not so patient in learning GR.

AB

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Hey man, think of quality, not density!Overwhelmingly dense... *drools*. :!!)

AB

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You have to understand, to me, this whole thread is just a massive list of reading I MUST do. MTW, what you've mentioned, and others. I couldn't be happier if Aphrodite was tickling me.Hey man, think of quality, not density!

AB

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Ok, now I have the book in my hands, and have for a day. I can see where the criticism and love the both come from. It's a GREAT reference book, and the exercises for self-study are pretty rewarding. On the other hand, it is pedantic, and long, but INCREDIBLY informative. I also enjoy the linguistic patterns, but that's a preference issue. I live near a wonderful library, so when it comes to the smaller (either in terms of size or time required) books I don't need to buy them. Gravitation, like some medical references I have, its anachronism offends some, and attracts others.I strongly agree! They treat GR like it is something written under the influence of QM with all those complicated and twisted notations which look more alike a difficult matheamtical guide for GR than a book that provides reader with the usual litrature of GR! For instance, D'inverno, Weinberg and Hobbson use a quite simple style to express things and are more helpful than MTW just because the latter uses unnecessary explanations and prolongated proofs\derivations which if were neglected, the book would end at page 500!

There are lots of thin books that can be more fruitful than MTW for an interested reader. If you are after a preliminary book in the context, go with D'inverno, Hartle, Ohanian or Schutz. If you are looking for something much harder and up-to-date, try Weinberg, Witten's Gravitation: an introduction to current research or Poisson's a relativistic toolkit.

Leave MTW alone if you're not so patient in learning GR.

AB

That said, as you say Altabeh, it's clearly not an introductory text, and I won't treat it as such. I have a copy of Poisson's: A Relativistic Toolkit, but I feel MTW can help me expand my understanding of the math, where I am weakest.

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I'd love to call it "a matter of taste" and it all falls uponThat said, as you say Altabeh, it's clearly not an introductory text, and I won't treat it as such. I have a copy of Poisson's: A Relativistic Toolkit, but I feel MTW can help me expand my understanding of the math, where I am weakest.

Anyways, did you begin to study MTW and how much time does it take for you to finish each page with a full understanding of the points in the end?

AB

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All too recently, and too long. I see your point however... this isn't the best way to break into the field. That said, in concert with some of the other resources mentioned here and elsewhere, I tend to flit bertween MTW, and the net, and then something else. MTW alone... would probably kick my ***.Anyways, did you begin to study MTW and how much time does it take for you to finish each page with a full understanding of the points in the end?

AB

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I'm keeping an eye on this thread. Thanks so much for the useful replies!

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