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What is your opinon on Gravitation?

  1. Dec 2, 2009 #1
    I'm looking for an in-depth and detailed book on relativity. My university has Gravitation on its shelves, what is your opinion of it?

    I have calc 1, 2, 3 under my belt, and currently in diff eq. Is my math sufficient for the book?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 2, 2009 #2
    "Gravitation"?? There must be 1000 books with that title.
  4. Dec 2, 2009 #3

    George Jones

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    What about special relativity? A little Lagrangian mechanics and linear algebra might also be useful.

    Gravitation is an excellent book, but, for self-study today, I recommend either Gravity:An Introduction to Einstein's Relativity by James Hartle or General Relativity: An Introduction for Physicists by Hobson, Efstathiou, and Lasenby.
    In the context of relativity, there is only one "Gravitation". :biggrin:
  5. Dec 2, 2009 #4
    I'll second the Hartle book for an introduction. Gravitation is a wonderful book to dip into, but simply too much for an introduction, and Hartle has put a lot of thought into teaching GR at the introductory level.

    What? All the other books are written for dental hygienists? ;)
    I hope the publisher chose the title.
  6. Dec 2, 2009 #5
    there are books for mathematicians and laymens etc.
  7. Dec 3, 2009 #6


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    To the OP: just so you know, physics textbooks are normally referred to by the names of their authors because the titles are often so similar. In this case, Misner, Thorne and Wheeler (or MTW for short if they've already been mentioned in a discussion).

    Usually the name of the author and the general subject are sufficient to identify a textbook. There are rare exceptions like Sakurai who wrote a couple of widely-used books on quantum mechanics at different levels.
  8. Dec 4, 2009 #7


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    also universally known as the "telephone directory" (MTW)!!

    sean carroll's text is also an excellent book for the young student. you can get most of it online in the form of his lecture notes if you don't want to splurge on the nice binding.
  9. Dec 5, 2009 #8


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    "Gravitation" is a fabulous masterpiece, but more as a place to look for clarification on numerous conceptual details.

    I would start with J. L. Martin's and Wolfgang Rindler's books. The former leads you to simple calculations quickly, and the latter is good for conceptual subtleties, though like MTW it cannot be read linearly. A slightly more advanced text is Weinberg, which I like very much for its common-sense, non-geometrical view, and like Martin's text, it can be read linearly.

    Lewis Ryder also has a new introductory text. The bits I read were very entertaining.
  10. Dec 19, 2009 #9


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    Woodhouse from Oxford compiled two textbooks on SR and GR, I think it's in the SUMS series of Springer. As an introduction I think it's quite perfect, to supplement your self study check GR and SR courses sites, they have goodies. (-:

    Recently I found a site of someone from Durham University, she maintains a course site in GR.
    here it is:
    http://maths.dur.ac.uk/~dma0vh/GR/Welcome.html [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  11. Dec 30, 2009 #10
    I'm currently on my way through the book, and I must say that it has been a great experience so far. It delivers some kind of deeper understanding of the concepts of general relativity. It might seem a bit overwhelming at first, but once you're used to the way it is written, you can get very much out of it.
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