Gravity Reader Grade 4 eBook
In addition, several classic books have recently come back into print. It is not an exaggeration to say that there has probably never been a better time to shop around for books on relativity! In what follows I offer a sort of "consumer's guide" which I hope will help readers choose the book or books best suited to their needs.
In addition to providing capsule reviews of a number of books I like, or which have been recommended by others whose judgement I trust, I have taken the liberty of warning the reader away from certain books, particularly most of the attractively priced but hopelessly outdated Dover reprints. There is a huge literature on "relativity for laypeople", most of which I cannot recommend.
I can, however, name several books that I hope will not mislead the intelligent reader too badly. A delightful romp through the history of the notion of a black hole a story in which Thorne has been an active participant. I doubt you'll wind up understanding very much relativity theory from reading this book, but you'll certainly have gained a vivid impression of some of the personalities involved in uncovering the mysteries of black hole physics. As the title suggests, you can't expect to master a significant fraction of the basic notions of GR in this book, but what Geroch does cover here is very well explained.
A beautifully illustrated and very gentle introduction to the geometry of Minkowski spacetime of SR and then to the curved spacetimes of GR, including a clear intuitive discussion of some features of Schwarzschild geometry nonrotating uncharged black holes , by a leading physicist. An excellent brief overview of relativity theory through the extraction of energy from black holes the Penrose process , by a leading relativist.
A delightful and very clearly written nontechnical survey of cosmology circa , covering the Big Bang, Hubble expansion, cosmic microwave background radiation, observable universe and event horizons, and the "standard model" of cosmological nucleosynthesis, by one of the premier physicists of our time. This classic undergraduate textbook is simply the best introduction I know. It might look a bit hokey, but it's full of fabulous insights. Another reputable textbook, which I am not familiar with but which other posters have recommended in the past. I am not familiar with this book, but it seems to be a concise but reasonably comprehensive and modern introduction, covering among other things the connection between Moebius transformations and the Lorentz group.
This book is notable for making a serious attempt to provide an introduction to both SR and GR, using only basic algebra and calculus no tensors. It does treat some aspects of some exact solutions in GR but does not adequately cover the field equations and thus cannot be considered a suitable GR text. But it may be helpful to the timorous reader attempting to make the transition from SR to GR.
This book is devoted to a rigorous mathematical treatment of the flat Minkowski spacetime of special relativity. It pays particular attention to the Lorentz group and the causal structure of the theory, but also treats the electromagnetic field tensor, spinors, and the topology of Minkowski spacetime.
- Genealogy as Critique: Foucault and the Problems of Modernity (American Philosophy);
- Bürgerjournalismus in der digitalen Öffentlichkeit: Die politische Rolle von Blogs in der gegenwärtigen Zeit (German Edition).
- Elusive Disturbances.
- Reading From Bacteria to Bach and Back I: On Cartesian Gravity | Three Pound Brain;
- Chasing Shadows: Back to Barterra.
- La restauration monumentale en question: La circulaire du 5 août 1985 relative aux études préalables et son application (Questions contemporaines) (French Edition).
This book won't teach you much physics, but is useful if you want to see special relativity put on a firm mathematical basis, or examine some of the more intricate technical implications of Lorentz transformations or SR causality. I would not recommend the Dover reprint by Aharoni outdated, poorly written, clumsy notation. I am not familiar with the Dover reprint by Shadowitz. Now we are starting to get to the really good stuff! A beautifully illustrated, clearly and concisely written introduction to GR the first few chapters, on SR, are too sketchy to be valuable except as a review.
On balance, I think this is probably the best introduction for the average undergraduate student at present. It features a particularly well balanced selection of topics. This book covers fewer topics than d'Inverno but in greater depth, and at a comparable level. In places I find it a bit more turgid than some other texts, but Schutz's discussion of the geometric nature of tensors in general and the matter tensor in particular is outstanding. Probably a bit more demanding than d'Inverno , this is probably the best organized GR textbook yet to appear.
Clearly written and well translated from the original German , featuring a well balanced selection of topics, and full of useful insight.
Gravity Reader Grade 4 eBook
One of the most concise introductions available. Covers much less than Stephani or d'Inverno , but clear and well written. Advanced undergraduate to beginning gradate level. The textbook of choice for the discerning graduate student. Well written, with a good selection of topics, including careful discussions of tensor formalism, the basic singularity, stability, and uniqueness theorems, as well as black hole thermodynamics.
But I think every serious student must own this at least as a supplementary text and dip into it on a regular basis. MTW was the first "modern" GR textbook, and has inspired two generations of students. While in many respects it is now rather out of date, and in a few places is pretty darn confusing, this beautifully illustrated book features fascinating insights found nowhere else on almost every one of its odd pages.
All of these books have exercises; DINV is particular well suited for self study since it also has solutions in the back. And I'd recommend MTW to anyone, anywhere, any time.
In a 'Rainbow' Universe, Time May Have No Beginning
For the convenience of the rank beginner who wants to purchase one or more of these textbooks, here is a very rough guide to the coverage: all of these books introduce tensors, including the matter and Riemann and Ricci tensors. All discuss geodesics, connections and covariant derivatives. All discuss the Equivalence Principle, weak field theory, and at least one interpretation of the field equations.
All discuss the classic predictions such as light bending, perihelion advance, gravitational redshift. Among the exact solutions, all discuss in some detail the "usual suspects" Schwarzschild vacuum and Friedmann dust.
All discuss the linearized theory of gravitational waves and Cartan's method of curvature forms. Five of the six textbooks also discuss at length various of the following important topics: spinors, algebraic symmetries of tensors, the variational principle formulation of GR, the initial value formulation of GR, the Petrov classification of curvature types, EXACT gravitational wave solutions, the singularity theorems, Penrose diagrams conformal compactification , Hawking radiation, and thermodynamics of black holes.
Among exact solutions beyond "the usual suspects", DINV features detailed discussions of the Kerr-Newman vacuum, Reissner-Nordstrom electrovac, Tolman fluid, de Sitter and anti-de Sitter cosmological solutions. HT also features a particularly clear and concise treatment of the Bianchi classification of homogeneous spacelike hyperslices.
The idea is not a complete theory for describing quantum effects on gravity, and is not widely accepted. Nevertheless, physicists have now applied the concept to the question of how the universe began, and found that if rainbow gravity is correct, spacetime may have a drastically different origin story than the widely accepted picture of the big bang. According to Einstein's general relativity, massive objects warp spacetime so that anything traveling through it, including light, takes a curving path. Standard physics says this path shouldn't depend on the energy of the particles moving through spacetime, but in rainbow gravity, it does.
The color of light is determined by its frequency, and because different frequencies correspond to different energies, light particles photons of different colors would travel on slightly different paths though spacetime, according to their energy. The effects would usually be tiny, so that we wouldn't notice the difference in most observations of stars, galaxies and other cosmic phenomena. But with extreme energies, in the case of particles emitted by stellar explosions called gamma-ray bursts, for instance, the change might be detectable.
In such situations photons of different wavelengths released by the same gamma-ray burst would reach Earth at slightly different times, after traveling somewhat altered courses through billions of light-years of time and space. Modern observatories, however, are just now gaining the sensitivity needed to measure these effects, and should improve in coming years.
The extreme energies needed to bring out strong consequences from rainbow gravity, although rare now, were dominant in the dense early universe, and could mean things got started in a radically different fashion than we tend to think. Awad and his colleagues found two possible beginnings to the universe based on slightly different interpretations of the ramifications of rainbow gravity.
In one scenario, if you retrace time backward, the universe gets denser and denser, approaching an infinite density but never quite reaching it. In the other picture the universe reaches an extremely high, but finite, density as you look back in time and then plateaus.
This process allowed for the development of the laser light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation.
1859: Planet Vulcan
Gravitational lensing is the bending of light around massive objects, such as a black hole, allowing us to view objects that lie behind it. During a total solar eclipse in May , stars near the sun were observed slightly out of position. Walter Sydney Adams examined light emitted from the surface of massive stars and detected a redshift, as Einstein predicted. Swiss astronomer Fritz Zwicky proposed that an entire galaxy could act as a gravitational lens. The experiment accurately measured the tiny change in energies as photons travelled between the top and the bottom.
Theodore H. Maiman , a physicist at Hughes Research Laboratories in California, builds the first laser. The s was the beginning of the renaissance of general relativity, and saw the discovery of galaxies that were powered by the immense pull of black holes in their centres. There is now evidence of massive black holes in the hearts of all large galaxies, as well as there being smaller black holes roaming between the stars. The effect was observed between by bouncing radar beams off the surface of Venus and measuring the time taken for the signals to return to Earth.
We now use time-delays on cosmological scales, looking at the time differences in flashes and flares between gravitationally lensed images to measure the expansion of the universe. American physicist Joseph Weber a bit of a rebel claimed the first experimental detection of gravitational waves. His experimental results were never reproduced. Joseph Taylor and Russell Hulse discover a new type of pulsar: a binary pulsar.
Measurements of the orbital decay of the pulsars showed they lost energy matching the amounts predicted by general relativity. They receive the Nobel Prize for Physics for this discovery. It turned out to be one quasar that appears as two separate images.