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A Short Course in General Relativity [Paperback]

James Foster , J. David Nightingale , J. Foster
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
RRP: £53.99
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Book Description

7 Oct 2005 0387260781 978-0387260785 3

Suitable for a one-semester course in general relativity for senior undergraduates or beginning graduate students, this text clarifies the mathematical aspects of Einstein's theory of relativity without sacrificing physical understanding.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Springer; 3 edition (7 Oct 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0387260781
  • ISBN-13: 978-0387260785
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 17 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 593,355 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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From the reviews of the third edition:

"This is the third edition of a book that is already familiar to those who teach an introductory course in general relativity. … Important concepts are introduced slowly and carefully, so that the resulting text is a comprehensible first introduction that is suitable for both physics and mathematics students. … its strength is that it is a short introduction to the subject that still covers all the essential material for a first course and provides a sound basis for further study." (J. B. Griffiths, Mathematical Reviews, Issue 2006 h)

"This book is a well-developed introduction to General Relativity. … the present third edition is really re-worked in many places in comparison with the previous ones. … Three appendices are quite helpful … . Solutions to the exercises, References and Index close this very readable book. … Every chapter ends with a list of problems … ." (Hans-Jürgen Schmidt, Zentralblatt MATH, Vol. 1089 (15), 2006)

From the Back Cover

Suitable for a one-semester course in general relativity for senior undergraduates or beginning graduate students, this text clarifies the mathematical aspects of Einstein's theory of relativity without sacrificing physical understanding.

The text begins with an exposition of those aspects of tensor calculus and differential geometry needed for a proper treatment of the subject. The discussion then turns to the spacetime of general relativity and to geodesic motion. A brief consideration of the field equations is followed by a discussion of physics in the vicinity of massive objects, including an elementary treatment of black holes and rotating objects. The main text concludes with introductory chapters on gravitational radiation and cosmology.

This new third edition has been updated to take account of fresh observational evidence and experiments. It includes new sections on the Kerr solution (in Chapter 4) and cosmological speeds of recession (in Chapter 6). A more mathematical treatment of tensors and manifolds, included in the 1st edition, but omitted in the 2nd edition, has been restored in an appendix. Also included are two additional appendixes – "Special Relativity Review" and "The Chinese Connection" - and outline solutions to all exercises and problems, making it especially suitable for private study.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
The originator of the general theory of relativity was Einstein, and in 1919 he wrote1 : The special theory, on which the general theory rests, applies to all physical phenomena with the exception of gravitation; the general theory provides the law of gravitation and its relation to other forces of nature. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good introduction 5 Jun 2001
By A Customer
General relativity is hard to learn, not since it's hard in itself, but simply because the existing literature scares most readers away. After all, it takes only one look at the 20,000 pages Misner to make even the best autodidact give up. This book remedies this. What it does is offer a quick, yet logical and consistent, exposition of GR. Now, reading this book won't make you an expert on GR, but it will get you started as efficiently as possible on the subject. It should be noted that if you're taking a course in GR this book may turn out to be too short of a course for you; perhaps Schutz or Misner will do in that case.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars good concise introduction 24 Jan 2006
By A Customer
I have the 1st edition of this book: one of its strengths as an introductory book is the use of units in which c is NOT equal to 1, giving a ready appreciation of magnitudes.

It explicitly discusses rotating coordinates which are discussed in popular accounts of Mach's Principle but often ignored in textbooks, even introductory ones.
A more discursive and excellent introduction is by Roy D'Inverno (OUP).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book hits the spot 18 Dec 2010
This review refers to the 2nd edition of the book - I assume the 3rd edition will be even better.

The book starts by explaining the basics of vectors and coordinate systems before moving onto metrics, tensors, manifolds and tensor calculus. Depending on your level of maths education it may be heavy going, but it is well written and proceeds logically.

I've been looking for a while for an explanation of the maths of general relativity, and have found most books to be either too hard or too superficial. For me, with a reasonable understanding of linear algebra and vector calculus, this book was spot on.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best textbook I've ever owned! 15 April 2012
By Desmond
Foster and Nightingale have put together an absolutely brilliant book here!

The book is concise, not too long, and is very easy to read.

The thing I love most about this book is the way that it never feels like a massive mathematical analysis. Whilst I love maths, Foster and Nightingale seem to keep you very focussed on PHYSICS.

I also LOVE the fact that every single example (and there are MANY examples) has a solution given in the back.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Introduction to GR 4 Oct 2010
By Andi H
This is a real gem. I have copies of both the first and second editions. The style is clear and concise with lots of 'do-able' exercises and problems. The mathematics required for understanding curvature is well explained in both editions, although the authors seemed to think that the first edition placed too many demands on the reader for a first course in GR.There is a nice balance between explaining the mathematics fully (without getting bogged down with inappropriate rigour) and the usual physical applications. The second edition that I have does not include solutions/hints for the exercises but one of the authors (J.Foster) kindly provided a little booklet upon request. This book is very accessible for independent study. I believe the answer booklet is now included in the third edition.
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