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General Theory of Relativity (Physics Notes) [Paperback]

P. A. M. Dirac , Paul A. Dirac
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
RRP: 17.95
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Book Description

8 Jan 1996 Physics Notes

Einstein's general theory of relativity requires a curved space for the description of the physical world. If one wishes to go beyond superficial discussions of the physical relations involved, one needs to set up precise equations for handling curved space. The well-established mathematical technique that accomplishes this is clearly described in this classic book by Nobel Laureate P.A.M. Dirac. Based on a series of lectures given by Dirac at Florida State University, and intended for the advanced undergraduate, General Theory of Relativity comprises thirty-five compact chapters that take the reader point-by-point through the necessary steps for understanding general relativity.

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General Theory of Relativity (Physics Notes) + Lectures on Quantum Mechanics (Dover Books on Physics) + Relativity: The Special and the General Theory
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Product details

  • Paperback: 84 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press; New Ed edition (8 Jan 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 069101146X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691011462
  • Product Dimensions: 23.5 x 15.6 x 0.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 333,563 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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"Seasoned physicists will appreciate the book as an elegant, well-organized introduction to the basic mathematics and physics of curved space."--
Physics Today

"Dirac was a man of few words, and this little book-with 35 sections spanning 69 pages-exhibits the concise, direct style that was his trademark. Seasoned physicists will appreciate the book as an elegant, well-organized introduction to the basic mathematics and physics of curved space."--R. Corby Hovis, Physics Today

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First Sentence
For the space-time of physics we need four coordinates, the time t and three space coordinates x, y, z. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The quickest route to tensors 15 Dec 2004
While struggling with learning tensor calculus from Schutz, I stumbled on this very short book.
One major issue when working on tensors is that usually the expositions are very detailed and hard to follow. Furthermore, it is at first quite hard to see the bigger picture.
Dirac's book proved extremely useful to circumvent the size of most treaties on general relativity or tensors.
Dirac wrote a masterpiece of efficiency by using a mathematical approach. For doing physics this book is not good at all, but to get into tensors, this is as short/good as it gets!!! Also always nice to read writings from one of the great masters...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dirac's uniquely slick introduction to GR 8 April 2011
Dirac believed in the beauty of mathematics, and that is what he lays out here, a concise introduction to the beautiful algebra of general relativity. Don't be fooled, the physics and the tensor calculus is there, so neatly packaged up that you hardly realise it. There are few books where you can gain access to Einstein's theory without preparation in the many complications of manifolds, tensors, astrophysics.... Many books labour through complications added on post-Einstein, many of which can be dispensed with at the introductory level, as Dirac reveals. If you want an insightful introduction to general relativity you can do no better than to go back to these early textbooks, by Born (a more complete mix of calculus and physics), Eddington (with his typical philosophical bent), and Dirac, who here achieves this neat little volume, Feynman-like in its pithiness, charmingly unshowy, an example for any lecturer and a must have for any student.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A succinct book on General Relativity 7 April 2011
By Dr. Bojan Tunguz TOP 500 REVIEWER
When I was first studying General Relativity, a graduate student friend of mine remarked that this little book has about all the information that "Gravitation" (http://www.amazon.com/Gravitation-Physics-Kip-S-Thorne/dp/0716703440 - THE textbook on General relativity) has in just a fraction of the pages. He was only partly wrong, and this slim volume continues to be the best summary of this mathematically challenging field. Whenever I need a quick (and not so quick) reference for one of the basic results in General Relativity, this is the first place where I look. Either as a secondary reference or the first textbook on the field, this book continues to be a valuable resource.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A concise overview of the classical theory. 16 Oct 1998
By A Customer
In his inimitable concise style, with not a word out of place, Dirac offers a 60 page sketch of the classical theory of gtr. Doesn't cover any of the modern theoretical developments and offers not a single figure, but if you have a strong math background and very little time to spare, this is probably the book for you. No problems included, so serious autodidacts should supplement this with another text such as d'Inverno which does have problems.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An essential treatment 17 Nov 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This excellent book contains almost everything important in general relativity in extremely few words. As a mathematician, I find this book far more elegant and mathematically precise than most accounts written by physicists who don't seem to have a proper grasp of the maths. Instead of getting bogged down and confused by unnecessary, misleading, and often convoluted, mathematical constructions, Dirac keeps precisely to the point throughout. This is perfect both for a first course and for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the subject.
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