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A First Course in General Relativity Paperback – February 22, 1985

ISBN-13: 978-0521277037 ISBN-10: 0521277035

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 392 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (February 22, 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521277035
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521277037
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #236,082 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Schutz has such mastery of the material that it soon becomes clear that one is in authoritative hands, and topics are selected and developed only to a point where they prove adequate for future needs." The Times Higher Education Supplement

"...ought to inspire more physicists and astronomers to teach--and learn--the other half of the 20th century's revolution in physics." Foundations of Physics

"The book is a goldmine of cleverly constructed problems and exercises (and solutions!)..." Nature

Book Description

Development of the concept of general relativity and its associated mathematics, from a minimum of prerequisites, leads to an in-depth physical understanding of the theory and its most important applications.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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So if you want a great introduction to relativity on a graduate/undergradtuate level, this is the book you should get.
Roberto Genoves
What makes this book stand out it uses the language is that of modern GR--one learns the language of one-forms and vectors, not co- and contravariant vectors.
mark balaschak
The physical insights are truly great and the mathematics are presented in an easy to follow way needing only very few requirements.
"dimitrish@kasparovchess.com"

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

144 of 147 people found the following review helpful By mark balaschak on April 17, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book is the one text I'd give to someone who aspires to learn the mathematics of general relativity. Aimed at a reader who has a grasp of three-d vector calculus and a firm basis in special relativity, this book is an ideal bridge between a text like French's "Special Relativity" and the Big Book--Misner, Thorne, and Wheeler's "Gravitation." Schutz says that his book should prepare a reader to move confidently into texts like MTW, and I think he's spot on. I'd put Rindler's "Essential Relativity" at a slightly lower level than this text. Rindler demands less of the reader going in, and probably gives more in the way of conceptual intuition regarding black holes and modern cosmological models, but Rindler doesn't leave the reader with the mathmatical understanding that Schutz does. One could stop after Rindler with a sense of having learned some things--one ends Schutz with a sense of being prepared to learn a lot more.
The first chapters refreshes the reader's mind about SR, and then proceeds to build tensor analysis in SR. What makes this book stand out it uses the language is that of modern GR--one learns the language of one-forms and vectors, not co- and contravariant vectors. Cultivating a geometrical intuition about these strange new objects (a la MTW) is given equal or greater weight than developing skills at index manipulation. Those are two reasons I'd recommend this book over Foster and Nightingale, for example. For me personally, Schutz's path toward the mathematics of curvature beginning with Cartesian and polar coordinates in 2d was easier to follow than any treatment I've seen.
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52 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Charles Benson on January 4, 1999
Format: Paperback
A fairly complete presentation commencing with special relativity and concluding with gravitational waves and cosmology. Although intended to be used as a classroom text, the mathematically inclined reader with a firm grasp on differential equations and vector calculus can work through the text on one's own. I recommend Steven Wienberg's book GRAVITATION as a companion text for both a different perspective and to help overcome some of the conceptual hurdles.
You don't need to be satisfied with the poetry of lay books when a mathematical understanding is within your grasp!
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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Charzi on October 26, 2003
Format: Paperback
This a very readable book that covers a lot of topics nicely. It gives a solid introduction to many of the main topics in the field. The only complaint I have is that it doesn't cover enough material.
My advice if you want a complete understanding of the field is to buy this and the Ohanian text (which is very thorough, pleasantly readable and does covering just about everything you need). Read them side by side and once that is done move on to Wald. Don't bother with MTW, its is a tome of scattered bits and pieces that work as a reference but it is NOT something from which you want to learn the subject.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By "dimitrish@kasparovchess.com" on October 23, 2001
Format: Paperback
This was the first book i read as an introduction to general relativity.The physical insights are truly great and the mathematics are presented in an easy to follow way needing only very few requirements.
Im writing this rewiew nevertheless to explain why i rate it with 4 stars rather than five.The preblem i believe this book has is with the philosophy that tensor calculus is analyzed.
The author begins with proving tensor calculus equation in a way that is valid ONLY for special relativity,then proceeds with the analysis of tensor calculus for the 2-d eucledian space,and again the equations are valid ONLY for the given space.
In the end the author generalises the tensor equations for any spacetime using the Equivalence Principle,and not a solid mathematical proof,whitch Ifound confusing.
As a result i give the book 4 stars because of the lack of a truly solid mathematical analysis of the manifold thery.Nevertheless its a great book for a beginner.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 13, 1995
Format: Paperback
This book is aimed at an undergraduate/first-year graduate
level, but doesn't "pull any punches" mathematically.
I thought he pulled it off. The book was accessible to
a non-physicist like me, while satisfying my urge to go
well beyond the Scientific American level of popular
science books.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Rehan Dost on June 13, 2006
Format: Paperback
I got to this book after I had read several GR texts.

Unfortunately, I could have saved much time and grief if I had read it first.

The author is a master in simplifying the often mystical theory of General Relativity.

One requires only a smattering of vector calculus and linear algerbra to begin.

The author begins with an review of SR followed by an introduction to tensor analysis. The notion of perfect fluids culminating in the stress energy tensor is developed.

The mathematics of curved spaces ( Riemann manifolds ) is introduced via christoffel symbols which roughly speaking tell us how the co-ordinate systems change from point to point. The covariant derivative is then introduced and it's nice properties demonstrated. Although connections are not introduced it is shown how the metric induces a natural definition of covariant derivative such that the christoffel symbols possess a certain symmetry condition. This symmetry condition is equivalent to the statement that the covariant derivative of the metric tensor be zero. Once this is achieved one can express christoffel symbols in terms of the metric components.

This is known as the Levi-cevita "connection" in other texts.

Now that we can differentiate on curves spaces ideas of parallel transport and geodesics are developed.

It is then shown that inertial observers in GR travel along geodesics.

The reimann, ricci and einstein tensors are introduced.

Now, we get to the exciting Einstein field equations. I particularly liked how the author gives the motivation and insipiration behind the equation. He shows how Newtons equation for gravitation gives the inspiration for it's generalization.
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