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Gravitation and Cosmology: Principles and Applications of the General Theory of Relativity Hardcover

ISBN-13: 978-0471925675 ISBN-10: 0471925675 Edition: 1st

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Gravitation and Cosmology: Principles and Applications of the General Theory of Relativity + Cosmology + Lectures on Quantum Mechanics
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 657 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.; 1 edition (July 1972)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471925675
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471925675
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 7 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #251,610 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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This is a seriously old-fashioned and out of date book.
R. Ball
I had no problem with the notation: the rules for manipulating indices are quite straightforward and easy to apply.
G. Lombardi
Steven Weinberg wrote the best book on general relativity in history.
Osher Doctorow, Ph.D.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

66 of 68 people found the following review helpful By marcvg on August 5, 2002
Format: Hardcover
After a completing graduate school, I decided it was time to learn GR on my own. I got Weinberg's book, and, at first reading, I was put off by it--there are effectively no diagrams, no problems, and no pedagogy. So on to Misner, Thorne, Wheeler. Well these emperors have no clothes: MTW contains almost no clean, declarative sentences and could be reduced to 1/4 its size with straightforward editing. So I bought B. F. Schutz's book read it, and and went back to Weinberg's book. With both in hand, I am acquiring a satisfying understanding of GR. And I now realize that Weinberg's book is a masterpiece. As in all his texts, Weinberg's passion is to expose the underlying logic of the physics. All follows from the Equivalnce Princple, and this view gives his book a logic coherency that other's lack. (Try seeing where the Equivalence principle fits in Schutz's presentation.) One criticism: I believe that Weinberg was writing a text for his peers to set them straight about GR; he neglected students. It would have been great if he could have included a mathematical appendix or two to make the text more accessible. But even so, it is a wonderful book.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Alessandro on June 1, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I greatly appreciated this book when I was a student. The tensor analysis is very carefully explained; in addition, you really get a basic physics understanding. The equivalence principle and Mach-Einstein theories discussions are simply wonderful. Of course, some experimental data are too old now to be taken seriously.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 16, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is one of the finest GR books that is written for a physicist. Although it is slightly dated, it can still be profitably used today to learn the foundations of the subject that no other contemporary text has explained so clearly.
There is a strong emphasis on the equivalence principle in the book, and many interesting illustrations of this principle can be found throughout the book. There's no discussion of black holes, of course, since the book hasn't probably been revised since its publication in the early seventies. However, Weinberg's book can be truly judged based on the brilliant presentation of the physical ideas of GR in a way that is so familiar to the physicist. A mathematically minded physicist who cares little about real physical insights will be obviously disappointed by this book.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By G. Lombardi on July 7, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I used this book in a class taught by its author. That makes it hard to disentangle the experience of taking the class from the book itself. However, I found this far more readable that Misner, Thorne, & Wheeler's ponderous tome. As enjoyable as I found Taylor & Wheeler's Spacetime Physics (written in a similar style), MTW is leaden in contrast to Weinberg's text. I had no problem with the notation: the rules for manipulating indices are quite straightforward and easy to apply. Furthermore, this is the notation used in a variety of other applications of tensors, from electrodynamics to mechanics (stress and moment of inertia tensors), so get used to it. As other reviewers have observed, one cannot help but think that MTW could have been edited down considerably; Weinberg's book is much tighter.
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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 10, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Weinberg is a master. His style is efficent. His words not wasted. His insights are inspiring. Behind each statement dwells a reservoir of thought. His selection and organization of the material seems non-improvable. Completion of the book yields general relativity in a comprehensive manner.
In addition to his methods, I am wholeheartedly biased towards his approach of basing general relativity on empiricism rather than geometry. Reading this book is almost synonomous with sitting at the feet of a master.
The methods utilized are standard tensor analysis, which yields the best results and understanding of the physics in a first exposure. MTW, in contrast, uses different mathematical approaches and moreover does so in an inconsistent manner. Weinberg is the BEST book, existing today, on general relativity period.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 19, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Of course this is a great book. You can start at the first page and proceed right to the last without discontinuities, in an orderly, organized way. You will then have learned a huge amount of the gravity lore, physically oriented, as opposed to mathematically. Also, you'll have tensor calculus at your feet, in the traditional formulation, the one that Einstein used, as well as most of us. Once you have the great picture, you could learn Cartan mathematics, which greatly reduces calculation times. For this, Wheeler's "Gravitation" is recommended. Follow this sequence, by all means. Not the opposite!
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40 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Osher Doctorow, Ph.D. on March 28, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Steven Weinberg wrote the best book on general relativity in history. A Nobel Laureate, he has pioneered both in relativity and quantum theory. Readers who want to know more about him should read T. Cao's 1997 book (Cao is at Boston University) on quantum field theory, from which Weinberg emerges as probably the greatest quantum theorist in history. Unlike most quantum theorists, even the founders of quantum theory, Weinberg was the first to find errors in his own and others' theories, to modify them rapidly and ingeniously, and to establish the newest trends and ideas in each decade since the early years. He founded the latest quantum field theory school, effective gauge field theory, although he became disgusted with field theory's errors and went over to string theory (which seems to be at most an approximation to the real world). In general relativity, he resembles Sir Arthur Eddington in combining algebraic techniques with general relativity (e.g., those of Weyl) and in emphasizing the underlying principles - equivalence, the tetrad formalism, covariance, and even gravitational waves which are only now being tested by Project Ligo. The only book which comes near to Weinberg's on general relativity is the one by Meisner, Wheeler, and Thorne of the early 1970s, and it requires expertise in graduate geometry and is neither as concise nor as inspired and insightful as Weinberg's.
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