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Gravitation and Spacetime (Second Edition) Hardcover – November 17, 1994

ISBN-13: 978-0393965018 ISBN-10: 0393965015 Edition: Second Edition

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 704 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; Second Edition edition (November 17, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393965015
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393965018
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.6 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #196,683 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Hans C. Ohanian received his B.S. from the University of California, Berkeley, and his Ph.D. from Princeton University, where he worked with John A. Wheeler. He has taught at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Union College, and the University of Vermont. He is the author of several textbooks spanning all undergraduate levels: Physics, Principles of Physics, Relativity: A Modern Introduction, Modern Physics, Principles of Quantum Mechanics, Classical Electrodynamics, and, with Remo Ruffini, Gravitation and Spacetime. He is also the author of dozens of articles dealing with gravitation, relativity, and quantum theory, including many articles on fundamental physics published in the American Journal of Physics, where he served as associate editor for some years. He lives in Vermont.

Remo Ruffini is the Chair of Theoretical Physics at the University of Rome, where he received his Ph. D., and has also taught at Princeton University. He is an editor of the International Journal of Modern Physics and has acted as an adviser to NASA and the Italian Space Agency. In addition to Gravitation and Spacetime, a partial listing of his published works include Cosmology from Space Platforms, Black Holes, Gravitational Waves and Cosmology, Basic Concepts in Relativistic Astrophysics, Gamow Cosmology, and various articles and edited volumes.

More About the Author

Hans Ohanian studied physics at Berkeley and at Princeton, where he worked on relativity with John A. Wheeler. He has taught at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Union College, the University of Rome, and the University of Vermont. He is the author of several physics textbooks and dozens of articles dealing with relativity, gravitation, and quantum theory, including many articles on fundamental physics published in the American Journal of Physics, where he served as associate editor for several years. Of late, he has become interested in the ecological and economic aspects of renewable energy systems in Vermont, where he lives. His favorite renewable system is his sailboat "ARCHIMEDES," on which he cruises on Lake Champlain.

Customer Reviews

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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 21, 2002
Format: Hardcover
H. Ohanian and R. Ruffini have admirably succeeded in writing a book primarily concerd with the physics of the gravitational field. Without diminishing importance to the mathematical apparatus underlaying the General Theory of Relativity, this book crearly, concisely and beautifully explains the ideas, concepts, experiments and some aspects of the history of the modern theory of Gravitation. It is a very different book from the ones already existing; it presents the theory in such a logical and elegant way, that it's impossible not to read the book with a feeling of respect and admiration for the theory. Just to mention an example; with the formalisim presented in chapter two, the authors derive Maxwell's equations in chapter three from nothing, or almost nothing, just requiring a linear theory invariant under Lorentz and gauge transformations!! The clarity of the presentation is so refined that when I finished this chapter I thought: "oh! Why I didn't think about it by myself?" This book is as good as the books by Misner et al, Schutz or Weimberg, but at the same time it's different from them. Definitely, this book is a good choice for students who are beginning with the topic, but I also recommend Ohanian and Ruffini's book to more advanced students looking for a better undesrtanding of the theory. Certainly, with this book I learnt and enjoied the beauty and elegance of the General Theory of Relativity in full.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By ohio undergrad on June 4, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Although I must admit that, as a non-physics undergraduate, I was not able to fully follow all the calculations and derivations in this book, I still found it a very nice read. The first chapter on Newtonian Gravitation, with all the experimental facts and illustrious history leading to the advent of modern theories of gravitation, was the most enlightening of all. Moreover, I do agree with the reviewer who noted the book's refreshing approach to derive the "Einstein Equation" first through a linear approximation of gravitation. In fact the linear approximation of gravitation is used to make the most prominent predictions of general relativity such as gravitational waves and the bending of light beams due to massive celestial objects (the one prediction that was first confirmed by experiment). However, I wish that the calculations be more detailed. Instead, the author usually left out the last steps and asked the reader to complete them. But more likely this dissatisfaction of mine is largely due to my own inability to do theoretical calculations. Having said that, I still find that any textbook on general relativity written so that even non-physics undergrads can appreciate it, is by all means worth reading.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By L. Victor on August 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a great book, full of insights of all orders.
The linear version of theory of GR developed in the first chapters is easy to follow and gives to the reader enough power to start understanding the impressive reach of the full theory.
The articles about differential forms are quite clear (at least to me) and help you to understand why this forms are called " differential ".
This second edition was written well after the classical Dr. Wheeler's book "Gravitation" and greatly benefits from it.
I have the first edition and I am happy I bought the second one also.
The new edition is still better than the first one.
I hope I will see a third edition.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Daverz on September 25, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I don't have much to add except to say that the production values are exemplary. Each chapter has an extensive section of further reading and a list of references. There are answers to all even problems (though none for the many "exercises left for the reader"), a section of color plates, and a good index. Typesetting and figures are very attractive. I'd only wish for wider margins for notes.

As others have mentioned, Ohanian introduces linearized GR (in a completely logical and satisfying manner) before Riemannian geometry. Most GR books at this level dump a huge load of mathematics on the student before much physics is ever seen, but Ohanian's approach allows many applications -- the bending and retardation of light, gravitational lenses, the Lense-Thirring effect, and a whole chapter on gravitational waves -- before the full Riemannian apparatus is introduced.

You'll need a pretty solid grasp of undergraduate mechanics (including Lagrangian mechanics) and electrodynamics to get the most out of the book.
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