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Tensor Calculus Paperback – July 1, 1978


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Tensor Calculus + Introduction to Tensor Calculus, Relativity and Cosmology (Dover Books on Physics) + Tensors, Differential Forms, and Variational Principles (Dover Books on Mathematics)
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Product Details

  • Series: Dover Books on Mathematics (Book 5)
  • Paperback: 324 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications; Reprint edition (July 1, 1978)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486636127
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486636122
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #348,460 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

80 of 85 people found the following review helpful By henrique fleming on July 21, 1998
Format: Paperback
This is probably the clearest classical treatment of tensors you can find. Tensors are objects whose components transform in some linear and homogeneous way. This is the original definition, by Ricci, the founder of the theory. Today one prefers to define them as the members of some vector space and avoid talking of components. However, most physicists adhere to the classical formulation. After all this was the tensor calculus known to Einstein! Anyway the job is extremely well done: you end up knowing about parallel transportation and covariant derivative, curvature tensor and several applications. You'll be able to write the Laplacian operator in any corrdinate system whatsoever, and so on. I think the chapter on Integration is much more difficult than the others, but, then, invariant integration is the realm of exterior differential forms, and building them from tensors is inevitably clumsy.
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Neal J. King on March 10, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I find it rather strange that several of the negative reviews of Synge & Schild are really negative opinions about the lack of elegance of tensors, compared to the new-fangled differential forms.

This is like blaming the author of a book on the grammar of a language, because you think the grammar is too complicated. Sorry, but the author of the book can only explain as well as he/she can the grammar that exists, it's not within his scope to improve upon it!

This book is a relatively easy-to-read and carefully motivated text on tensor calculus, a subject that does tend to lead to that eye-glazing-over effect because of the numerous indices. It does a very good job of keeping the focus on the concepts, without getting too bogged down in the equations - most of the time.

Does it need to be said that this subject is still useful, despite its comparative inelegance, because so many classic texts and articles on general relativity use this language? Will those who scorn to deal with indices demand that all these papers be properly translated into differential forms before they deign to read them?
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71 of 102 people found the following review helpful By Dougabug on September 30, 2001
Format: Paperback
"The introduction of numbers as coordinates...is an act of violence..." -- H. Weyl.
If that's so, this is a very violent book. While it's true that physicists, particularly those working in General Relativity, were slow to abandon the coordinate approach, there can be little doubt that the sea of indicies form of Tensor Calculus runs counter to the modern approach to Differential Geometry, with its emphasis on abstract spaces, manifolds, bundles, exterior algebra, differential forms, diffeomorphisms, Lie groups, etc.
Physicists trained prior to the trend towards employing modern mathematics will likely be right at home with this book, which presents the tensor calculus in the form developed by Levi-Civita and Ricci in the late 19th/early 20th Century. On the other hand, classically trained Physicists tend to be hopelessly confused when confronted by modern Differential Geometry, which relies on so much more of the modern machinery from areas such as Topology, Global Analysis, and Group Theory/Representation Theory.
Students would be better served to pursue the subject framed in a more modern context. That means learning about manifolds and analysis on manifolds. The best introduction is probably Spivak's "Calculus on Manifolds", followed by Munkres "Analysis on Manifolds". Darling's "Differential Forms and Connections" and Sternberg's "Lectures on Differential Geometry" are well regarded, as is do Carmo's "Differential Geometry of Curves and Surfaces". A working knowledge of multivariable calculus, linear algebra, and elementary analysis are required for making heads or tails out of these books, even though they are introductory in nature.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Absolutely a great book. I have read it twice and have learned a great deal from it. It has answered some questions that have been bugging me for years. Well worth the read for anyone serious about learning Tensor Calculus.
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By Jesse ren on May 2, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book greatly enhanced my understanding of general relativity and special relativity, this book for the subject was written at an most advanced level I would believe.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By scordia on April 15, 2014
Format: Paperback
This is my first review on Amazon.com. I read bad reviews for this excellent book, so I react.
This is my first book on Tensor calculus, I have reach more than half on it, and what can I say is that this is a book written by physicists for physicists. There are many subjects dealt with, this is possible because of the conciseness of the author's style. The exercises interlaced into the text are rather easy to my point of view, and allow to ensure that the previous points have been understood correctly.
No differential form here, but most of the textbooks and articles in circulation use index calculus rather than differential forms or geometric algebra: there is no way to avoid this notation.
Before that, I began a book where differential geometry is presented with the modern approach, and I must say that the physicist approach in Synge&Schild better suits my needs.
For me, the next step is to read about differential forms more seriously, and after that about geometric algebra, to compare the three approaches. But after this first book, I will be able to understand most of the articles about relativity, and this is the main point for me.
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