- Paperback: 1279 pages
- Publisher: W. H. Freeman (September 15, 1973)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0716703440
- ISBN-13: 978-0716703440
- Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 2.2 x 10 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #101,662 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Top Customer Reviews
This first part is the best introduction to the theory of relativity I have ever read. The mathematics is introduced in a very comprehensive manner, there are lots of exercises where the reader can get used to the tensor calculus. The physical explanations are just brilliant and what is more important general relativity is introduced in the manner Einstein itself viewed it: as a geometric representation of gravity! Other books on this subject formulate general relativity only algebraically (like quantum theory) but this hides the importance of the idea that all gravitational effects can be extracted from the geometry of spacetime. The algebraic formulation may be regarded as more modern by some authors, it must be said however that no algebraic formulation managed to give more physical insight. The algebraic treatment tries to unify the view of general relativity and quantum field theory, but the physical discrepancies between the two theories remain unsolved.
The second part starts with the application of general relativity to stars (stars and relativity, chapters 23 to 26), goes on to the universe (the universe, chapters 27-30) and to black holes (gravitational collapse and black holes, chapters 31 to 34), and describes finally gravitational waves (gravitational waves, chapters 35 to 37) and experimental methods (experimental tests of general relativity, chapters 38 to 40).
This second part is a good overview, but many details of the computations of the applications are not shown. For the readers interrested in the details the two volume book by Zel'dovich and Novikov "Stars and Relativity"/"The Structure and Evolution of the Universe" is much better (but also much longer).
The third part finally describes the frontiers of general relativity (frontiers, chapters 41 to 44). Like part two it gives a good overview not showing many computational details.
People with different preparation will perceive MTW in different ways:
The beginners in GR very often will feel that the book is a good reference and shows 'properties' of the defined objects instead of explaining the logical necessity of demanding such properties. My first course in GR was based on that book and although I learned some 'index gymnastics' from it, very often I had questions of the type 'where does this come from, why is it defined this way'. Often I would read about something like 'affine parameter' and I would not understand its importance at all.
For beginners I recommend the books from J.Hartle, B. Schutz, D'Inverno, W. Rindler, S. Carroll and R. Wald in order of increasing abstraction (and decreasing usefullness for beginners). I am currently in the middle of course based on the Carroll's book and I understand things I have never ever been able to understand from the 'bible' like the fact that we may define different connections but only one of them is metric compatible and we CHOOSE to work with it, or that we CHOOSE to work with a torsion free connection, or that reparametrizing a geodesic may not give you back a geodesic (in relation to the affine parameter remark above) ... Such facts are either not clearly spelled in the 'bible' or they are digged in somewhere 300 pages away ...
Once you are past your first (or better second) course in GR, that book will be an invaluable reference for you with plenty of examples how to apply different computational and theoretical techniques in GR.
The reviewers that give it high rating are obviously either experienced in the field or are begginners that value a book only because of the well-known authours.
The book is really a titanic effort to compile all relevant pieces of info into one thick volume BUT PLEASE PLEASE think carefully before you recommend it for INTRODUCTION to General Relativity !!!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If not you are not yet a master, study this book (MTW) in pieces while simultaneously studying the following...Read more