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The Large Scale Structure of Space-Time (Cambridge Monographs on Mathematical Physics) New Ed Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
The authors begin the book by a discussion of the role of gravity in physics and its role as determining the causal structure of the universe. They introduce the idea of a closed trapped surface, setting the stage for the goal of the book, namely the study of the conditions under which a space-time singularity must occur. Black holes and the beginning of the universe are cited as examples of these singularities. The authors also outline briefly the content of each chapter. A neat argument is given for the significance of focal points via the use of Raychaudhari's equation.
The second chapter is an overview of the background in differential geometry needed in the rest of the book. Although complete from an axiomatic point of view, the approach is much too formal for readers who do not have a knowledge of differential geometry. Such a reader should gain the necessary background elsewhere.
General relativity as a theory of gravitation is discussed in chapter 3. Spacetime is assumed to be a connected 4-dimensional smooth manifold on which is defined a Lorentz metric. The topology is assumed to be Hausdorff. Some of the more interesting or well-written parts of this chapter include the example of a spacetime that is not inextendible, the determination of the conformal factor for the spacetime metric, and the discussion of alternative field equations.
The authors discuss the physicial significance of curvature in chapter 4, namely its effect on families of timelike and null curves.Read more ›
Therefore, it behooves me to add anything of substance, as the terrain has been expatiated in those academic journals.
Be that as it may, I do hope to add my personal perspective on a book which has taken me many a year to digest.
The pertinent word, above, being "many," as this is not a monograph to be taken lightly---it demands undivided attention.
If one encounters this book with (at minimum) a prior exposure to General Relativity, it opens up an entirely new world.
There is so much to say, so much to cover in this review, that I will most certainly forget to say something of value.
Thus, regardless of what I do---or, do not--write, I will say without further ado that a serious researcher can hardly afford to ignore
this Classic. As with many other monographs, the term "Classic" is much hyped, yet, rarely defined. One definition would be--
this book ! The authors state that the book can be assimilated with prerequisites of "..simple calculus, algebra and point set topology."
I am not sure that the vast majority of readers would concur with that statement, but, at least it does hint at some guidance.
As many have noted, Chapter Two, of mathematical preliminaries ( Differential Geometry) is terse.
However, I urge the prospective student to assimilate this chapter, for, at least, these five reasons:
(1) Page 16: will give one a simple means to visualize one-forms.
(2) Page 23: will define Diffeomorphism-- and, that is a definition which must become a part of one's vocabulary---as it is used
everywhere, and often, in this text !Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I think that this book has great depth, and is one of the best Stephen Hawking books I have read. My favourite remains 'A Brief History of Time', but still this book is extremely... Read morePublished on February 21, 2002