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A Student's Guide to General Relativity

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Part of Student's Guides

  • Date Published: February 2019
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781316634790
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About the Authors
  • This compact guide presents the key features of general relativity, to support and supplement the presentation in mainstream, more comprehensive undergraduate textbooks, or as a re-cap of essentials for graduate students pursuing more advanced studies. It helps students plot a careful path to understanding the core ideas and basics of differential geometry, as applied to general relativity, without overwhelming them. While the guide doesn't shy away from necessary technicalities, it emphasises the essential simplicity of the main physical arguments. Presuming a familiarity with special relativity (with a brief account in an appendix), it describes how general covariance and the equivalence principle motivate Einstein's theory of gravitation. It then introduces differential geometry and the covariant derivative as the mathematical technology which allows us to understand Einstein's equations of general relativity. The book is supported by numerous worked exampled and problems, and important applications of general relativity are described in an appendix.

    • The essential simplicity of the main physical arguments are clearly distinguished from the mathematical technicalities
    • Ideally used as a supplementary text, either to navigate through a larger textbook, or to provide a complementary approach
    • The book's presentation is complementary to any general relativity textbook
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'The strength of Gray’s book lies in his concern to provide friendly, pedagogical explanations for many tricky features of the theory, starting from a basic level, and his informal style will be welcomed by the less confident reader.' Peter J. Bussey, Contemporary Physics

    '... this book marks a welcome move to shorter, more focussed introductions to General Relativity aimed at undergraduate students. As the mathematical half of a full GR course it works well, but perhaps a less abstract approach and greater emphasis on the geometrical nature of the theory might appeal more to some readers.' Andrew Taylor, The Observatory

    ‘This book is part of the Cambridge 'Student’s Guide' series. It is based on a 10 lecture course the author taught at the University of Glasgow. The book is mostly about introducing the math needed to reach the discussion of the Einstein equation.’ Jorge Pullin, zbMATH

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    Customer reviews

    06th Aug 2019 by XURashad

    Equation 1.3 Page 2: I think you have to multiply the right side by the mass (m).

    Review was not posted due to profanity


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    Product details

    • Date Published: February 2019
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781316634790
    • length: 162 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 x 9 mm
    • weight: 0.28kg
    • contains: 29 b/w illus. 1 table
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. Vectors, tensors and functions
    3. Manifolds, vectors and differentiation
    4. Energy, momentum and Einstein's equations
    Appendix A. Special relativity – a brief introduction
    Appendix B. Solutions to Einstein's equations
    Appendix C. Notation

  • Author

    Norman Gray, University of Glasgow
    Norman Gray is a research fellow at the School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Glasgow, where he has regularly taught the General Relativity honours course since 2002. He was educated at Edinburgh and Cambridge Universities, and completed his Ph.D. in particle theory at the UK's Open University. His current research relates to astronomical data management and he is an Editor of the journal Astronomy and Computing.

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