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A Student's Guide to Special Relativity

$23.99 (P)

Part of Student's Guides

  • Date Published: February 2022
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108995634

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  • This compact yet informative Guide presents an accessible route through Special Relativity, taking a modern axiomatic and geometrical approach. It begins by explaining key concepts and introducing Einstein's postulates. The consequences of the postulates – length contraction and time dilation – are unravelled qualitatively and then quantitatively. These strands are then tied together using the mathematical framework of the Lorentz transformation, before applying these ideas to kinematics and dynamics. This volume demonstrates the essential simplicity of the core ideas of Special Relativity, while acknowledging the challenges of developing new intuitions and dealing with the apparent paradoxes that arise. A valuable supplementary resource for intermediate undergraduates, as well as independent learners with some technical background, the Guide includes numerous exercises with hints and notes provided online. It lays the foundations for further study in General Relativity, which is introduced briefly in an appendix.

    • Provides a 'start to finish' journey through Special Relativity, assisting students preparing for exams or helping strengthen the reader's understanding of core ideas and varied approaches
    • A complementary prelude to the author's A Student's Guide to General Relativity (ISBN 9781316634790), as well as other mainstream course texts, informed by the author's teaching
    • Offers a compact yet precise introduction to Special Relativity while pointing to the wide variety of routes into the subject and emphasising the multiplicity of resources available
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    Reviews & endorsements

    ‘… this is a well-written, thorough account of Special Relativity (SR) with an introduction to General Relativity (GR) … Gray has taught courses on relativity for a couple of decades, and it shows. I think that this book is a very good description of SR … It succeeds in its goal of being both comprehensive and accessible … I recommend the book to all interested in Special Relativity. Those new to it can learn it thoroughly from the ground up without being overloaded with maths. Those familiar with it might gain new insights and/or ideas for teaching the topic.’ Philip Helbig, The Observatory

    'Professor Gray writes with humor and precision, and persistent readers will be rewarded. The book is heavily annotated with many helpful references … Highly recommended.' J. F. Burkhart, Choice

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    Product details

    • Date Published: February 2022
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108995634
    • length: 170 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 151 x 11 mm
    • weight: 0.34kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Preface. Table of Aims. 1. Introduction
    2. The axioms
    3. Length contraction and time dilation
    4. Spacetime and geometry
    5. The Lorentz transformation
    6. Vectors and kinematics
    7. Dynamics
    A. An overview of general relativity
    B. Relativity's contact with experimental fact
    C. Maths revision
    D. How to do calculations – a recipe. Bibliography. Index.

  • Author

    Norman Gray, University of Glasgow
    Norman Gray is in the School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Glasgow, where he has, over the last 20 years, taught courses covering both special and general relativity. Since his PhD in particle theory, he has had a varied research career, most recently concentrating on the interface between astronomy and computing. He is author of A Student's Guide to General Relativity (2019), which has been a successful addition to Cambridge University Press's growing series of Student's Guides.

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