Erik's Reviews > Relativity Demystified

Relativity Demystified by David  McMahon
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's review
Feb 28, 15

bookshelves: math-review-and-new, class-philosophy-of-physics
Read from January 31, 2010 to February 28, 2015

General relativity (GTR) is the subject. The special theory (STR) is dispensed with in a few brief pages. You need to know bits of calculus, linear algebra, ODE and some PDE to understand the solutions. This book really does demystify relativity, in terms of the MATH of differential geometry. It starts out easy but gets tougher around p 70. I had to read chapters 4 and 5 over and over again and always write out all the index expressions. Cartan methods, check. But I'm still a bit foggy on the null tetrad and the Petrov classification based upon the Weyl tensor. Second reading: much, much easier. I see the logic of the presentation now. Also there are some misprints and omissions so just google for an errata sheet, necessary for some exercises. This a "how-to" approach to doing calculations in relativity, not a guide to understanding. There are no proofs or explanations of the symbolism. You will feel amazing power as you symbolically manipulate expressions utterly beyond your comprehension, but this may not be entirely a good thing.

(Psst, this is the most beautiful theory in physics)
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03/16 page 140
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