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Paperback General Relativity Book

ISBN: 0226870332

ISBN13: 9780226870335

General Relativity

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Book Overview

Wald's book is clearly the first textbook on general relativity with a totally modern point of view; and it succeeds very well where others are only partially successful. The book includes full discussions of many problems of current interest which are not treated in any extant book, and all these matters are considered with perception and understanding.--S. Chandrasekhar

A tour de force: lucid, straightforward, mathematically rigorous,...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Excellent text for classical general relativity

Wald's book was the standard text for two graduate courses in GR that I took during my PhD (one was an introductory grad course on GR and the other was an advance special topics course on black holes). The first six chapters lay the groundwork for classical GR, starting with a quick recap of the tensor notation (Wald's Index free notation is very useful), a little bit of differential geometry and the Einstien's equations. The Initial value problem of GR is treated in an elegant chapter that concludes the introduction. Advanced topics like black holes, area theorems, singularity theorems etc are treated in latter chapters, along with a nice chapter on QFT in curved space-time and the Hawking effect. I found Wald's book most useful for understanding the singularity theorems, which have been discussed very lucidly without sacrificing much rigor (some of the more technical details are best left to Hawking and Ellis). There is a priceless discussion on Penrose diagrams, asymptotic infinity, ADM energy and the BMS group which to my knowledge have never appeared in another book (one has to go back to papers of Ashtekar and Penrose to find this information). I had no prior exposure to differential geometry when I started reading the book (indeed my background at this point was an undergrad degree in Electronics, so my knowledge of physics when I took this course was rudimentary to say the least). I however found no difficulty in following this book, and indeed this book was the most exciting grad level book that I read until Polchinski's two tomes on String Theory. I would recommend Wald's book for anyone who likes to understand General Relativity and especially Black Hole Thermodynamics...and last but not least, the exercises in the book are all interesting and in some cases are pretty nontrivial. I learnt a lot of GR working out these exercises and highly recommend them to anybody studying this book...it is definitely worth spending time on these exercises.

One of best books in GR

Wald's book is a milestone in GR literature. The book has demonstrated that the author is a genuine first class scholar with great writing talent. The book is presented with crystal clarity. It completely fulfils its purpose as an advance textbook for theoretical physics student or professionals. I dislike some reviewer's comments that the book is too mathematical; this simply reflects their inability in understanding modern GR books. So my advice to those people is: don't blame this wonderful good book, but yourselves, and work hard . For anyone with serious interest in GR, Wald, MTW and Weinberg are indispensable.

One of the better books to learn gravitation theory

This book was a little scary to read the first time I opened it. Abstract Indices all over. OMG, What does this upside down triangle mean? Where did this strange L come from? These are the sort of questions you will be asking yourself if you try to read this book without adequate preparation in Differential Geomtery. Sure Wald has 2 chapter devoted to this, but thats like asking you to learn all the vocabulary that you have in english from 5 little summary sheets. However once you do know soemthing about Riemannian Geomtery(an excellent elementary source is the book by Bishop and Goldberg "Tensor Analysis by Manifolds"), this book is a joy to read. Every explanation is crystal clear, and makes for a very enlightening experience overall. There's no need to read between the lines that some books expect you to, and Wald dosent insult his reader's intelligence either. This books is written for serious students of relativity, be it applied mathematicians or physicists. For the people willing to patiently read the book, and learn the details he presents, this book is probably the best preparation to general relativity. One complaint however is the noticeable shortage in exercises. And the ones supplied arent particularly difficult either. But all in all, an amazing read.

Wonderful

He uses the abstract index notation to avoid the terrible mess of putting everything into coordinates that occurs in Weinberg. This is a good book for mathematicians to read. Very clear, and enjoyable.

The textbook of choice for the discerning student!

Offers the clearest introduction available (using the best notation) to the mathematical background (e.g. the connection). Concise, careful, and clear. Particularly strong on singularity theorems, causality, and black hole thermodynamics. Narrower coverage than Stephani or d'Inverno, but provides the best introduction to these topics. Includes problems. Should appeal particularly to mathematically minded readers. This book might look daunting at first glance but I think it is actually very "reader-friendly"-- I find I appreciate it more each time I return to it.
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