Einstein Gravity in a Nutshell

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Overview

This unique textbook provides an accessible introduction to Einstein's general theory of relativity, a subject of breathtaking beauty and supreme importance in physics. With his trademark blend of wit and incisiveness, A. Zee guides readers from the fundamentals of Newtonian mechanics to the most exciting frontiers of research today, including de Sitter and anti-de Sitter spacetimes, Kaluza-Klein theory, and brane worlds. Unlike other books on Einstein gravity, this book emphasizes the action principle and group theory as guides in constructing physical theories. Zee treats various topics in a spiral style that is easy on beginners, and includes anecdotes from the history of physics that will appeal to students and experts alike. He takes a friendly approach to the required mathematics, yet does not shy away from more advanced mathematical topics such as differential forms. The extensive discussion of black holes includes rotating and extremal black holes and Hawking radiation. The ideal textbook for undergraduate and graduate students, Einstein Gravity in a Nutshell also provides an essential resource for professional physicists and is accessible to anyone familiar with classical mechanics and electromagnetism. It features numerous exercises as well as detailed appendices covering a multitude of topics not readily found elsewhere.

  • Provides an accessible introduction to Einstein's general theory of relativity
  • Guides readers from Newtonian mechanics to the frontiers of modern research
  • Emphasizes symmetry and the Einstein-Hilbert action
  • Covers topics not found in standard textbooks on Einstein gravity
  • Includes interesting historical asides
  • Features numerous exercises and detailed appendices
  • Ideal for students, physicists, and scientifically minded lay readers
  • Solutions manual (available only to teachers)
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 2013

"Zee writes in an informal, conversational style, displaying his extensive experience and close contacts with many undergraduate and graduate students."--Choice

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691145587
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 5/5/2013
  • Series: In a Nutshell
  • Pages: 888
  • Sales rank: 420,772
  • Product dimensions: 10.10 (w) x 7.40 (h) x 2.30 (d)

Meet the Author


A. Zee is professor of physics at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His books include "Quantum Field Theory in a Nutshell" and "Fearful Symmetry: The Search for Beauty in Modern Physics" (both Princeton).
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Table of Contents


Part 0: Setting the Stage
Prologue: Three Stories 3
Introduction: A Natural System of Units, the Cube of Physics, Being Overweight, & Hawking Radiation 10
Prelude: Relativity Is an Everyday and Ancient Concept 17
ONE Book One: From Newton to the Gravitational Redshift
I Part I: From Newton to Riemann: Coordinates to Curvature
I.1 Newton's Laws 25
I.2 Conservation Is Good 35
I.3 Rotation: Invariance and Infinitesimal Transformation 38
I.4 Who Is Afraid of Tensors? 52
I.5 From Change of Coordinates to Curved Spaces 62
I.6 Curved Spaces: Gauss and Riemann 82
I.7 Differential Geometry Made Easy, but Not Any Easier! 96
Recap to Part I 110
II Part II: Action, Symmetry, and Conservation
II.1 The Hanging String and Variational Calculus 113
II.2 The Shortest Distance between Two Points 123
II.3 Physics Is Where the Action Is 136
II.4 Symmetry and Conservation 150
Recap to Part II 155
III Part III: Space and Time Unified
III.1 Galileo versus Maxwell 159
III.2 Einstein's Clock and Lorentz's Transformation 166
III.3 Minkowski and the Geometry of Spacetime 174
III.4 Special Relativity Applied 195
III.5 The Worldline Action and the Unification of Material Particles with Light 207
III.6 Completion, Promotion, and the Nature of the Gravitational Field 218
Recap to Part III 238
IV Part IV: Electromagnetism and Gravity
IV.1 You Discover Electromagnetism and Gravity! 241
IV.2 Electromagnetism Goes Live 248
IV.3 Gravity Emerges! 257
Recap to Part IV 261
TWO Book Two: From the Happiest Thought to the Universe
Prologue to Book Two: The Happiest Thought 265
V Part V: Equivalence Principle and Curved Spacetime
V.1 Spacetime Becomes Curved 275
V.2 The Power of the Equivalence Principle 280
V.3 The Universe as a Curved Spacetime 288
V.4 Motion in Curved Spacetime 301
V.5 Tensors in General Relativity 312
V.6 Covariant Differentiation 320
Recap to Part V 334
VI Part VI: Einstein's Field Equation Derived and Put to Work
VI.1 To Einstein's Field Equation as Quickly as Possible 337
VI.2 To Cosmology as Quickly as Possible 355
VI.3 The Schwarzschild-Droste Metric and Solar System Tests of Einstein Gravity 362
VI.4 Energy Momentum Distribution Tells Spacetime How to Curve 378
VI.5 Gravity Goes Live 388
VI.6 Initial Value Problems and Numerical Relativity 400
Recap to Part VI 406
VII Part VII: Black Holes
VII.1 Particles and Light around a Black Hole 409
VII.2 Black Holes and the Causal Structure of Spacetime 419
VII.3 Hawking Radiation 436
VII.4 Relativistic Stellar Interiors 451
VII.5 Rotating Black Holes 458
VII.6 Charged Black Holes 477
Recap to Part VII 485
VIII Part VIII: Introduction to Our Universe
VIII.1 The Dynamic Universe 489
VIII.2 Cosmic Struggle between Dark Matter and Dark Energy 502
VIII.3 The Gamow Principle and a Concise History of the Early Universe 515
VIII.4 Inflationary Cosmology 530
Recap to Part VIII 537
THREE Book Three: Gravity at Work and at Play
IX Part IX: Aspects of Gravity
IX.1 Parallel Transport 543
IX.2 Precession of Gyroscopes 549
IX.3 Geodesic Deviation 552
IX.4 Linearized Gravity, Gravitational Waves, and the Angular Momentum of Rotating Bodies 563
IX.5 A Road Less Traveled 578
IX.6 Isometry, Killing Vector Fields, and Maximally Symmetric Spaces 585
IX.7 Differential Forms and Vielbein 594
IX.8 Differential Forms Applied 607
IX.9 Conformal Algebra 614
IX.10 De Sitter Spacetime 624
IX.11 Anti de Sitter Spacetime 649
Recap to Part IX 668
X Part X: Gravity Past, Present, and Future
X.1 KaƂuza, Klein, and the Flowering of Higher Dimensions 671
X.2 Brane Worlds and Large Extra Dimensions 696
X.3 Effective Field Theory Approach to Einstein Gravity 708
X.4 Finite Sized Objects and Tidal Forces in Einstein Gravity 714
X.5 Topological Field Theory 719
X.6 A Brief Introduction to Twistors 729
X.7 The Cosmological Constant Paradox 745
X.8 Heuristic Thoughts about Quantum Gravity 760
Recap to Part X 775
Closing Words 777
Timeline of Some of the People Mentioned 791
Solutions to Selected Exercises 793
Bibliography 819
Index 821
Collection of Formulas and Conventions 859
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