The Large Scale Structure of Space-Timeby Stephen Hawking
Pub. Date: 02/27/1975
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Einstein's General Theory of Relativity leads to two remarkable predictions: first, that the ultimate destiny of many massive stars is to undergo gravitational collapse and to disappear from view, leaving behind a 'black hole' in space; and secondly, that there will exist singularities in space-time itself. These singularities are places where space-time begins… See more details below
Einstein's General Theory of Relativity leads to two remarkable predictions: first, that the ultimate destiny of many massive stars is to undergo gravitational collapse and to disappear from view, leaving behind a 'black hole' in space; and secondly, that there will exist singularities in space-time itself. These singularities are places where space-time begins or ends, and the presently known laws of physics break down. They will occur inside black holes, and in the past are what might be construed as the beginning of the universe. To show how these predictions arise, the authors discuss the General Theory of Relativity in the large. Starting with a precise formulation of the theory and an account of the necessary background of differential geometry, the significance of space-time curvature is discussed and the global properties of a number of exact solutions of Einstein's field equations are examined. The theory of the causal structure of a general space-time is developed, and is used to study black holes and to prove a number of theorems establishing the inevitability of singualarities under certain conditions. A discussion of the Cauchy problem for General Relativity is also included in this 1973 book.
- Cambridge University Press
- Publication date:
- Cambridge Monographs on Mathematical Physics Series
- Edition description:
- New Edition
- Product dimensions:
- 5.98(w) x 8.98(h) x 0.91(d)
Table of Contents
Preface; 1. The role of gravity; 2. Differential geometry; 3. General relativity; 4. The physical significance of curvature; 5. Exact solutions; 6. Causal structure; 7. The Cauchy problem in General Relativity; 8. Space-time singularities; 9. Gravitational collapse and black holes; 10. The initial singularity in the universe; Appendixes; References; Notation; Index.
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This text provides an excellent coverage of the theory. First published around 1969, it naturally neglects the last 30 yrs. of theorizing on the subject. It does, however, provide a great foundation for examining more recent theories and additions to superstring theory (singularities), 11+dimensional supergravity.
This book is by no means the BEST book on general relativity that I've known. It is better than Misner-Thorne-Wheeler's (MTW) classic 'GRAVITATION'. Although the presentation is dry, but the overall content is very good. This book describes the general relativity from the topological viewpoint (unlike MTW that uses purely differential geometry and tensors). The advantage of topological viewpoint is in the discussion of global structure which finds wealth applications for the structure of black holes. However, in order to understand this book I suggest that one must read MTW first to get a general overview of general relativity and its mathematical aspects. This book should be on the shelf of every graduate student and theoretical physicist together with Robert Wald's 'General Relativity'.