Sunday, December 4, 2011

Book of the Week: "General Relativity and Cosmology: A First Course"

So this week let's check out something a little bit more serious. I would like review this great book on the basics of GR and cosmology by Tai L. Chow.

About the Author

Tai L. Chow was born and raised in China. He received his BSc. degree in Physics from the National Taiwan University and later his Phd from the University of Rochester. He has published more than 30 research papers, mostly in astrophysics. In this book he shares his knowledge and experience on special and general theories of relativity, which he has been teaching for more than thirty years.


Short Review

As the title says it this book is basically an introductory textbook on general relativity and cosmology. From my experience I can assure you that it's quite hard to find a good book on the basics of GR, as most of the books are either too advanced or almost have no maths at all. This book seems to be one of those rare books, which fall somewhere in between - it has all the required maths and some philosophical considerations as well. Another great thing is that the book has everything you need for the basics of GR, that is it has a couple of chapters on Newtonian Mechanics, Newton's law of gravity and special relativity. Some problems are added after every chapter as well.

The book is not too hard, if you have some experience in special relativity, calculus and tensors. I would probably recommend this for at least 1st or 2nd year students, as the later chapters get quite hairy. But nonetheless, check out this nice little book (270 pages), as it is a great choice for students.

Chapters of the Book:

1. Classical Mechanics
2. Special Relativity
3. Basic Ideas of General Relativity
4. Curvilinear Coordinates and General Tensors
5. Einstein's Law of Gravitation
6. The Schwarzschild Solutions
7. Experimental Tests of Einstein's Theory
8. The Physics of Black Holes
9. Elements of Cosmology
10. Cosmic Dynamics
11. The Physics of the Early Universe

Also you can find the book here:


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