Einstein's theory of general relativity is a cornerstone of modern physics. It also touches upon a wealth of topics that students find fascinating—black holes, warped spacetime, gravitational waves, and cosmology. Until now, it has not been included in the curriculum of many undergraduate physics courses because the required math is too advanced. The aim of this ground-breaking new text is to bring general relativity into the undergraduate curriculum and make this fundamental theory accessible to virtually all physics majors. Using a "physics first" approach to the subject, renowned relativist James Hartle provides a fluent and accessible introduction that uses a minimum of new mathematics and illustrates a wealth of applications. Recognizing that there is typically not enough time in a short introductory course for the traditional, math-first, approach to the subject, Hartle presents a physics-first introduction to general relativity that begins with the essential physical applications.
I. SPACE AND TIME IN NEWTONIAN PHYSICS AND SPECIAL RELATIVITY.
1. Gravitational Physics.
2. Geometry as Physics.
3. Newtonian Physics.
4. Principles of Special Relativity.
5. Special Relativistic Mechanics.
II. THE CURVED SPACETIMES OF GENERAL RELATIVITY.
6. Gravity as Geometry.
7. Description of Curved Spacetime.
9. The Geometry Outside a Spherical Star.
10. Solar System Tests.
11. Relativistic Gravity in Action.
12. Black Holes.
13. Astrophysical Black Holes.
14. A Little Rotation.
15. Rotating Black Holes.
16. Gravitational Waves.
17. The Universe Observed.
18. Cosmological Models.
19. Which Universe and Why?
III. THE EINSTEIN EQUATION.
20. A Little More Math.
21. Curvature and the Einstein Equation.
22. The Source of Curvature.
23. Gravitational Wave Emission.
24. Relativistic Stars.
A. Useful Constants.
C. Curvature Quantities.
D. Curvature Program.
E. Pedagogical Strategy.
Symbols and Abbreviations.
James B. Hartle was educated at Princeton University and the California Institute of Technology where he completed a Ph.D. in 1964. He is currently Professor of Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His scientific work is concerned with the application of Einstein's relativistic theory of gravitation (general relativity) to realistic astrophysical situations, especially cosmology.
Professor Hartle has made important contributions to the understanding of gravitational waves, relativistic stars, and black holes. He is currently interested in the earliest moments of the Big Bang where the subjects of quantum mechanics, quantum gravity, and cosmology overlap.
He has visited Cambridge often since 1971 and has collaborated closely with Stephen Hawking over many years, most notably on their famous "no boundary proposal" for the origin of the universe. Professor Hartle is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and is a past director of the Institute for Theoretical Physics in Santa Barbara.