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Gravitation Gravitation
by Charles W. Misner,Kip S. Throne and John Archibald Wheeler

1279 pages
Level: graduate text book

The "Bible" of relativity theory

"Gravitation" is such a prominent book on relativity that the initials of its authors MTW can be used by other books on relativity without explanation. With almost 1300 profusely illustrated pages, "Gravitation" explains every major and many minor aspects of the General Theory of Relativity. "Gravitation" is not an elementary text and utilizes some extremely sophisticated mathematical tools.

But "Gravitation" has maintained its popularity over the years (it was first published in 1972) not only because of its completeness and the deserved high reputation of Misner, Thorne and Wheeler, but also because every page is written with the struggling student in mind. The writing is clear and vibrant. I was originally drawn to "Gravitation" by the illustrations. There is one illustration in the first chapter showing how both a ball and a bullet have a similar curvature while travelling through space-time which is almost worth the price of the entire book.

The authors also realized that over 1200 pages of text and illustrations might intimidate even the most earnest student of Geometry and divided the book into "tracks". Track 1 covers all the basic subjects of relativity: special relativity, a brief look at Maxwell's equations, tensor algebra, geodesics, mass energy, weak gravitational fields, a brief look at black holes, gravitational waves and finally testing the theory of General relativity. The reader can make a "detour" into Track 2 material at any time, because any prerequisites are listed.

While "Gravitation" is clearly an advanced text, it has much to offer any serious student of relativity.
Review by Ed Ehrlich
Table Of Contents

Part I Space Time Physics
*1. Geometrodynamics in Brief

Part II Physics In Flat Spacetime
*2. Foundations of Special Relativity
*3. The Electromagnetic Field
4. Electromagnetism and Differential Forms
5. Stress-Energy Tensor and Conservation Laws
6. Accelerated Observers
7. Incompatibility of Gravity and Special Relativity

Part III The Mathematics Of Curved Spacetime
*8. Differential Geometry: An Overview
9. Differential Topology
10. Affine Geometry: Geodesics, Parallel Transport and Covariant Derivative
11. Geodesic Deviation and Spacetime Curvature
12. Newtonian Gravity in the Language of Curved Spacetime
13. Riemanian Geometry: Metric as Foundation of All
14. Calculation of Curvature
15. Bianchi Identities and the Boundary of a Boundary

Part IV Einstein's Geometric Theory Of Gravity
*16. Equivalence Principle and Measurement of the "Gravitational Field"
*17. How Mass-Energy Generates Curvature
*18. Weak Gravitational Fields
*19. Mass and Angular Momentum of a Gravitating System
20. Conservation Laws for 4-Momentum and Angular Momentum
21. Variational Principle and Initial-Value Data
22. Thermodynamic, Hydronamics, Electrodynamics, Geometric Options, and
Kinetic Theory

Part V Relativistic Stars
*23. Spherical Stars
*24. Pulsars
25. The "Pit in the Potential" as the Central New Feature of Motion in Schwarschild Geometry
26. Stellar Pulsations
Part VI The Universe
27. Idealized Cosmologies
*28. Evolution of the Universe into Its Present State
29. Present State and Future Evolution of the Universe
30. Anisotropic and Inhomogenous Cosmologies

Part VII Gravitational Collapse And Black Holes
*31. Schwarzchild Geometry
*32. Gravitational Collapse
33. Black Holes
34. Global Techniques, Horizons, and singularity Theorems

Part VIII Gravitational Waves
*35. Propagation of Gravitational Waves
*36. Generation of Gravitational Waves
37. Detection of Gravitational Waves

Part IX Experimental Tests of General Relativity
38. Testing the Foundations of Relativity
39. Other Theories of Gravity and the Post-Newtonian Approximation
*40. Solar-System Experiments

Part X
41. Spinors
42. Regge Calculus
43. Superspace: Arena for the Dynamics of Geometry
44. Beyond the End of Time

Bibliography and Index of Names
Subject Index

* Chapter with large amounts of Track 1 material

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