Introduction to Special Relativity
Rindler (Wolfgang)
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Amazon Book Description

  1. This textbook offers a concise but thorough treatment of the theory of special relativity for advanced undergraduate and beginning graduate students. Assuming no prior knowledge of relativity, the author elaborates the underlying logic and describes the subtleties and apparent paradoxes.
  2. The text also contains a large number of problems which cover the basic modes of thinking and calculating in special relativity. Emphasis is placed on developing the student's intuitive understanding of space-time geometry along with the necessary methods of four-tensor calculus, though three-dimensional methods are also described.
  3. This updated new edition contains additional examples and problems, and the chapter on relativistic mechanics of continua has been substantially rewritten.

  1. Apart from being a vehicle for communicating my joy in the subject, this book is intended to serve as a text for an introductory course on special relativity, which is rather more conceptually and mathematically than experimentally oriented. In this context it should be suitable from the upper undergraduate level onwards. But the book might well be used autodidactively by a somewhat more advanced reader. It assumes no prior knowledge of relativity. Thus it elaborates the underlying logic, dwells on the subtleties and apparent paradoxes, and also contains a large collection of problems which should just about cover all the basic modes of thinking and calculating in special relativity. Much emphasis has been laid on developing the student's intuition for space-time geometry and four-tensor calculus. But the approach is not so dogmatically four-dimensional that three-dimensional methods are rejected out of hand when they yield a result more directly. Such methods, too, belong to the basic arsenal even of experts.
  2. In fact, the viewpoint in the first three chapters is purely three-dimensional. Here the reader will find a simple introduction to such topics as the relativity of simultaneity, length contraction, time dilation, the twin paradox, and the appearance of moving objects. But beginning with Chapter 4 (on spacetime) the strongest possible use is made of four-dimensional techniques. Pure tensor theory as such is relegated to an appendix, in the belief that it should really be part of a physicist's general education. Still, this appendix will serve as Chapter '3 1/2' for readers unfamiliar with that theory. In Chapters 5 and 6 – on mechanics and electromagnetism – a purely synthetic four-tensor approach is adopted. Not only is this simpler and more transparent than the historical approach, and a good example of four-dimensional reasoning, but it also brings the student face to face with the ‘man-made’ aspect of physical laws. In the last chapter (on the mechanics of continua), the synthetic approach is somewhat softened by the well-known analogy with electromagnetism.
  3. […]

    1. Introduction
    2. Schematic account of the Michelson-Morley experiment
    3. Inertial frames in special relativity
    4. Einstein's two axioms for special relativity
    5. Coordinates. The relativity of time
    6. Derivation of the Lorentz transformation
    7. Properties of the Lorentz transformation
    1. Introduction
    2. Length contraction
    3. The length contraction paradox
    4. Time dilation
    5. The twin paradox
    6. Velocity transformation
    7. Acceleration transformation. The uniformly accelerated rod
    1. Introduction
    2. The drag effect
    3. The Doppler effect
    4. Aberration and the visual appearance of moving objects
    1. Introduction
    2. Spacetime and four-tensors
    3. The Minkowski map of spacetime
    4. Rules for the manipulation of four-tensors
    5. Four-velocity and four-acceleration
    6. Wave motion
    1. Introduction
    2. The conservation of four-momentum
    3. The equivalence of mass and energy
    4. Some four-momentum identities
    5. Relativistic billiards
    6. The centre of momentum frame
    7. Threshold energies
    8. De Broglie waves
    9. Photons
    10. The angular momentum four-tensor
    11. Three-force and four-force
    12. Relativistic analytic mechanics
    1. Introduction
    2. The formal structure of Maxwell's theory
    3. Transformation of e and b. The dual field
    4. Potential and field of an arbitrarily moving charge
    5. Field of a uniformly moving charge
    6. The electromagnetic energy tensor
    7. Electromagnetic waves
    1. Introduction
    2. Energy tensor and basic axioms
    3. The elastic stress three-tensor
    4. The augmented mass and momentum densities
    5. The total stress tensor
    6. Perfect fluids and dust
    7. Integral conservation laws
    1. Introduction
    2. Preliminary description of tensors
    3. The summation convention
    4. Coordinate transformations
    5. Informal definition of tensors
    6. Examples of tensors
    7. The group properties. Formal definition of tensors
    8. Tensor algebra
    9. Differentiation of tensors
    10. The quotient rule
    11. The metric


OUP, Oxford, 2nd Edition, 1991

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