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A First Course in General Relativity

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  • 1 b/w illus. 327 exercises
  • Page extent: 406 pages
  • Size: 246 x 189 mm
  • Weight: 1.01 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: n/a
  • Dewey version: n/a
  • LC Classification: QC173.6 .S38 2009
  • LC Subject headings:
    • General relativity (Physics)
    • Astrophysics

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521887052)

Clarity, readability and rigor combine in the second edition of this widely-used textbook to provide the first step into general relativity for undergraduate students with a minimal background in mathematics. Topics within relativity that fascinate astrophysical researchers and students alike are covered with Schutz's characteristic ease and authority - from black holes to gravitational lenses, from pulsars to the study of the Universe as a whole. This edition now contains discoveries by astronomers that require general relativity for their explanation; a revised chapter on relativistic stars, including new information on pulsars; an entirely rewritten chapter on cosmology; and an extended, comprehensive treatment of modern detectors and expected sources. Over 300 exercises, many new to this edition, give students the confidence to work with general relativity and the necessary mathematics, whilst the informal writing style makes the subject matter easily accessible. Password protected solutions for instructors are available at

• Provides the first step into general relativity for undergraduate students with a minimal background in mathematics • Over 300 exercises, many new to this edition, with password protected solutions available at • New material includes recent discoveries by astronomers as well as updates on what is currently known about pulsars, modern detectors of gravitational waves, black holes, acceleration of the universe and more


Preface; 1. Fundamental principles of special relativity; 2. Vector analysis in special relativity; 3. Tensor analysis in special relativity; 4. Perfect fluids in special relativity; 5. Preface to curvature; 6. Curved manifolds; 7. Physics in a curved spacetime; 8. The Einstein field equations; 9. Gravitational radiation; 10. Spherical solutions for stars; 11. Schwarzschild geometry and black holes; 12. Cosmology; References; Index.


'Bernard Schutz's textbook A First Course in General Relativity quickly became a classic, notable for its use of the geometrical approach to the subject, combined with a refreshing succinctness. Since its first publication in 1985, the field of general relativity has exploded, with new discoveries in astrophysics and cosmology, and with the successful operation of laser interferometric gravitational-wave antennae. Schutz has done a masterful job of incorporating these new developments into a revised edition, which is sure to become a new 'classic'. I look forward to teaching out of the second edition of First Course.' Clifford M. Will, McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences, Washington University, St Louis

'Like many others involved in the teaching of general relativity to undergraduate and beginning graduate students, I have long hoped that Professor Schutz would produce a second edition of his excellent, and now classic, text. I am pleased to say the wait has not been in vain. This new edition retains all of the original's clarity and insight into the mathematical foundations of general relativity, but thoroughly updates the accounts of the application of the theory in astrophysics and cosmology, which have moved on considerably in the intervening 23 years. In particular, Professor Schutz has completely revised and considerably extended the discussion of the astrophysics of black holes and relativistic stars, the detection of gravitational waves, and modern cosmological theory and observations, all with the erudition and accessible exposition that we have come to expect from him. The result is an indispensable volume for anyone wishing to develop a deep and physically well-motivated understanding of relativistic gravitation, and this new edition will no doubt become a classic text in its own right.' Mike Hobson, Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge

'Schutz has updated his eminently readable and eminently teachable A First Course in General Relativity. The result maintains the style of the first edition - intuitively and physically motivated presentation of the subject. He has added developments from the quarter century since the appearance of the first edition, including developments in cosmology (the accelerating universe, the development of structure from early inflation, quantum evolution of the early universe), in quantum gravity (the Hawking radiation), and especially in understanding of the sources and in the efforts to detect astrophysical gravitational radiation. The study of gravitational radiation has been the center of Schutz's research, and it is a pleasure to find it so clearly presented by an expert in the field. This text will be appreciated by any upper level undergraduate with an interest in cosmology, astrophysics, or experimentation in gravitational physics.' Richard Matzner, The Center for Relativity, University of Texas at Austin

'Long-awaited second edition of the highly successful undergraduate text.' The Times Higher Education Supplement

'… marvellous … very clear … I cannot recommend this book highly enough to any physicist who wants a good introduction to General Relativity.' David Burton, The Observatory

Reviews from the first edition: 'Schutz has such mastery of the material that it soon becomes clear that one is in authoritative hands, and topics are selected and developed only to a point where they prove adequate for future needs.' The Times Higher Education Supplement

'… ought to inspire more physicists and astronomers to teach and learn the other half of the 20th century's revolution in physics.' Foundations of Physics

'The book is a goldmine of cleverly constructed problems and exercises (and solutions!) …' Nature

'… provides the first step into general relativity for undergraduate students with a minimal background in mathematics.' Zentralblatt MATH

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