ASTR 3740 Spring 2004 Homepage
ASTR 3740 Relativity & Cosmology Spring 2004: Texts
Since I will not be following any one book,
I will not be requiring that you buy any single book in particular.
As a practical matter, however,
you will probably find it helpful to get a copy of my notes
(see below).
One of the best relativity resources on the web is Chris Hillman's
Relativity on the World Wide Web,
which amongst other things contains a listing of
Undergraduate Level Lecture Notes and Articles.
Chris Hillman and others have compiled a comprehensive
Guide to books on Relativity.
One of the best cosmology resources on the web is
Ned Wright's
Cosmology tutorial,
which includes a
Cosmology bibliography,
a
Cosmology FAQ,
and sections on the
Age of the Universe
and on
Astronomical Distances.
Ned Wright also offers a set of upper division undergraduate lecture notes on
Stellar Systems and Cosmology.
Notes
The Copy Center in Norlin Library has a master copy of my handwritten notes,
and you can purchase a copy from them for about $24.
Alternatively,
you can download this
and print them at your leisure.
I will be lecturing from these notes.
Good Books

James B. Hartle (2003) Gravity: An Introduction to Einstein's General Relativity
(Addison Wesley).
A comprehensive, uptodate text on special and general relativity,
including two chapters on cosmology.
The text is aimed at the serious undergraduate science major,
but is remarkably accessible.

Edwin F. Taylor & John A. Wheeler (1997) Spacetime Physics 2nd ed.
(W. H. Freeman).
A delightful introduction to special relativity
aimed at beginning undergraduate scientists.
This is Chris Hillman's choice
Introductory Book on Special Relativity.

Edwin F. Taylor and John A. Wheeler (2000) Exploring Black Holes
(Addison Wesley).
This is an equally wonderfully written text on general relativity,
with an emphasis on black holes,
again aimed at beginning undergraduate scientists.

John F. Hawley & Katherine A. Holcomb (1997)
Foundations of Modern Cosmology
(Oxford University Press, $50).
Beautifully written, easy to follow.
Mostly on cosmology, but includes extensive chapters
on special and general relativity, and even discusses wormholes.
Its disadvantage in this course is that,
being a book aimed primarily at nonscience majors,
it does not cover the mathematics adequately,
although it does include more mathematics than is typical for such books.

Kip S. Thorne (1994) Black Holes & Time Warps: Einstein's Outrageous
Legacy (Norton).
A wonderfully readable, authoritative book which takes you
to the edge of knowledge in Relativity and Black Holes,
without mathematics, and without patronizing.
You won't learn relativity from this book,
but you will learn a great deal about relativity.
Other Good Books

Leo Sartori (1996)
Understanding Relativity.
This book covers special relativity in a way similar to the
way I will be presenting it, with much additional commentary and discussion.
The book concludes with single chapters on general relativity
and cosmology.

Ray D'Inverno (1992)
Introducing Einstein's Relativity
(Oxford University Press, $45).
Covers special and general relativity, and cosmology.
A wellwritten, comprehensible, but
serious text aimed at science undergraduates.
This is Chris Hillman's choice
Introductory Book on General Relativity.
However, I think Hartle's book is now to be preferred,
being more up to date, and at least as comprehensive and comprehensible.

Matthias Blau's (1999)
Lecture Notes on General Relativity.
The best set of lecture notes aimed at graduate students that I know of.
And you can download them for free.

Robert P. Kirshner (2002)
Extravagant Universe : Exploding Stars, Dark Energy, and the Accelerating Cosmos
(Princeton University Press).
A popular book on the 1998 revolution that led to the Standard Model of Cosmology,
written by one of the revolutionists.

M. Begelman & M. Rees (1996)
Gravity's Fatal Attraction: Black Holes in the Universe
(Scientific American Library).
A popular book on the astronomy of black holes by CU's own
Mitch Begelman
and Britain's Astronomer Royal Sir Martin Rees.

John Cramer (1997)
Einstein's Bridge (Avon $13).
This is a science fiction novel involving wormholes.
The author is a practicing physicist, and knows his general relativity.
A compelling read.

Carl Sagan (1985)
Contact (Pocket Books $7).
The book that eventually became a film.
Kip Thorne was the consulting general relativistic expert on this novel.
I preferred the film to the book.

George Gamow (1965; reprinted 1996) Mr. Tompkins in Paperback
(Cambridge University Press).
A classic.
ASTR 3740 Spring 2004 Homepage
Updated 14 Jan 2004