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Sadly, there is no one text which covers everything in this course perfectly, although there are several good books on each of the individual subjects of Special Relativity, General Relativity, and Cosmology. Some of these books are listed below.

Since I will not be following any one book, I will not be requiring that you buy any single book in particular. However, I have listed a small number of books as `Highly Recommended'.

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 recommended list of 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 graduate level Cosmology lecture notes (gzip'd PostScript).

- John F. Hawley & Katherine A. Holcomb (1997) ``Foundations of Modern Cosmology'' (Oxford University Press, $50). Beautifully written, easy to follow, bang up to date. 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 non-science majors, it does not cover the mathematics adequately, although it does include more mathematics than is typical for such books.

- Edwin F. Taylor & John A. Wheeler (1997) ``Spacetime Physics'' 2nd ed. (W. H. Freeman). A delightful introduction to special relativity. One short final chapter on general relativity. Pity they couldn't have added a bit more on GR.

- 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.

- 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, and you may prefer it to Taylor & Wheeler. The book concludes with single chapters on general relativity and cosmology.
- George F. R. Ellis & Ruth M. Williams (1988) ``Flat and Curved Space-Times'' (Oxford University Press). Sadly out of print - if it were in print, it would be my selection for the general relativistic part of this course. An easy to follow, readable introduction to special and general relativity, with an emphasis on pictures and geometry. Claims that anyone with a high-school level of mathematics should be able to follow the arguments.
- Ignazio Ciufolini & John A. Wheeler (1995) ``Gravitation and Inertia'' (Princeton U. Press). A graduate level text, leavened with history and insight.
- Richard A. Mould (1996) ``Basic Relativity'' (Springer). Introduction to special and general relativity, aimed at undergraduate physics students. Has a short chapter on Cosmology at the end.
- 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. Am I allowed to say I found the book a little pompous?
- George Gamow (1965; reprinted 1996) ``Mr. Tompkins in Paperback'' (Cambridge University Press). A classic.
- Timothy Ferris (1997) ``The Whole Shebang : A State-Of-The-Universe(S) Report'' (Simon & Shuster $25). There are many popular books on cosmology, and this is one of them, written by a science journalist. Wide-ranging. Zero math.
- Several graduate level texts in Cosmology.

syllabus | texts | problems | gallery | emails | relativity | cosmology | ASTR 2010 | ASTR 3740 (Spr 98) | ASTR 5720 (Fall 97) | FCQs |

**Updated** 16 Nov 1998