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Thread: Theory of relativity, where to begin?

  1. #1 Theory of relativity, where to begin? 
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    I am a high school student and i am keen to study about the theory of relativity and the later (modern) physics....
    Can anyone tell me where to begin with? site or link or ebooks, anything would do....


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    Some popular science books:
    - Stephen Hawking's A Briefer History of Time (not A Brief History of Time)
    - Richard Feynman's Six Not-So-Easy Pieces (and his Six Easy Pieces is also worth a read)

    But no amount of popular science will ever substitute studying the theory and getting a feel for it yourself, in which case consult virtually any textbook on modern physics.


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    Hello there, to give a basic understanding and place to begin Wikipedia is always a good starting place:

    Theory of relativity - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Theory Of Relativity

    Also a good book to read:

    The Principle of Relativity: A Collection of Original Memoirs on the Special and General Theory of Relativity

    Best of luck
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  5. #4  
    pmb
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    Quote Originally Posted by analysis230 View Post
    I am a high school student and i am keen to study about the theory of relativity and the later (modern) physics....
    Can anyone tell me where to begin with? site or link or ebooks, anything would do....
    I see people ask this question alot. In order to better respond to this question I created a website. It was created piece by piece. Every time a question came up that was difficult to answer due to the math symbols I created a web page for it. I then collected these web pages together into one place. The resulting web site is here.

    Special Relativity - Special Relativity
    General Relativity - http://home.comcast.net/~peter.m.brown/gr/gr.htm

    The list of textbooks I have on the subject is located here
    Physics Textbooks

    Just scroll down to where it says Relativity Texts
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  6. #5  
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    thank you all of you. you were so very helpful. Now i can begin to study a bit about the theory of relativity and as nano said "I will get a feel for it"
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    Quote Originally Posted by pmb View Post

    Special Relativity - Special Relativity
    General Relativity - http://home.comcast.net/~peter.m.brown/gr/gr.htm
    Just added this stuff to my reading list. I will have a look tomorrow when I have more time.
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    If you google 'youtube relativity', you'll get a heap of 5, 10, 30 min videos that could be very helpful.

    But watch out for a few cranks trying to overturn special or general relativity (and every other major topic in physics of the last few hundred years.)
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    Heh, there are good resources on youtube, but it is more a case of watching out for those few good resources on youtube against the overwhelming number of cranks!
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    This is a relativity web site put together by a poster on another forum. He has a PhD in physics, and is quite good at explanation.

    http://www.modernrelativitysite.com/
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  11. #10  
    pmb
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    edit out
    Last edited by pmb; July 1st, 2012 at 05:39 PM.
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    I thought he had his PhD.

    OTOH, I've read a lot of his posts and looked at the website, and frankly, I'd go with him over you.
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    edit out
    Last edited by pmb; July 1st, 2012 at 05:38 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by nano View Post
    Some popular science books:
    - Stephen Hawking's A Briefer History of Time (not A Brief History of Time)
    - Richard Feynman's Six Not-So-Easy Pieces (and his Six Easy Pieces is also worth a read)

    But no amount of popular science will ever substitute studying the theory and getting a feel for it yourself, in which case consult virtually any textbook on modern physics.
    Some introductory college physics textbooks have good chapters on special relativity.

    Ludwik Kowalski (see Wikipedia)
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    Forum Senior TheObserver's Avatar
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    The best place to begin IMO is with mathematics. Though the special theory of relativity uses some fairly simple mathematics (primarily just high school and linear algebra), the general theory, and modern physics in general do not. I found physics in high school to be a little silly myself, it wasn't until we started to apply calculus to physics that I found myself really understanding things. So my recommendation would be to start with that. Once you have a little bit of background in maths I found Modern Physics by Harris to be a good introduction to all things modern physics.
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    You could do a lot worse than the special relativity primer sticky thread at the top of the physics subforum.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheObserver View Post
    The best place to begin IMO is with mathematics. Though the special theory of relativity uses some fairly simple mathematics (primarily just high school and linear algebra), the general theory, and modern physics in general do not. I found physics in high school to be a little silly myself, it wasn't until we started to apply calculus to physics that I found myself really understanding things. So my recommendation would be to start with that. Once you have a little bit of background in maths I found Modern Physics by Harris to be a good introduction to all things modern physics.
    well! i have a good hand at maths...
    i am strong at calculus, specially differentiation.... maths is one of my strong points...
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    thanks all... once again...
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  19. #18  
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    Quote Originally Posted by analysis230 View Post
    I am a high school student and i am keen to study about the theory of relativity and the later (modern) physics....
    Can anyone tell me where to begin with? site or link or ebooks, anything would do....
    Why not begin with the cornerstone of SR? I mean the definition of simultanity: Two events, a and b, are simultaneous if and only if light from them arrives simultaneously at the midpoint of ab. (or something such) Now tell me why the definition is not circular.
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