This book shows moreover that eight of the nine facets of the Problem of Time already occur upon entertaining background independence in classical (rather than quantum) physics. By this development, and interpreting shape theory as modelling background independence, this book further establishes background independence as a field of study. Background independent mechanics, as well as minisuperspace (spatially homogeneous) models of GR and perturbations thereabout are used to illustrate these points. As hitherto formulated, the different facets of the Problem of Time greatly interfere with each others' attempted resolutions. This book explains how, none the less, a local resolution of the Problem of Time can be arrived at after various reconceptualizations of the facets and reformulations of their mathematical implementation. Self-contained appendices on mathematical methods for basic and foundational quantum gravity are included. Finally, this book outlines how supergravity is refreshingly different from GR as a realization of background independence, and what background independence entails at the topological level and beyond.
Centuries ago, natural philosophers puzzled out the laws of nature using the tools of observation and experimentation. Today, theoretical physics has become mathematically inscrutable, accessible only to an elite few. In rejecting this abstraction, outsider theorists insist that nature speaks a language we can all understand. Through a profoundly human profile of Jim Carter, Wertheim's exploration of the bizarre world of fringe physics challenges our conception of what science is, how it works, and who it is for.
With an emphasis on geometric interpretation, this masterful and comprehensive book introduces the theory of relativity; describes physical applications, from stars to black holes and gravitational waves; and portrays the field’s frontiers. The book also offers a unique, alternating, two-track pathway through the subject. Material focusing on basic physical ideas is designated as Track 1 and formulates an appropriate one-semester graduate-level course. The remaining Track 2 material provides a wealth of advanced topics instructors can draw on for a two-semester course, with Track 1 sections serving as prerequisites.
This must-have reference for students and scholars of relativity includes a new preface by David Kaiser, reflecting on the history of the book’s publication and reception, and a new introduction by Charles Misner and Kip Thorne, discussing exciting developments in the field since the book’s original publication.