On Gravity: A Brief Tour of a Weighty Subject

Princeton University Press
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A brief introduction to gravity through Einstein’s general theory of relativity

Of the four fundamental forces of nature, gravity might be the least understood and yet the one with which we are most intimate. From the months each of us spent suspended in the womb anticipating birth to the moments when we wait for sleep to transport us to other realities, we are always aware of gravity. In On Gravity, physicist A. Zee combines profound depth with incisive accessibility to take us on an original and compelling tour of Einstein's general theory of relativity.

Inspired by Einstein's audacious suggestion that spacetime could ripple, Zee begins with the stunning discovery of gravity waves. He goes on to explain how gravity can be understood in comparison to other classical field theories, presents the idea of curved spacetime and the action principle, and explores cutting-edge topics, including black holes and Hawking radiation. Zee travels as far as the theory reaches, leaving us with tantalizing hints of the utterly unknown, from the intransigence of quantum gravity to the mysteries of dark matter and energy.

Concise and precise, and infused with Zee's signature warmth and freshness of style, On Gravity opens a unique pathway to comprehending relativity and gaining deep insight into gravity, spacetime, and the workings of the universe.

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About the author

A. Zee is professor of physics at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His many books include Einstein Gravity in a Nutshell, Quantum Field Theory in a Nutshell, and Fearful Symmetry (all Princeton).
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Apr 24, 2018
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Pages
192
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ISBN
9781400890309
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Language
English
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Genres
Science / Gravity
Science / Physics / Electricity
Science / Physics / Electromagnetism
Science / Physics / Quantum Theory
Science / Physics / Relativity
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Gravity is one of the four fundamental interactions that exist in nature. It also has the distinction of being the oldest, weakest, and most difficult force to quantize. Understanding gravity is not only essential for understanding the motion of objects on Earth, but also the motion of all celestial objects, and even the expansion of the Universe itself. It was the study of gravity that led Einstein to his profound realisations about the nature of space and time. Gravity is not only universal, it is also essential for understanding the behaviour of the Universe, and all astrophysical bodies within it. In this Very Short Introduction Timothy Clifton looks at the development of our understanding of gravity since the early observations of Kepler and Newtonian theory. He discusses Einstein's theory of gravity, which now supplants Newton's, showing how it allows us to understand why the frequency of light changes as it passes through a gravitational field, why GPS satellites need their clocks corrected as they orbit the Earth, and why the orbits of distant neutron stars speed up. Today, almost 100 years after Einstein published his theory of gravity, we have even detected the waves of gravitational radiation that he predicted. Clifton concludes by considering the testing and application of general relativity in astrophysics and cosmology, and looks at dark energy and efforts such as string theory to combine gravity with quantum mechanics. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
This unique textbook provides an accessible introduction to Einstein's general theory of relativity, a subject of breathtaking beauty and supreme importance in physics. With his trademark blend of wit and incisiveness, A. Zee guides readers from the fundamentals of Newtonian mechanics to the most exciting frontiers of research today, including de Sitter and anti-de Sitter spacetimes, Kaluza-Klein theory, and brane worlds. Unlike other books on Einstein gravity, this book emphasizes the action principle and group theory as guides in constructing physical theories. Zee treats various topics in a spiral style that is easy on beginners, and includes anecdotes from the history of physics that will appeal to students and experts alike. He takes a friendly approach to the required mathematics, yet does not shy away from more advanced mathematical topics such as differential forms. The extensive discussion of black holes includes rotating and extremal black holes and Hawking radiation. The ideal textbook for undergraduate and graduate students, Einstein Gravity in a Nutshell also provides an essential resource for professional physicists and is accessible to anyone familiar with classical mechanics and electromagnetism. It features numerous exercises as well as detailed appendices covering a multitude of topics not readily found elsewhere.


Provides an accessible introduction to Einstein's general theory of relativity
Guides readers from Newtonian mechanics to the frontiers of modern research
Emphasizes symmetry and the Einstein-Hilbert action
Covers topics not found in standard textbooks on Einstein gravity
Includes interesting historical asides
Features numerous exercises and detailed appendices
Ideal for students, physicists, and scientifically minded lay readers
Solutions manual (available only to teachers)
Since it was first published, Quantum Field Theory in a Nutshell has quickly established itself as the most accessible and comprehensive introduction to this profound and deeply fascinating area of theoretical physics. Now in this fully revised and expanded edition, A. Zee covers the latest advances while providing a solid conceptual foundation for students to build on, making this the most up-to-date and modern textbook on quantum field theory available.

This expanded edition features several additional chapters, as well as an entirely new section describing recent developments in quantum field theory such as gravitational waves, the helicity spinor formalism, on-shell gluon scattering, recursion relations for amplitudes with complex momenta, and the hidden connection between Yang-Mills theory and Einstein gravity. Zee also provides added exercises, explanations, and examples, as well as detailed appendices, solutions to selected exercises, and suggestions for further reading.

The most accessible and comprehensive introductory textbook available Features a fully revised, updated, and expanded text Covers the latest exciting advances in the field Includes new exercises Offers a one-of-a-kind resource for students and researchers Leading universities that have adopted this book include:
Arizona State University Boston University Brandeis University Brown University California Institute of Technology Carnegie Mellon College of William & Mary Cornell Harvard University Massachusetts Institute of Technology Northwestern University Ohio State University Princeton University Purdue University - Main Campus Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Rutgers University - New Brunswick Stanford University University of California - Berkeley University of Central Florida University of Chicago University of Michigan University of Montreal University of Notre Dame Vanderbilt University Virginia Tech University
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