Aimed at advanced undergraduates with background knowledge of classical mechanics and electricity and magnetism, this textbook presents both the particle dynamics relevant to general relativity, and the field dynamics necessary to understand the theory. Focusing on action extremization, the book develops the structure and predictions of general relativity by analogy with familiar physical systems. Topics ranging from classical field theory to minimal surfaces and relativistic strings are covered in a homogeneous manner. Nearly 150 exercises and numerous examples throughout the textbook enable students to test their understanding of the material covered. A tensor manipulation package to help students overcome the computational challenge associated with general relativity is available on a site hosted by the author. A link to this and to a solutions manual can be found at www.cambridge.org/9780521762458.
Joel Franklin is an Assistant Professor in the Physics department of Reed College. His work spans a variety of fields, including stochastic Hamiltonian systems (both numerical and mathematical), theoretical extensions of general relativity, and their observational implications.