This book provides a thorough introduction to Einstein's special theory of relativity, suitable for anyone with a minimum of one year's university physics with calculus. It is divided into fundamental and advanced topics. The first section starts by recalling the Pythagorean rule and its relation to the geometry of space, then covers every aspect of special relativity, including the history. The second section covers the impact of relativity in quantum theory, with an introduction to relativistic quantum mechanics and quantum field theory. It also goes over the group theory of the Lorentz group, a simple introduction to supersymmetry, and ends with cutting-edge topics such as general relativity, the standard model of elementary particles and its extensions, superstring theory, and a survey of important unsolved problems. Each chapter comes with a set of exercises. The book is accompanied by a CD-ROM illustrating, through interactive animation, classic problems in relativity involving motion.
Patricia M. Schwarz received her BA from San Francisco State University and her PhD in theoretical physics from the California Institute of Technology. Her research specialty is spacetime geometry in general relativity and string theory. She is an expert in multimedia and online education technology. Her award-winning multimedia-rich web site at http://superstringtheory.com is popular with the public and is widely used as an educationalresource, hosting online physics courses with teachers and students from around the world. John H. Schwarz, the Harold Brown Professor of Theoretical Physics at the California Institute of Technology, is one of the founders of superstring theory. He coauthored a two-volume monograph 'Superstring Theory' with Michael Green and Edward Witten in 1987. He is a Mac Arthur Fellow and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. He has received the Dirac Medal from the International Center for Theoretical Physics and the Dannie Heineman Prize in Mathematical Physics from the American Physical Society.
Preface; Part I. Fundamentals: 1. From Pythagoras to spacetime geometry; 2. Light surprises everyone; 3. Elements of spacetime geometry; 4. Mechanics in spacetime; 5. Spacetime physics of fields; 6. Causality and relativity; Part II. Advanced Topics: 7. When quantum mechanics and relativity collide; 8. Group theory and relativity; 9. Supersymmetry and superspace; 10. Looking onward; Appendix 1. Where do equations of motion come from?; Appendix 2. Basic group theory; Appendix 3. Lie groups and Lie algebras; Appendix 4. The structure of super Lie algebras; References; Index.