ASTR 3740 Spring 2021 Homepage
ASTR 3740 Relativity & Cosmology Spring 2021: Texts
Notes
I will be lecturing from a combination of the following resources:

Scanned copy of my handwritten notes for this class,
original version 2004, revised 2017:

Selected Chapters of the protobook
General Relativity, Black Holes, and Cosmology
(version of 2021 Aug 23):

Ch. 1
Special Relativity

parts of Ch. 2
on General Relativity

Ch. 5–9
on Ideal Black Holes

Ch. 10
on Cosmology

Websites:
Good Books

TaPei Cheng (2015)
A College Course on Relativity and Cosmology
(Oxford University Press).
The first three parts, on special and general relativity, black holes, and cosmology,
cover the same material as this course.
The last part provides a taste of general relativity at the graduate level.

Barbara Ryden (2016) Introduction to Cosmology
(AddisonWesley).
Cosmology for undergraduate scientists without heavy general relativity.

James B. Hartle (2003) Gravity: An Introduction to Einstein's General Relativity
(Addison Wesley).
A comprehensive, uptodate text on special and general relativity,
including two chapters on cosmology.
The text is aimed at the serious undergraduate science major,
but is remarkably accessible.

Bernard F. Schutz (2003) Gravity from the Ground up
(Cambridge University Press).
From the author of the well received graduate text
“A First Course in General Relativity”.
This book is widely recommended by people who should know.

Edwin F. Taylor & John A. Wheeler (1997) Spacetime Physics 2nd ed.
(W. H. Freeman).
A delightful introduction to special relativity
aimed at beginning undergraduate scientists.

Edwin F. Taylor and John A. Wheeler (2000) Exploring Black Holes
(Addison Wesley).
This is an equally wonderfully written text on general relativity,
with an emphasis on black holes,
again aimed at beginning undergraduate scientists.

John F. Hawley & Katherine A. Holcomb (2005)
Foundations of Modern Cosmology 2nd edition
(Oxford University Press).
Beautifully written, easy to follow.
Mostly on cosmology, but includes extensive chapters
on special and general relativity, and even discusses wormholes.
Its disadvantage in this course is that,
being a book aimed primarily at nonscience majors,
it does not cover the mathematics adequately,
although it does include more mathematics than is typical for such books.

Kip S. Thorne (1994) Black Holes & Time Warps: Einstein's Outrageous
Legacy (Norton).
A wonderfully readable, authoritative book which takes you
to the edge of knowledge in Relativity and Black Holes,
without mathematics, and without patronizing.
You won't learn relativity from this book,
but you will learn a great deal about relativity.
This is a model of how a popular science book should be written.
Other Good Books

Leo Sartori (1996)
Understanding Relativity.
This book covers special relativity in a way similar to the
way I will be presenting it, with much additional commentary and discussion.
The book concludes with single chapters on general relativity
and cosmology.

Ray D'Inverno (1992)
Introducing Einstein's Relativity
(Oxford University Press).
Covers special and general relativity, and cosmology.
A wellwritten, comprehensible, but
serious text aimed at science undergraduates.
I think Hartle's book is to be preferred,
being more up to date, and at least as comprehensive and comprehensible.

Matthias Blau's (2018)
Lecture Notes on General Relativity.
The best set of lecture notes aimed at graduate students that I know of.
And you can download them for free.
The original version of these notes dates to 1999,
and they are constantly being updated.

Robert P. Kirshner (2002)
Extravagant Universe: Exploding Stars, Dark Energy, and the Accelerating Cosmos
(Princeton University Press).
A popular book on the 1998 revolution that led to the Standard Model of Cosmology,
written by one of the revolutionists.

M. Begelman & M. Rees (2009)
Gravity's Fatal Attraction: Black Holes in the Universe, 2nd edition
(Scientific American Library).
A popular book on the astronomy of black holes by CU's own
Mitch Begelman
and Britain's Astronomer Royal Sir Martin Rees.

John Cramer (1997)
Einstein's Bridge (Avon $13).
This is a science fiction novel involving wormholes.
The author is a practicing physicist, and knows his general relativity.
A compelling read.

Carl Sagan (1985)
Contact (Pocket Books $7).
The book that eventually became a film.
Kip Thorne was the consulting general relativistic expert on this novel.
I preferred the film to the book.

George Gamow (1965; reprinted 1996) Mr. Tompkins in Paperback
(Cambridge University Press).
A classic,
even though its description of what things look like when you move at
near the speed of light is wrong.
Movies
ASTR 3740 Spring 2021 Homepage
Updated 2021 Jan 10