This advanced undergraduate text introduces Einstein's general theory of relativity. The topics covered include geometric formulation of special relativity, the principle of equivalence, Einstein's field equation and its spherical-symmetric solution, as well as cosmology. An emphasis is placed on physical examples and simple applications without the full tensor apparatus. It begins by examining the physics of the equivalence principle and looks at how it inspired Einstein's idea of curved spacetime as the gravitational field. At a more mathematically accessible level, it provides a metric description of a warped space, allowing the reader to study many interesting phenomena such as gravitational time dilation, GPS operation, light deflection, precession of Mercury's perihelion, and black holes. Numerous modern topics in cosmology are discussed from primordial inflation and cosmic microwave background to the dark energy that propels an accelerating universe.
Building on Cheng's previous book, 'Relativity, Gravitation and Cosmology: A Basic Introduction', this text has been tailored to the advanced student. It concentrates on the core elements of the subject making it suitable for a one-semester course at the undergraduate level. It can also serve as an accessible introduction of general relativity and cosmology for those readers who want to study the subject on their own. The proper tensor formulation of Einstein's field equation is presented in an appendix chapter for those wishing to glimpse further at the mathematical details.
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