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Math curriculum to understand General Relativity

sjwaste (780063) writes | more than 3 years ago

Science 3

sjwaste writes "Slashdot posts a fair number of physics stories. Many of us, myself included, don't have the background to understand them. So I'd like to ask the Slashdot math/physics community to construct a curriculum that gets me, an average college grad with two semesters of chemistry, one of calculus, and maybe 2-3 applied statistics courses all the way to understanding the mathematics of general relativity. What would I need to learn, in what order, and what texts should I use? Before I get killed here, I know this isn't a weekend project, but it seems like it could be fun to do in my spare time for the next... decade."

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5 steps method (2)

Cybernot (1521299) | more than 3 years ago | (#37233846)

In order, I think you should : 1-Make sure you are good with basic vector and matrix math 2-Make sure you are good with basic newtonian physics (mechanics, gravity, etc) 3-(optional but very helpful) become familiar with coordinate changes (from cartesian to spherical and others like cylindrical) 4- Learn special relativity before general relativity... I specify it because sometimes it is not obvious that special relativity is a prerequisite for the general relativity because the names may be misleading (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special_relativity) 5- Learn about tensor (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tensor) Now you can start reading about general relativity

Re:5 steps method (1)

Cybernot (1521299) | more than 3 years ago | (#37233860)

by the way, I did not specify any text book because I think you can find all of this on the internet

Re:5 steps method (1)

sjwaste (780063) | more than 3 years ago | (#37234310)

Thanks for responding. It was the order of things that probably confused me the most, so I'l give vector/matrix math a shot and then try to work through Newtonian physics. I've had a course in Newtonian physics, but it wasn't calculus-based, so that probably didn't teach me anything other than an overview of the concepts.
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