96 pages, 9x6 inches
Jan 2001 Hardcover
ISBN 1-58949-000-2


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This book presents, in a natural and beautiful way, the general relativity as a scheme for describing the gravitational field and the equations it obeys. Starting from physical motivations, curved coordinates are introduced, and then the notion of an affine connection field is added. At a later step, the metric field is added. One then sees clearly how space and time get more and more structure, until finally Einstein's field equations logically come out. Many applications of the theory are briefed and the readers are referred to a carefully prepared literature list for further details. However, extra attention is paid to an application on gravitational radiation which may become important in the near future but somehow is omitted from introductory text books a bit too often. This book, authored by a master theoretical physicist, serves well as a textbook for an elementary course in General Relativity.



"... a very elegant book on the theoretical foundations of General Relativity ... very reminiscent of Dirac's monograph but modernized  ... am pleased to recommend 't Hooft's book highly ... "
- George Smoot (UC Berkeley)

" ... this text to be far superior to Dirac's General Theory of Relativity ... 't Hooft's direct and rather elegant style will find many supporters."
-Donald Marolf (Syracuse U), Physics Today July issue (2001).

" ... a concise and lucid entry point to Einstein theory, written by one of the prominent researchers in theoretical physics ... a useful and handy reference to students whishing to get a quick access to the essential ideas of general relativity" - Marc Henneaux (U Libre de Bruxelles) in a book review published in journal General Relativity and Gravitation Vol.34 No. 1 (2002)



Ch.1 Summary of the theory of Special Relativity. Notations.
Ch.2 The Eotvos experiments and the equivalence principle.
Ch.3 The constantly accelerated elevator. Rindler space.
Ch.4 Curved coordinates.
Ch.5 The affine connection. Riemann curvature.
Ch.6 The metric tensor.
Ch.7 The perturbative expansion and Einstein's law of gravity.
Ch.8 The action principle.
Ch.9 Special coordinates.
Ch.10 Electromagnetism.
Ch.11 The Schwarzschild solution.
Ch.12 Mercury and light rays in the Schwarzschild metric.
Ch.13 Generalizations of the Schwarzschild solution.
Ch.14 The Robertson-Walker metric.
Ch.15 Gravitational radiation.


Gerard 't Hooft, a professor at Institute for Theoretical Physics Utrecht University, is a world class physicist. He has made profound contributions to many research areas such as gauge theories in elementary particle physics, quantum gravity and black holes, and fundamental aspects of quantum physics. Among numerous rewards and prizes that Professor 't Hoof has received, is the 1999 Nobel Prize in Physics, shared with Professor Martinus J.G. Veltman, for elucidating the quantum structure of electroweak interactions in physics (the Academy citation). The books authored by  Professor 't Hooft include  Under the Spell of the Gauge Principle (1994) and In Search of the Ultimate Building Blocks (1996).