Skip to main content Accessibility help
  • Textbook

  • Coming soon
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Expected online publication date: June 2021
  • Print publication year: 2021
  • Online ISBN: 9781009042604
  • Export citation
  • Recommend to librarian
  • Buy the print book
  • Check for additional resources

Book description

Einstein's theory of general relativity is a cornerstone of modern physics. It also touches upon a wealth of topics that students find fascinating – black holes, warped spacetime, gravitational waves, and cosmology. Now reissued by Cambridge University Press, this ground-breaking text helped to bring general relativity into the undergraduate curriculum, making it accessible to virtually all physics majors. One of the pioneers of the 'physics-first' approach to the subject, renowned relativist James B. Hartle, recognized that there is typically not enough time in a short introductory course for the traditional, mathematics-first, approach. In this text, he provides a fluent and accessible physics-first introduction to general relativity that begins with the essential physical applications and uses a minimum of new mathematics. This market-leading text is ideal for a one-semester course for undergraduates, with only introductory mechanics as a prerequisite.


‘Jim Hartle's Gravity is a gem that offers a novel approach to general relativity pedagogy. It is written for senior level undergraduate physics students, but I expect it will be useful for a broader audience. The writing throughout is clear, methodical, and elegant, spiced with the author's characteristic dry sense of humor. His book is a fine contribution that extends the range of pedagogical choices available to instructors.'

Jennie Traschen Source: Physics Today

‘Teaching general relativity at undergraduate level inevitably brings a dilemma: [whether] to be rigorous from the beginning, developing all the tools necessary to do it but risk discouraging the student with difficult new mathematics or to emphasize the physical aspects but risk being so qualitative that the full content of the theory cannot be grasped by the student. Hartle solves this dilemma in a quite consistent way. The flavour of the physics which relies on general relativity theory is preserved and, at the same time, the reader can, at the end, perform calculations by himself. What more could we ask for in an introductory book on this difficult and fascinating subject?'

Júlio C. Fabris Source: Classical and Quantum Gravity

‘This is an excellent introduction to general relativity with a hands-on approach that is based on physical situations of interest like black holes and the expanding universe. It fills a real gap in the literature for an undergraduate or graduate course.'

Stephen Hawking - University of Cambridge

‘… the best elementary introduction to general relativity ever written. It brings relativity fully within the grasp of undergraduates and should trigger the creation of general relativity courses at colleges and universities around the world.'

Kip Thorne - California Institute of Technology

‘Hartle brings the beauty and excitement of relativistic gravitation to the appropriate undergraduate level via a remarkably accessible development. He uses many more familiar concepts to produce a broad understanding of the basic structure and applications of the theory. The pedagogy is remarkably effective.'

Robert V. Wagoner - Stanford University

‘Hartle is an established master of the field and his competence assures that this book is authoritative. The book provides a striking combination of classical general relativity theory and the latest modern observational results.'

Edwin F. Taylor - Massachusetts Institute of Technology

‘… a truly novel approach. With Hartle's presentation, relativity is more than its dry mathematics; instead it is an elegant, curious, and intellectually vibrant subject that is central to many of the most intriguing questions in physics and astrophysics today.'

Marc Kamionkowski - California Institute of Technology

‘This book should appeal to a new generation of physicists… It includes an excellent review of special relativity and provides a unified geometrical approach to both special and general relativity.'

Hans Juergen Weber - University of Virginia

‘A very fine book by a leading expert. By concentrating on physical ideas and the very latest observational results, Hartle achieves his admirable aim of making general relativity accessible without relying on daunting mathematics. This book is likely to become a classic that every physics student should possess.'

Jonathan Halliwell - Imperial College London

‘Professor Hartle is to be commended for writing such a fine and much needed introductory book on general relativity. With the right balance of physical ideas and mathematical details delivered in a clear style, this text will be welcomed.'

Bei Lok Hu - University of Maryland

‘This book should make a major impact in undergraduate education. It is far clearer and more physically motivating than other texts. The exposition is at precisely the right level … clear worked examples and good problems make it especially useful.'

Mike Hobson - University of Cambridge

‘… for decades, general relativity has largely been the purview of graduate students … Hartle's new book promises to change that. It provides an admirable overview of one of physics' most beautiful and increasingly relevant theories and can be understood with only a first mechanics class as a prerequisite. It should persuade many physics departments to offer general relativity as a routine part of the undergraduate curriculum.'

Arthur Kosowsky - Rutgers University

‘… the ideal text for … an introductory course. In no other single text have I found all the up-to-date material that a modern physicist should know about gravity. At the same time, it is an excellent basis for more advanced study.’

Dieter Brill - University of Maryland


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Book summary page views

Total views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between #date#. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.