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Gravity from the Ground Up: An Introductory Guide to Gravity and General Relativity

  • Highly accessible introduction to astronomy and general relativity
  • Imaginative use of high-school mathematics and computer programs to explain deep physics
  • Tied to a website providing programs, solutions to exercises and other useful resources

By: Bernard F Schutz (Author)

424 pages, 155 illustrations, 10 tables

Cambridge University Press

Hardback | Dec 2003 | #137262 | ISBN: 0521455065
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £54.99 $71/€65 approx

About this book

Gravity from the Ground Up invites the reader to understand our Universe, not just marvel at it. From the clock-like motions of the planets to the catastrophic collapse of a star into a black hole, gravity controls the Universe. Gravity is central to modern physics, helping to answer the deepest questions about the nature of time, the origin of the Universe and the unification of the forces of nature. Linking key experiments and observations through careful physical reasoning, the author builds the reader's insight step-by-step from simple but profound facts about gravity on Earth to the frontiers of research. Topics covered include the nature of stars and galaxies, the mysteries of dark matter and dark energy, black holes, gravitational waves, inflation and the Big Bang. Suitable for general readers and for undergraduate courses, the treatment uses only high-school level mathematics, supplemented by optional computer programs, to explain the laws of physics governing gravity.

"A marvellous work! What strikes me is its immense range and its solid authority. For me this will be a great resource of encyclopedic knowledge, powerful models, and balanced judgement about our Universe."
- Edwin F. Taylor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

"[...] this splendid book [...] is in fact a guide to everything that is needed to understand astronomy, astrophysics and cosmology [...]"
- Physics World

"This beautifully produced book is evidently the result of a labour of love [...] Schutz writes for people who not only want to be amazed but who also want to know how it is that scientists know all the amazing things they talk about on beautifully make documentaries."

"This book is difficult to put down [...] The ratio of kg to £ makes it a bargain in any company of books and its contents emphasise its value in no uncertain terms [...] this presentation of its influence will even enlighten many who believe themselves to be already well versed in the subject [...] As a whole it is the work of a master teacher, authoritative and encyclopaedic and likely to give the average enthusiast many years of real pleasure."
- Astronomy Now

"Altogether, this is a very illuminating work [...] The general reader will profit from the well thought-out representation, and the specialist will find many original new view-points for looking at well-known facts."
- General Relativity and Gravitation



1. Gravity on Earth: the inescapable force
2. And then came Newton: gravity takes center stage
3. Satellites: what goes up doesn't always come down
4. The Solar System: a triumph for Newtonian gravity
5. Tides and tidal forces: the real signature of gravity
6. Interplanetary travel: the cosmic roller-coaster
7. Atmospheres: keeping planets covered
8. Gravity in the Sun: keeping the heat on
9. Reaching for the stars: the emptiness of outer space
10. The colors of stars: why they are black (bodies)
11. Stars at work: factories for the Universe
12. Birth to death: the life cycle of the stars
13. Binary stars: tidal forces on a huge scale
14. Galaxies: atoms in the Universe
15. Physics near the speed of light: Einstein stands on Galileo's shoulders
16. Relating to Einstein: logic and experiment in relativity
17. Spacetime geometry: finding out what is not relative
18. Einstein's gravity: the curvature of spacetime in the Solar System
19. Einstein's recipe: fashioning the geometry of gravity
20. Neutron stars: laboratories of strong gravity
21. Black holes: gravity's one-way street
22. Gravitational waves: gravity speaks
23. Gravitational lenses: bringing the Universe into focus
24. Cosmology: the study of everything
25. Big Bang: the seed from which we grew
26. Einstein's Universe: the geometry of cosmology
27. Ask the Universe: cosmic questions at the frontiers of gravity

Appendix A. Useful constants: values used in this book
Appendix B. Background: what you need to know before you start

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Bernard Schutz has done research and teaching in general relativity and especially its applications in astronomy since 1970. He is an author of more than 170 publications, including three highly-regarded books published by Cambridge University Press: Geometrical Methods of Mathematical Physics, A First Course in General Relativity and Gravity From the Ground Up. Schutz currently specialises in gravitational wave research, studying the theory of potential sources and designing new methods for analysing the data from current and planned detectors. He is a member of most of the current large-scale gravitational wave projects: GEO600 (operated by the AEI), LIGO and LISA. Schutz is a Director of the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics, also known as the Albert Einstein Institute (AEI), in Potsdam, Germany. He holds a part-time chair in Physics and Astronomy at Cardiff University, Wales, as well as honorary professorships at Potsdam and Hanover universities in Germany. Born and educated in the USA, he taught physics and astronomy for twenty years at Cardiff before moving to Germany. In 1998 he founded the open-access online journal Living Reviews in Relativity. In 2006 he was awarded the Amaldi Gold Medal of the Italian Society for Gravitation (SIGRAV). He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and of the Institute of Physics, and a member of the German Academy of Natural Sciences Leopoldina and of the Royal Society of Arts and Sciences Uppsala.

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