Gravitation and Relativity

Gravitation and Relativity

International Series in Natural Philosophy

1st Edition - January 1, 1976

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  • Author: M. G. Bowler
  • eBook ISBN: 9781483151113

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Gravitation and Relativity generalizes Isaac Newton’s theory of gravitation using the elementary tools of Albert Einstein’s special relativity. Topics covered include gravitational waves, martian electrodynamics, relativistic gravitational fields and gravitational forces, the distortion of reference frames, and the precession of the perihelion of Mercury. Black holes and the geometry of spacetime also receive consideration. This book is comprised of 10 chapters; the first of which briefly reviews special relativity, with the emphasis on the Lorentz covariance of the equations of physics. This topic is then followed by a short discussion on accelerations in the framework of special relativity. Two problems related to the gravitational deflection of light and how to detect a gravitational acceleration by observations within a freely falling laboratory are discussed in this book. The chapters that follow focus on the Eötvös-Dicke experiments that established the identity of inertial and gravitational mass; the equations of electrodynamics and electrostatics; force laws and equations of motion; and the precession of the perihelion of Mercury. The reader is also introduced to the nature of gravitational radiation; its generation and detection; and the relation between the metric tensor and gravitational potentials. The book concludes with a chapter on black holes and how they may manifest themselves to the astronomer. This monograph will appeal not only to professional physicists but also to undergraduates in physics who want to know a great deal about gravitation and relativity.

Table of Contents

  • Preface


    Chapter 1. Special Relativity and Accelerations

    1.1 Special Relativity in Brief

    1.2 Special Relativity and Accelerations

    1.3 Acceleration and Gravity

    1.4 Measurements of the Gravitational Frequency Shift

    1.5 The Gravitational Deflection of Light

    1.6 An Apparent Paradox


    Chapter 2. The Eötvös-Dicke Experiments

    2.1 Gravitational and Inertial Mass

    2.2 The Eötvös-Dicke Experiments

    2.3 Implications of the Null Result of Eötvös-Dicke Experiments


    Chapter 3. Martian Electrodynamics

    3.1 Fields

    3.2 Forces

    3.3 The Lagrangian Formalism: for Experts


    Chapter 4. Relativistic Gravitational Fields

    4.1 The Gravitational Poisson Equation

    4.2 The Properties of the Source of Gravitational Fields

    4.3 Possible Forms of Relativistic Gravitational Fields

    4.4 Non-Linearity of the Field Equations


    Chapter 5. Relativistic Gravitational Forces

    5.1 The Velocity of Light

    5.2 Radar Ranging in the Solar System

    5.3 Further Remarks on the Variable Velocity of Light

    5.4 The Force Laws and Equations of Motion

    5.5 The Effects of Local Forces

    5.6 Gravitational Deflection and Gravitational Redshift


    Chapter 6. The Distortion of Reference Frames

    6.1 Introduction

    6.2 Atoms in Gravitational Fields: the Change of Scale

    6.3 The Weight of an Atom

    6.4 Covariant Equations of Motion

    6.5 The Lagrangian Formalism: again for Experts


    Chapter 7. The Precession of the Perihelion of Mercury

    7.1 Introduction

    7.2 Perihelion Advance in Newtonian Mechanics

    7.3 The Relativistic Theory and the Need for Nonlinear Terms

    7.4 Strong Equivalence and the Nonlinear Terms

    7.5 Calculation of the Advance of Perihelion

    7.6 The Precession of the Perihelion of Mercury

    7.7 The Oblateness of the Sun


    Chapter 8. Gravitational Waves

    8.1 Introduction

    8.2 Transverse Nature of the Waves

    8.3 Physical Effects of Gravitational Waves

    8.4 Polarization Properties of Gravitational Waves

    8.5 Detection of Gravitational Waves

    8.6 Generation of Gravitational Waves

    8.7 Attempts to Detect Gravitational Waves


    Chapter 9. Gravitation and the Geometry of Spacetime

    9.1 Introduction

    9.2 The Metric Tensor and Equations of Motion in Free Fall

    9.3 Concerning the Field Equations

    9.4 The Metric Tensor in some Simple Situations

    9.5 An Example of an Inertial Field

    9.6 The External Spherically Symmetric Gravitational Field

    9.7 The Gravitational Redshift

    9.8 Deflection of Light by the Sun

    9.9 Radar Echo Delay

    9.10 The Precession of Planetary Perihelia


    Chapter 10. Black Holes

    10.1 Strong Gravitational Fields

    10.2 The Propagation of Light in Strong Fields

    10.3 Particle Motion in the Field of a Black Hole

    10.4 The Search for Black Holes

    10.5 The Universe



Product details

  • No. of pages: 182
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Pergamon 1976
  • Published: January 1, 1976
  • Imprint: Pergamon
  • eBook ISBN: 9781483151113

About the Author

M. G. Bowler

Affiliations and Expertise

Department of Nuclear Physics, Oxford University, UK

About the Editor

D. Ter Haar

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