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    (Original post by Modulus)
    I'm doing something similar to what you are trying to do. Well, I'm not self-teaching physics/maths over the summer specifically for GR but just so that I can get a mini-headstart into the material.
    The cool thing is that I have the Mathematical Methods for .... book. It is amazing, almost as cool at the bible. Highly recommend it. The other thing I would recommend is going through the first couple of chapters. I've discovered that I was taught a lot of crap at a-level and the textbook is more in depth and also contains some stuff not taught in the further maths syllabus (at least with my exam board anyway). The questions can be **** hard at times so the student solutions companion is not a bad idea.
    Oh and the books is massive, so don't be disheartened if you don't make any real progress into it. It took me about 2 weeks to cover the first three chapters which is all stuff I've done in school.
    Anyway time for sleep...
    Thanks. Good to see someone in a similar situation to me.

    This may well just turn into me learning the first year maths, but nothing wrong with that and hopefully i can then start to look at GR at least earlier than 3rd year.

    This book sounds scarily large :p:
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    (Original post by schrodinger's cat)
    Yes, i realise the maths (and doing questions) is the most important part - and where i'm most likely to fail in motivation, but i'd like to give it a try. "Mathematical Methods for Physics and Engineering" apparently has many questions and there is also a solution book you can buy with full working. the Schaum's series do look temptingly cheap :p: i might buy a few if i get anywhere with this to supplement my other books.

    "Mathematical Methods for Physics and Engineering" is the only expensive book here. TBH i'm not too fussed on spending a bit of money - and if it truly lasts me the next 3 or 4 years it'll be worth the value of no hassle trying to 'borrow' it, especially when i'm not even at uni yet.
    Well I'd just make sure it's what you want first (use look inside function at amazon or have a browse in a bookshop). I've bought too many textbooks that looked like they might be great but that I never really got anything out of.
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    (Original post by KwungSun)
    Well I'd just make sure it's what you want first (use look inside function at amazon or have a browse in a bookshop). I've bought too many textbooks that looked like they might be great but that I never really got anything out of.
    Noted. I've used the look inside and it looks very good, but it's difficult to tell just from this.

    I'd like to have a proper look but I doubt i'd find this book in any typical bookstore. Then there's getting it back - from reviews and people's comments on here the size of the thing is growing in my mind by the second so that it now has the dimensions of a bus and the density of a neutron star :p:
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    The biggest problem you will face, as stated, is learning the large amount of Mathematics necessary to understand GR. It is underpinned by a lot of Maths, most very non-trivial, and learning that Maths well enough to be able to do GR is going to be the most time consuming part.

    To those who've suggested learning Linear Algebra, which bits in particular? I've just finished a 20 credit module in linear algebra, I got 71% but I hated the stuff on vector spaces and linear transformations, but I have a feeling that's exactly the sort of stuff that GR will be based on?
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    (Original post by schrodinger's cat)
    Noted. I've used the look inside and it looks very good, but it's difficult to tell just from this.

    I'd like to have a proper look but I doubt i'd find this book in any typical bookstore. Then there's getting it back - from reviews and people's comments on here the size of the thing is growing in my mind by the second so that it now has the dimensions of a bus and the density of a neatron star :p:
    Completely agreed with KwungSun, go to your local library, get the book out, and try and work from it. Then you will learn whether or not it's a good purchase. They sell that book at my University bookshop, I too liked the look of it but reserved buying it due to lack of funds, so during exam revision I got out of the library and found it not to my liking. It stayed on the shelf whilst Thomas Calculus, "guide 2 analysis" and schaums guide to linear algebra were scrawled across my desk. I'm glad I didn't buy it now. It's not especially thorough and you will be left wondering at several points how it goes from one step to another. A book that's fallen victim to the classic quantity over quality, in my eyes.
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    (Original post by Barny)
    The biggest problem you will face, as stated, is learning the large amount of Mathematics necessary to understand GR. It is underpinned by a lot of Maths, most very non-trivial, and learning that Maths well enough to be able to do GR is going to be the most time consuming part.

    To those who've suggested learning Linear Algebra, which bits in particular? I've just finished a 20 credit module in linear algebra, I got 71% but I hated the stuff on vector spaces and linear transformations, but I have a feeling that's exactly the sort of stuff that GR will be based on?
    Mappings. That and some vector space concepts which are just extended to multilinear structures, and Tensors. Go with Bishop/Goldberg, or Wasserman.
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    (Original post by Symbioticenigma)
    Mappings. That and some vector space concepts which are just extended to multilinear structures, and Tensors. Go with Bishop/Goldberg, or Wasserman.
    Yes Tensor mathmatics is so heavily involved you really need to be able use them easily.
    I guess its a prerequiresite of differential geometry. But I found diff geo so damned hard because I never learnt Tensor algebra before diving straight in.
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    Edit: Sorry, I confused the OP's post and the one after it so I thought he was a between 2nd-and-3rd year. Tbh, I think you will struggle if you haven't done any maths beyond A-Level and basically what Cexy said. But I'll leave what I wrote in case it's useful to someone.

    I'm a bit late to the party but I hope what I say will be useful anyway.

    I just finished my 4th year and I did the general relativity course in the physics department (this is different from the general relativity course in the maths department). I'm in no way a GR expert but I think the level of knowledge I've got is probably roughly what you're aiming for (if I read up on it again). I learnt all the differential geometry I needed during the course so I don't think it's necessary to be an expert differential geometer to learn GR. Learning differential geometry as a subject by itself is often a bit dry anyway because all the textbooks are written by mathmos. I'd advise being happy with 4-vector notation in special relativity, if you aren't already. I think that's practically all the relevant preparation I had before starting my course.

    A lot of GR textbooks develop the geometry as they go along. I would advise that you somehow try and look at any books before you buy them or preferably just borrow them from a library. 'Gravitation' by Misner, Thorne and Wheeler (RIP) is ****ing giant (and expensive) but is often recommended. They have separate boxes of maths-y stuff and optional extra maths-y stuff (but it's generally interesting extra stuff). A guy called Sean Carroll has a book called Spacetime and Geometry (or something like that) which I've heard is good but more importantly, the book was developed from some lecture notes which are freely available on the internet, so you could try looking through them as a starting point.
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    Thanks Supermerp.

    Obviously, as has been said, i am a long way away from learning GR, so at the moment i am trying to learn some of the maths required, but i'll keep an eye out for those books if i get far enough any time soon. The link also looks good, so i've bookmarked it for the future.
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    GR has a large portion of differential geometry and equations. As far as I reached in GR by self-teaching, what you need to know is a lot of geometry, such as the abstract index notations, the concept of contra-, covariance and curvilinear coordinates, connections, metric, different derivatives, etc.
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    (Original post by agostino981)
    GR has a large portion of differential geometry and equations. As far as I reached in GR by self-teaching, what you need to know is a lot of geometry, such as the abstract index notations, the concept of contra-, covariance and curvilinear coordinates, connections, metric, different derivatives, etc.
    Little bit of thread necromancy
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    (Original post by schrodinger's cat)
    I've just finished my A-Levels so my vector knowledge streches only as far as FP3 (dot/cross products, intersection of planes etc) and (i think) i'm fairly competant at Special Relativity, though this may only be because certain mathematics has been ommitted from books i have read. I am confident with Lorentz transformations, etc.
    Have you encountered Lorentz transformations that look like this:



    or just the components written out separately?

    To start reading an intro to GR book you need linear algebra and multivariate calculus. You don't need to know much about tensors because most books assume you do not have a background in tensor calculus, and teach this from scratch. (though, you may find it frustrating taht you don't encounter much physics for weeks while you learn this!)

    I guess i'm just crazy trying to learn this, it's done in fourth year for a reason. I just started reading the Feynman's Lectures chapter on space-time and i wondered whether with a whole summer free, it would be possible?
    Yeah, however the main benefit is you would be cramming a lot of maths you will need in the 1st and 2nd year. I think GR could actually be taught 2nd term of 2nd year if people really wanted, but it is actually rarely used in physics research because the situations where its effects become important are so extreme.

    edit: GR lecture course from Stanford available on youtube - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hbmf0bB38h0
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    (Original post by Observatory)
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    This thread is 4 years old
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    (Original post by suneilr)
    This thread is 4 years old
    Wasn't me who dunnit. Hopefully it will be interesting to anyone else who comes along anyway
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    (Original post by Observatory)
    Have you encountered Lorentz transformations that look like this:



    or just the components written out separately?
    I'd thought it is a 4x4 matrix



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