Reviews elsewhere on the web:
European Journal of Physics
Sarfatti's On-Line Guide

Richard Feynman

Feynman Lectures on Gravitation

Discussions on the lack of a full theory of quantum gravity generally dwell on the incompatibility between quantum theory and general relativity. In his Lectures on Gravitation Richard Feynman takes a different approach. He starts off by ignoring GR and trying to quantize the gravitational field, and then shows that his results match up with the geometrical theory of GR. The book benefits from Feynman's unique presentation - he explains the 'why' of choices made in physics and explores possible alternatives. It will be of particular interest to those readers wishing to get a background to the current arguments about theories of quantum gravity.

Note that this book is based on a course given for postdoctoral researchers, and is at a much higher level than Feynman's other Lectures. The first part (lectures 1 - 6) consists of some pretty technical quantum field theory, showing why the gravition has to be a spin 2 particle, and how this differs from other quantum fields. The second part (7 - 10) deals with Einstein's equations for general relativity. The last part (11 - 16) is somewhat simpler, looking at some of the applications of these equations. Unfortunately this part has largely been superceded, as it came just before the 'golden age' of general relativity.

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Paperback 272 pages  
ISBN: 0813340381
Salesrank: 268654
Weight:1.08 lbs
Published: 2002 Westview Press
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Paperback 230 pages  
ISBN: 0140284508
Salesrank: 1723773
Weight:0.88 lbs
Published: 1999 Penguin
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Paperback 272 pages  
ISBN: 0813340381
Salesrank: 716131
Weight:1.08 lbs
Published: 2002 Westview Press
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Product Description
The Feynman Lectures on Gravitation are based on notes prepared during a course on gravitational physics that Richard Feynman taught at Caltech during the 1962-63 academic year. For several years prior to these lectures, Feynman thought long and hard about the fundamental problems in gravitational physics, yet he published very little. These lectures represent a useful record of his viewpoints and some of his insights into gravity and its application to cosmology, superstars, wormholes, and gravitational waves at that particular time. The lectures also contain a number of fascinating digressions and asides on the foundations of physics and other issues.Characteristically, Feynman took an untraditional non-geometric approach to gravitation and general relativity based on the underlying quantum aspects of gravity. Hence, these lectures contain a unique pedagogical account of the development of Einstein's general theory of relativity as the inevitable result of the demand for a self-consistent theory of a massless spin-2 field (the graviton) coupled to the energy-momentum tensor of matter. This approach also demonstrates the intimate and fundamental connection between gauge invariance and the principle of equivalence.