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Reviews elsewhere on the web:
Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (pdf)
American Astronomical Society (pdf)

R C Tolman

Relativity, thermodynamics and cosmology

In the early 1930's general relativity was a fairly new subject, and must have seemed like the domain of just a few. With its clear presentation of the subject Relativity, thermodynamics and cosmology by Richard C Tolman would have made the field accessible to a much larger number of students. At the time it was written the expansion of the universe had just been discovered. A closed universe was the favoured model, but Tolman warns against choices based on wishful thinking. This book will provide a valuable resource for those interested in the development of the early stages of today's cosmology.

But I feel that the book isn't just of historical interest. Tolman's approach is to take each of mechanics (including continuous media), electrodynamics, and thermodynamics and show how to derive the special relativistic form of the equations. For each case he demonstrates how these equations may be transformed into general relativistic versions, and finally gives a compact, tensorial form of the equation. More modern treatments of general relativity are more likely to focus on particular areas of the subject, rather than giving this wider treatment of the basics, and I think that the book might have some use even to today's students of GR.

Amazon.com info
Paperback 528 pages  
ISBN: 0486653838
Salesrank: 1108105
Published: 2011 Dover Publications
Amazon price $17.96
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Amazon.co.uk info
Paperback 528 pages  
ISBN: 0486653838
Salesrank: 792954
Weight:1.2 lbs
Published: 2003 Dover Publications Inc.
Amazon price £13.99
Marketplace:New from £12.40:Used from £9.19
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Amazon.ca info
Paperback 528 pages  
ISBN: 0486653838
Salesrank: 536871
Weight:1.2 lbs
Published: 2011 Dover Publications
Amazon price CDN$ 25.06
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 24.90:Used from CDN$ 14.81
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Product Description
This landmark study by a distinguished physicist develops three important themes: a coherent and inclusive account of Einstein’s theory of relativity; the extension of thermodynamics to special and general relativity; and the applications of relativistic mechanics and relativistic thermodynamics in the construction and interpretation of cosmological models.