# What are good books for special relativity?

I read Introduction to special relativity by Robert Resnick. It is a beautiful book as an introduction. I got insights and intuition in special relativity. I want to learn special relativity at a more deeper level. Please recommend some books/research papers for special relativity?

• Related: physics.stackexchange.com/q/95609/2451 and links therein. – Qmechanic Apr 11 '17 at 8:41
• I agree that Resnick's book is beautiful. I hope it's been updated since my 1968 edition, so that its beauty is no longer marred by the ugly, confusing and totally unnecessary relativistic mass. – Philip Wood Aug 16 at 18:17

"The Meaning of Relativity" - A.Einstein. This will help you make the connection between SR and GR - tensor notations, etc - since deeper then special relativity is general relativity, but I suppose you wanted to say "more general appliance", "arbitrary directions", etc.

Feynman lecture - volume 2 - Feynman Lectures (there is also volume 1 [and 3] - as good as 2nd)

Relativity - MIT Course 8.033 (very good course, treating more advanced topics too and cosmology/BigBang stuff)

Special Relativity - Video Lectures - L. Susskind (and if you want more you could always get to see his GR lectures; if that won't be enough you can get to see his String/M-theory lectures; if that won't be enough you can get his ER=EPR lectures)

Classical Electrodynamics - Robert G. Brown (Duke University Physics Department) - I found this useful on several occasions (ex: when dealing with electromagnetic tensor transformations)

Also when dealing with arbitrary directions this derivation is quite nice.

• Already read Feynman lectures all volumes (best for starting any field). Thank you for video lectures but I am really interested in reading research papers. – Nukul Parmar Apr 11 '17 at 18:20

"Special Relativity: An Introduction with 200 Problems and Solutions" by Michael Tsamparlis covers a lot of stuff and goes in depth.

It can also be used as a "SR cookbook", because if you need some SR formula, you will probably find it there. If not, then you probably won't find it easily in some other SR textbook.

• This is my favorite book on SR. It's EXTREMELY thorough. – Ken Wang Aug 16 '19 at 6:13
• I dearly want to love this book; it covers exactly what I’m looking for, and available as watermarked .pdf is a big draw. But it is riddled with errors. Some just slow my reading, but there are entire sections (e.g. Optical Images in SR) that I just can’t make sense of at all. owing mostly to mistakenly primed/unprimed labels—obviously pretty important for a book on relativity! (Not sure if printed edition has same issues) – Bob Arthur Feb 11 at 18:31

There is an old book by Max Born, called Einstein's Theory of Relativity which explains the Special Relativity in great detail without any advanced mathematics and a little bit of General Relativity.

It is suitable for those who has not yet started to physics degree or will not, but would like to understand the theory in a deeper and mathematical manner. Then one can go for a more advanced textbooks by learning real calculus and vector algebra/calculus and so forth.

My favourite books on special relativity, both advanced and with a strong geometric flavour, are:

É. Gourgoulhon, Special Relativity in General Frames: From Particles to Astrophysics, Springer, 2013.

G. L. Naber, The geometry of Minkowski spacetime, Springer, 2010.

They both require a non-basic knowledge of linear algebra.

• Please write substantial answers that detail the style, content, and prerequisites of the book, paper or other resource. Explain the nature of the resource so that readers can decide which one is best suited for them rather than relying on the opinions of others. Answers containing only a reference to a book or paper will be removed! – AccidentalFourierTransform Aug 17 '17 at 14:54
• @AccidentalFourierTransform I hardly see any difference in the level of details of this answer and those of the only one you didn't propose for removal. Anyway when I'll be back from vacation I'll expand this answer if it's still here. – Massimo Ortolano Aug 17 '17 at 15:11
• I support Massimo here. – timur Oct 18 '19 at 14:13

Is there a conspiracy not to mention Spacetime Physics by Taylor and Wheeler? Perhaps it is too elementary (and I have to admit that I find its style irritating in places) but it emphasises what really matters: the 4-dimensionality of spacetime and 4-vectors, making time dilation, length contraction, the relativistic formulae for momentum and energy almost obvious consequences. Required reading, I'd say, before passing on to weightier treatises.

The best book on special relativity that I have read is by A. P. French and has the title "Special Relativity (M.I.T. Introductory Physics)". Everything is very carefully and clearly derived and a lot of advanced topics are also included.

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Dick & Jane and Mary by Richard Alan. I'm the author of the above book. I did not write the book for monetary gain. I priced it at less than a dollar which is the minimum Amazon allowed. I wrote the book because I was not satisfied other books on the subject. My book tells the story of Einstein's theory of relativity in terms of mathematical derivations. In the last hundred years countless other books and papers have been written to tell the same story, but none of them tell it like my book. If you truly want to understand the logic and the mathematics of relativity, then this is the book for you. Every single step in the derivation employs nothing but simple algebra. Every step is accompanied with a clear narrative explanation. And, this book does not omit Poincare's influence on Einstein's theory like so many other books do. Everything is discussed, the good, the bad, and the ugly. My book is available on Amazon in a Kindle format. Most people will prefer reading it using the Kindle App on a desktop computer. Enjoy!

Here are my favorites:

R. Geroch, General Relativity from A to B.
Develops spacetime diagrams and radar measurements for a nonscience-major course at the University of Chicago. On a quick skim, it may seem verbose... but it is quite deep in terms of the foundations of relativity. Despite the title, there is a lot of special relativity developed.

R. Geroch, General Relativity (1972 Lecture Notes). (http://www.minkowskiinstitute.org/mip/books/geroch-gr.html)
Special relativity is developed using spacetime diagrams, geometrical methods, and tensorial methods as much as possible. The transition to General Relativity is developed. The notes are for a graduate level course in relativity at U. Chicago. (R. Wald, who wrote General Relativity, acknowledges some influence by Geroch.)

E.F. Taylor & J.A. Wheeler, Spacetime Physics (1st edition, with worked solutions).
( http://www.eftaylor.com/special.html )
Develops spacetime diagrams and makes occasional use of rapidities (which were removed in the 2nd edition). The worked problems and solutions are quite valuable. (The 2nd edition doesn't have these solution.)

H. Bondi, Relativity and Common Sense.
Develops spacetime diagrams and radar measurements, using the $$k$$-calculus. (Secretly, the $$k$$ is the Doppler factor, which is an eigenvalue of the Lorentz Transformation.) The equations obtained are simpler and arguably more physical than the standard formulas. These methods were used in a series of BBC broadcasts to teach relativity to a general audience.

T.A. Moore, Six Ideas that Shaped Physics Unit R
( http://www.physics.pomona.edu/sixideas/ )
One of six units of a calculus-based introductory physics sequence. Spacetime diagrams and 4-vectors are developed, which is unique for an introductory physics textbook.