Feynman Lectures on Gravitation

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Richard Phillips Feynman, Fernando B. Morinigo, William Wagner, Brian Hatfield
Westview Press, May 30, 2002 - Science - 232 pages
2 Reviews
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.
 

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Contents

Lecture 1
1
Lecture 2
17
Lecture 3
29
and the Sign of a Field
47
Lecture 5
63
Lecture 6
77
Lecture 7
89
Lecture 8
107
Lecture 11
151
Lecture 12
163
Lecture 13
177
Lecture 14
189
Lecture 15
199
Lecture 16
207
Bibliography
221
Index
229

Lecture 9
123
Lecture 10
135

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Page 14 - ... world, the rest of the world is at the same time observing us, and that often we agree on what we see in each other. Does this then mean that my observations become real only when I observe an observer observing something as it happens? This is a horrible viewpoint. Do you seriously entertain the thought that without the observer there is no reality? Which observer? Any observer? Is a fly an observer? Is a star an observer? Was there no reality in the universe before 109 BC when life began?
Page xxvi - ... seriously discussed that I get into arguments outside the formal sessions (say, at lunch) whenever anyone asks me a question or starts to tell me about his "work." The "work" is always: (1) completely un-understandable, (2) vague and indefinite, (3) something correct that is obvious and self-evident, but worked out by a long and difficult analysis, and presented as an important discovery, or (4) a claim based on the stupidity of the author that some obvious and correct fact, accepted and checked...
Page xxvii - activity in the field" these days, but this "activity" is mainly in showing that the previous "activity" of somebody else resulted in an error or in nothing useful or in something promising. It is like a lot of worms trying to get out of a bottle by crawling all over each other. It is not that the subject is hard; it is that the good men are occupied elsewhere. Remind me not to come to any more gravity conferences!
Page xxvi - I am not getting anything out of the meeting. I am learning nothing. Because there are no experiments this field is not an active one, so few of the best men are doing work in it.
Page 224 - Experimental Gravitation: Proceedings of the International School of Physics "Enrico Fermi,
Page xxvii - ... worked out by a long and difficult analysis, and presented as an important discovery, or (4) a claim based on the stupidity of the author that some obvious and correct fact, accepted and checked for years, is, in fact, false (these are the worst: no argument will convince the idiot), (5) an attempt to do something probably impossible, but certainly of no utility, which, it is finally revealed at the end, fails (dessert arrives and is eaten), or (6) just plain wrong. There is a great deal of "activity...
Page 225 - Jennison, RC and Das Gupta, MK (1953). Fine structure of the extra-terrestrial radio source Cygnus 1, Nature, 172, 996-997.
Page 34 - B polynomials in w' of degree not so high as F : and then use G = 0 to make the coefficients of the various powers of w' polynomials in w of degree not so high as G. When this transformation is made, then r is the sum of two terms, each of which is the product of two polynomials in w and w ; hence r is itself a polynomial in w and w'.
Page 63 - Finally, the theory of the precession of the perihelion of the orbit of the planet Mercury...
Page 12 - The right hand side includes all that cannot be described so far in the Unified Field Theory, of course, not for a fleeting moment, have I had any doubt that such a formulation is just a temporary answer, undertaken to give General Relativity some closed expression.

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About the author (2002)

Richard P. Feynman was raised in Far Rockaway, New York, and received his Ph.D. from Princeton. He held professorships at both Cornell and the California Institute of Technology. In 1965 he received the Nobel Prize for his work on quantum electrodynamics. He died in 1988. The late Richard P. Feynman was Richard Chace Tolman Professor of Theoretical Physics at the California Institute of Technology. Feynman made many fundamental contributions to physics, particularly to the fields of quantum electrodynamics, quantum field theory, and particle physics. He is best known for the development of Feynman diagrams and path integrals. Feynman shared the Nobel prize in physics in 1965 for his work on quantum electrodynamics. The late Richard P. Feynman was Richard Chace Tolman Professor of Theoretical Physics at the California Institute of Technology. Feynman made many fundamental contributions to physics, particularly to the fields of quantum electrodynamics, quantum field theory, and particle physics. He is best known for the development of Feynman diagrams and path integrals. Feynman shared the Nobel prize in physics in 1965 for his work on quantum electrodynamics. Brian Hatfield is co-founder and senior research physicist at AMP Research in Lexington, Massachusetts. He has help positions at the University of California, the University of Texas, and Harvard University. He received a Ph.D. in physics from Caltech. David Pines is research professor of physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has made pioneering contributions to an understanding of many-body problems in condensed matter and nuclear physics, and to theoretical astrophysics. Editor of Perseus’ Frontiers in Physics series and former editor of American Physical Society’s Reviews of Modern Physics, Dr. Pines is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, a foreign member of the USSR Academy of Sciences, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Dr. Pines has received a number of awards, including the Eugene Feenberg Memorial Medal for Contributions to Many-Body Theory; the P.A.M. Dirac Silver Medal for the Advancement of Theoretical Physics; and the Friemann Prize in Condensed Matter Physics. David Pines is research professor of physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has made pioneering contributions to an understanding of many-body problems in condensed matter and nuclear physics, and to theoretical astrophysics. Editor of Perseus’ Frontiers in Physics series and former editor of American Physical Society’s Reviews of Modern Physics, Dr. Pines is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, a foreign member of the USSR Academy of Sciences, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Dr. Pines has received a number of awards, including the Eugene Feenberg Memorial Medal for Contributions to Many-Body Theory; the P.A.M. Dirac Silver Medal for the Advancement of Theoretical Physics; and the Friemann Prize in Condensed Matter Physics. David Pines is research professor of physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has made pioneering contributions to an understanding of many-body problems in condensed matter and nuclear physics, and to theoretical astrophysics. Editor of Perseus’ Frontiers in Physics series and former editor of American Physical Society’s Reviews of Modern Physics, Dr. Pines is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, a foreign member of the USSR Academy of Sciences, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Dr. Pines has received a number of awards, including the Eugene Feenberg Memorial Medal for Contributions to Many-Body Theory; the P.A.M. Dirac Silver Medal for the Advancement of Theoretical Physics; and the Friemann Prize in Condensed Matter Physics.

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