Feynman Lectures on Gravitation


Richard Feynman; Fernando Morinigo; William Wagner, Edited by Brian Hatfield; David Pines

First Edition • June 1, 2002 • 272 pages


Print ISBN: 9780813340388 • $52.00 USD$52.50 CAN

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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.


Richard P. Feynman was Richard Chace Tolman Professor of Theoretical Physics at the California Institute of Technology. He was awarded the 1965 Nobel Prize for his work on the development of quantum field theory. He was also one of the most famous and beloved figures of the twentieth century, both in physics and as a public intellectual.

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