© 2018

Introduction to General Relativity

A Course for Undergraduate Students of Physics


  • Offers an introduction for students of theoretical physics

  • Presents the calculations step by step, as in class

  • Covers recent advances in gravitational wave astronomy

  • Includes numerous examples and problems

  • Examines historical developments, which show how physics has advanced over time, both experimentally and theoretically


Part of the Undergraduate Lecture Notes in Physics book series (ULNP)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvi
  2. Cosimo Bambi
    Pages 1-27
  3. Cosimo Bambi
    Pages 29-45
  4. Cosimo Bambi
    Pages 47-66
  5. Cosimo Bambi
    Pages 67-84
  6. Cosimo Bambi
    Pages 85-105
  7. Cosimo Bambi
    Pages 107-122
  8. Cosimo Bambi
    Pages 123-139
  9. Cosimo Bambi
    Pages 141-161
  10. Cosimo Bambi
    Pages 163-178
  11. Cosimo Bambi
    Pages 179-204
  12. Cosimo Bambi
    Pages 205-221
  13. Cosimo Bambi
    Pages 223-255
  14. Cosimo Bambi
    Pages 257-265
  15. Back Matter
    Pages 267-335

About this book


Following the approach of Lev Landau and Evgenii Lifshitz, this book introduces the theory of special and general relativity with the Lagrangian formalism and the principle of least action. This method allows the complete theory to be constructed starting from a small number of assumptions, and is the most natural approach in modern theoretical physics. The book begins by reviewing Newtonian mechanics and Newtonian gravity with the Lagrangian formalism and the principle of least action, and then moves to special and general relativity. Most calculations are presented step by step, as is done on the board in class. The book covers recent advances in gravitational wave astronomy and provides a general overview of current lines of research in gravity. It also includes numerous examples and problems in each chapter.


Textbook special relativity Textbook general relativity Einstein’s gravity Schwarzschild solution Tests of general relativity Black holes Cosmological models Gravitational waves Undergraduate relativity textbook gravitational wave astronomy Least Action Principle Lagrangian formalism

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhysicsFudan UniversityShanghaiChina

About the authors

Cosimo Bambi is Xie Xide Junior Chair Professor at the Department of Physics at Fudan University (Shanghai, China) and a Humboldt Fellow at Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen (Tübingen, Germany). He received his PhD from Ferrara University (Italy) in 2007, and was a postdoc at Wayne State University (Michigan), IPMU at The University of Tokyo (Japan), and at LMU Munich (Germany). He moved to Fudan University at the end of 2012 under the Thousand Young Talents Program. In 2016, he was awarded with a JSPS fellowship to visit Japan. In 2018, he received the Xu Guangqi Award (for the best Italian researcher in China). He regularly serves as referee for journals like PRL, ApJ, JHEP, JCAP, etc. and as proposal reviewer for the Chang Jiang Scholars Program (China), Czech Science Foundation (Czech Republic), German Research Foundation (Germany), and National Research Foundation (South Africa). His research interests cover several areas in gravity, cosmology, and high-energy astrophysics. He has published more than 100 papers on refereed journals as first or corresponding author, has over 3,000 citations, and his h-index is 34. He has authored two books, and edited one volume (in ASSL) with Springer.

Bibliographic information