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Introduction to 2-spinors in general relativity. (English) Zbl 1021.83001
River Edge, NJ: World Scientific. xii, 191 p. $ 48.00; £33.00 (2003).

This is a text-book on the spinors and 2-spinors within general relativity theory. For pedagogic reasons, the author did not apply the most general approach; e.g., he restricts himself to three space- and one time-dimension even in those circumstances, in which the statements easily generalize to the case of an arbitrary number of spatial directions.

Chapter 1 deals with an unusual view to the Minkowski space-time of special relativity theory: 0’Donnell uses the stereographic projection. In the usual terminology one could say: he applies ideas from projective geometry. This is the easiest way to introduce spinors for special relativity.

With this preparation, the more abstract chapter 2 on the spinor algebra: representation of vectors, including the electromagnetic field, and the Petrov classification of the Weyl tensor in spinor form, got a readable form.

Chapter 3, Spinor Analysis, introduces covariant derivatives, it includes the Geroch-Held-Penrose formalism and the Goldberg-Sachs theorem; and the final chapter 4 deals with the Lanczos spinor.

The appendix presents a 50-pages introduction to general relativity theory; therefore, the book is good reading also for students not being acquainted with that theory. Bibliography and index close this well-written monograph.

MSC:
83-01Textbooks (relativity)
83C60Spinor and twistor methods in general retativity; Newman-Penrose formalism
83A05Special relativity