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Book review

Author(s) Hu, B.L. (ed.)
Jacobson, T.A. (ed.)
Vol. II, Papers in honor of Dieter Brill
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Year of publication 1993
Reviewed by J. Kowalski-Glikman

What is really special about this two volume collection is the publication speed: the Symposium took place at the end of May, and I had these volumes on my desk already in August. This is even better than letter-like journals!

The proceedings contains papers presented at the Symposium held at the University of Maryland to celebrate the sixtieth birthday of two outstanding specialists in general relativity theory, Professors Dieter Brill and Charles Misner. The papers cover almost the whole of modern theory of gravity including classical and quantum gravity and cosmology, mathematical questions related to the initial value problem, canonical formulation, topology and geometry of space-time, black hole physics and astrophysics. The volumes starts with the papers describing achievements and major results of Dieter Brill and Charles Misner and end with their, respective, curriculum vitae and list of publications. These are, however, written by others and there are no contributions of Brill and Misner of the 'my life as a scientist' kind, and this is the first point where I found myself disappointed.

The second problem I have with these volumes are the contributions themselves. As in many proceedings of this kind, the authors have to choose between the space limitation, which makes it impossible to review the subject thoroughly, and the fact that most of the times the contributions do not really present the most fresh results, as these are usually sent to journals, or, recently, computer bulletin boards. What we have, is therefore something in between, which, to be fair, is in many cases quite interesting. However, my real worry is that if you are an expert in a particular field, you could not learn much, and if you are not, you could not understand much.

Nevertheless, I am completely sure that any specialists or research student would love to have this book on his or her desk, the only problem is that I (and probably many others) would think twice before spending 75 pounds on it. However, if your general relativity group (in a broad sense) is reasonably large, I certainly would recommend to try to convince you librarian to purchase it.