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Relativity (Routledge Classics) (Routledge…

Relativity (Routledge Classics) (Routledge Classics) (original 1916; edition 2001)

by Albert Einstein

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2,918161,972 (3.96)32
Title:Relativity (Routledge Classics) (Routledge Classics)
Authors:Albert Einstein
Info:Routledge (2001), Edition: 2, Paperback, 176 pages
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Relativity: The Special and General Theory by Albert Einstein (1916)


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Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
"A Popular Exposition by Albert Einstein, Late Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey."
  iwb | May 17, 2017 |
Through the awesome mind of Albert ( )
  dendisuhubdy | Mar 22, 2016 |
Came for the technical exposition, stayed for the unexpected simplicity, and then Appendix V dropped a bomb on everything. Great, quick read. ( )
  trilliams | May 30, 2015 |
Very easy to understand. ( )
  JVioland | Jul 14, 2014 |
The rating doesn't reflect the importance or quality of thinking of this book. It's relative... and subjective. It reflects rather how much I understood and enjoyed it, and at that is overated, although I gave it as high as I did because I'm glad I tried and might come back to it. In Einstein's preface to the 1916 book he said he wrote it for the general educated reader--college graduates--even though it would require "a fair amount of patience and force of will on the part of the reader." The front cover of my edition calls it "a clear explanation that anyone can understand." I am a college graduate (and beyond). I don't think I'm stupid. And the equations that are in the book (and the book is littered with them) don't even require college mathematics. We're not talking calculus here--just algebraic equations. So, did I understand the entire book given "patience" and "force of will." No. Maybe I didn't have enough of both. It's a very short book, only 157 pages--but by God, it's not an easy one. Did I understand most of it? No. Some of it. Well, yes. But I suspect my American education in universities in the 1990s isn't the equivalent of German college graduates in 1916. It's not the mathematics--it's the physics. In my American high school biology and chemistry was required. Physics wasn't even offered. To graduate college I had to take some science courses--but the requirement could be fulfilled by "soft" sciences such as biology and anthropology. I have a friend that protests that there's a difference between "verbal" and "mathematical" gifts and people like us shouldn't be forced to take those hard, meanie sciences. I'm not convinced that on the contrary we haven't been short changed. I'd love to know if someone who took at least one course on physics had a different experience with this book.

So, did I learn anything by tackling this? I was able to squeeze out some knowledge after banging my head repeatedly on my desk reading (and rereading) such chapters as "The Principle of Relativity." Einstein does try to illustrate some of the ideas by using everyday examples such as a moving train on an embankment, pans on a stove and a man tethered to a chest. I learned:

1) Special relativity deals with electromagnetic forces; General Relativity deals with gravity.
2) Given the speed of light is a constant, the addition of velocities of moving objects according to classical mechanics fails because it would indicate that the speed of light would be diminished by the velocity of an object. (I think.)
3) Space and time are not absolute in position but relative to the observer; they are not independent of each other but influenced by the distribution of matter (gravity).
4) The theory of general relativity unites the principles of the conservation of mass and of energy.
5) Since college my brain has turned to mush. Maybe I should try to get through a physics textbook? Probably not... (See above on lack of patience and force of will.)

I got this book because Einstein's The Meaning of Relativity was on a list of 100 Significant books. I've since learned that what I bought (and am reviewing here) isn't the same book. Relativity was originally published in German in 1916. The Meaning of Relativity was based on a series of lectures given at Princeton University in 1921. I'm not sanguine I'd do any better with that book given a review quoted from Physics Today says it's "intended for one who has already gone through a standard text and digested the mechanics of tensor theory and the physical basis of relativity." Bottom line, unless you're willing to do some homework to ground yourself in physics you're better off reading more...well dumbed down books by the likes of Asimov, Sagan or Hawking. Incidentally I also recently read Darwin's Origin of Species. That book I found easy to comprehend. Oh well. ( )
1 vote LisaMaria_C | May 18, 2012 |
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Albert Einsteinprimary authorall editionscalculated
Lawson, Robert W.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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In your schooldays most of you who read this book made acquaintances with the noble building of Euclid's geometry, and you remember—perhaps with more respect than love—the magnificent structure on the lofty staircase of which you were chased about for uncounted hours by conscientious teachers.
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Certamente un'esposizione della teoria della relatività, recante il nome di Einstein, basterebbe da sola 'a far libro', a garantire, anzi, un libro eccezionale per densità di idee, rigore concettuale e chiarezza di linguaggio anche al lettore meno esperto. Le esigenze critiche di un pubblico non più alle prime armi (la nascita della relatività risale al 1905, e gli ultimi anni visto un netto progresso della letteratura divulgativa ed epistomologica) non debbono tuttavia essere ignorate. E' la comprensione della - chiamamola così - 'relatività della relatività' che vuol essere ora perseguita: cioè di quelle premesse della teoria che sono inscritte nella precedente storia della scienza e della filosofia, e che ne costituiscono dunque sia la solida base che la condizione e il limite di validità. Il compito di introdurre il lettore a tale nuova dimensione è stata affidato dal curatore alle pagine di questi grandi, Descartes a Newton a Reimann a Maxwell, che fondarono la scienza fisico-matematica classica e ne avviarono l'evoluzione in senso relativo.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0517884410, Paperback)

How better to learn the Special Theory of Relativity and the General Theory of Relativity than directly from their creator, Albert Einstein himself? In Relativity: The Special and the General Theory, Einstein describes the theories that made him famous, illuminating his case with numerous examples and a smattering of math (nothing more complex than high-school algebra). Einstein's book is not casual reading, but for those who appreciate his work without diving into the arcana of theoretical physics, Relativity will prove a stimulating read.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:40 -0400)

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Einstein presents his views on the special and general theory of relativity and the universe as a whole.

(summary from another edition)

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