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Einstein For Dummies [Kindle Edition]

Carlos I. Calle
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Genius demystified, the Dummies way!

In 1905, Albert Einstein revolutionized modern physics with his theory of relativity. He went on to become a twentieth-century icon-a man whose name and face are synonymous with "genius." Now, at last, ordinary readers can explore Einstein's life and work in this new For Dummies guide. Physicist Carlos Calle chronicles Einstein's career and explains his work-including the theories of special and general relativity-in language that anyone can understand. He shows how Einstein's discoveries affected everything from the development of the atom bomb to the theory of quantum mechanics. He sheds light on Einstein's personal life and beliefs, including his views on religion and politics. And he shows how Einstein's work continues to affect our world today, from nuclear power to space travel to artificial intelligence.

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Understand his theories of special and general relativity

The genius of Einstein demystified the Dummies Way!

Eager to understand Einstein? This fun, accessible guide clearly explains his amazing theories and the tremendous impact of his discoveries on contemporary life and science. You get a glimpse into Einstein's personal life and beliefs, as well as an overview of the main events that shaped his ideas and laid the groundwork for his accomplishments.


  • Einstein's thoughts and motivations
  • The scientists who influenced his work
  • His connection to the nuclear bomb
  • Einstein's greatest blunder

About the Author

Carlos I. Calle, PhD, is a NASA senior research scientist with a doctorate in physics and extensive professional experience in Einstein's theories.

Product Details

  • File Size: 8585 KB
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Publisher: For Dummies; 1 edition (March 16, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #303,168 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars very well written, though still challenging October 30, 2005
I would give this book five stars except for one thing. I have a masters degree in social work. While I enjoyed the book immensely, I wouldn't describe it as a true "dummy's" guide. For some of the concepts, I got the gist of what was being said but not a clear understanding.

Still, it's probably one of the most readable introductions to Einstein and to physics available. One of the more remarkable and appreciated features is that the book is about so much more than Einstein. There is a real effort to help you understand the context in which Einstein operated: the ideas that came before him, which influenced him and challenged him, and the ideas that came after him, which were influenced by his work. Into all this, interesting details of Einstein's life are effectively woven.

I strongly recommend this book to anyone who wants to get a sense of what physics is about, and of Einstein's place in that field--without getting lost in mathematical formulas. So much is touched on: from the tiny world of atoms to the immense universe of galaxies.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably the best physics book I have read October 23, 2005
This is the best physics book I have read. Mr Calle does a superb job in explaining subjects which are extremely difficult to understand if you use a standard text book. Reading this book myself gave me a clear understanding of quantum physics and relativity. I would really recommend this book to everyone who wants to start studying science before attending the real classes. The book does not have any equations but simplifies everything by figures and thought experiments. As I am writing this review I'm about to graduate with a masters degree in engineering and I truly regret that I didn't know about this book five years ago.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By S. Hua
This is the book to read if you want to understand relativity but don't know mathematics. As a biologist, I read 6 chapters in one night. Dr. Calle's analogy made use of my commonsense and everyday experience to the best. From the history and philosophy of physics described in the book, I figured out what theoretical physics is and how physicists do it. I still have questions not answered by the book, but I finished the book and want another one by the same author.

I wish all the science professors have Dr. Calle's communication skills and interest in teaching.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very good basic and elementary treatment - 4.5 stars August 30, 2010
This book describes the highlights of Einstein's life and physics in a very basic and elementary manner. The book was written for an average high school student or for anyone who wants to learn a bit about Einstein, but is satisfied with a very elementary treatment. The first third of the book provides a very elementary treatment of the basics of mechanics and electromagnetism, as background for Einstein's work. This was a very nice feature that is missing in many other treatments (at least to the extent that it is covered in this book). In addition to the usual discussions of relativity and Einstein's contributions to the foundations of the idea of quantized energy, the book also covers his work on Brownian motion and the idea of atoms. Everything is presented clearly without the use of any mathematics, which may be applauded by its target audience, but I think that this can be a drawback.

While I am very familiar with this material, having read many Einstein biographies and books that detail his physics in much more detail than that presented here, and I found out a lot of new things. For instance, while Ole Romer made the measurements required to determine the speed of light, I did not know that it was Christian Huygens who actually made the calculation and using Romer's data and calculated a value that was 24% below the modern value. Most books leave out Huygens' contribution and give a value that is based on Romer's method, but using modern measurements, making it much closer to the correct value. The book also does a good job with the historical aspects of Einstein's life. There is an excellent summary of the letters Einstein wrote concerning the need to develop an atomic bomb before the Germans could.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars OPENS YOUR EYES TO THE COMPLEX February 25, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is everything it claims to be. It attempts to break down the very complicated world of physics that Einstein was so involved in. It gives a great history of his life and those who influenced him. It was an easy read in terms of the organization and language used, but make no mistake about it, the topics, theories and concepts are not easy to understand at all. I found myself reading certain concepts over and over again but still not able to follow - but I do not blame the author - I simply am not equipped with the mental capacity to follow Einstein's logic. And that is OK - this book served its purpose in that it opened my eyes to how much there is to know and understand about how our world works. Even if I learned only how much I have yet to learn, I am sure I am smarter for reading it.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Live fast, stay young July 2, 2011
By Pippa
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Did you know that you age faster if you're standing still versus when you're moving? Yesssss! At last, the secret to eternal youth!

But don't break out the running shoes just yet, because even if you were to spend your life running or even flying around the world on the fastest aeroplane, the difference would barely be noticeable. Like, maybe only a minute or so's worth of barely noticeable over your entire life time...

Damn, and it seemed like such a promising thought! Personally, I blame Einstein since it was his theory in the first place. Speaking of which, I've been reading Einstein for Dummies by Carolos I Calle. This is the first book I've ever read in the For Dummies series and I think they've pretty much nailed it in terms of tone and language. As an added bonus the author is able to explain all the science concepts in words, without resorting to scary-looking maths equations.

The book starts by giving background on Einstein and his life and, to be honest, I was pretty much intending to skip these chapters and just head straight to the bits on Einstein's work. But they turned out to be freakishly interesting and peppered with random facts, such as: "after giving birth to Einstein, his mother thought for a moment that he was a "monster" because he had a strangely shaped and large head." Um...alrighty then...

The second part of the book goes on to discuss - for want of a better way of putting it - the history of physics up to the time when Einstein started stirring things up with his new-fangled ideas. Again, I must confess that I was also fully intending to skip this section^. However, it turned out that, much like the sections on Einstein's life, the physics history lesson stuff was also totally easy to read AND it was even interesting!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Reccomend this book for people curious about Einstein's theories.
Excellent book which explains the things in an understandable way.
Published 26 days ago by Scott Dunbar
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
thank you
Published 3 months ago by chuck
At last, an author who explains Einstein in plain English to ordinary readers, with plenty of illustrations. Dr. Read more
Published 4 months ago by BEACHGUY
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
love to learn about Einstein and all that he did
Published 4 months ago by christopher Keller
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great and Understandable Summary
Whether you are a beginner, or more advanced, this volume does a great job of putting it all in one place, and within the context of the surrounding social and scientific... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Rick V.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
clear and understandable
Published 8 months ago by P. Fox
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Better as history than a scientific text. But very readable and enjoyable.
Published 8 months ago by Gregory Munie
3.0 out of 5 stars I liked the book but it did not get me to ...
I liked the book but it did not get me to wrap my mind around the time/space confusion issues that I was having. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Melissa
4.0 out of 5 stars I feel much smarter now.
Read this fun book in 3 days while at sea under the stars. Loved it. Simple experiments on complex ideas. It was seperated really well. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Rod J. Blanchard Jr.
3.0 out of 5 stars It's "OK".
It's not great.

- He spends far too much time on other contemporary scientists and their lives/discoveries.
- This is really for "dummies". Read more
Published 16 months ago by Vic Tolomei
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More About the Author

Carlos I. Calle is a senior research scientist and laboratory director at NASA Kennedy Space Center. In addition to publishing over 150 scientific papers, he is the author of four books for the general reader which have been translated into 6 languages.

His most recent book, The Universe - Order Without Design, presents the current cosmological theories, exploring the problem of origins and the exciting possibility that science can explain the existence of the universe. His discussion is honest and rooted in science, evaluating each theory in light of the testable predictions that they make and that can be verified in the not too distant future.

He writes his books in his library at home. When he is away from his NASA lab and not working on a new book, he enjoys drawing and sculpting.


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