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Galloping with Light - The Special Theory of Relativity (Relativity free of Folklore #6) [Kindle Edition]

Felix Alba-Juez , Jesus Zamora-Bonilla , Manuel Toharia-Cortes
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

This e-book corresponds to Chapter 6 of the printed book entitled "Galloping with Light - Einstein, Relativity, and Folklore", and is the number six of the e-Series titled "Relativity free of Folklore".

Because you deserve more than just folklore, in this e-book you will find the surprising answers to the following intriguing questions:

1) Did you know that the vicious logical cycle existing between the notions of speed and simultaneity is the only real reason why time is relative?

3) How is it possible that, as an object moves faster and faster, its length decreases until disappearing but, paradoxically, its mass becomes infinite?

4) If time is relative, does it mean that for some alien watching me from another world, I could have written my book before I was born?

5) If time is relative, does it mean that for some extraterrestrial watching you from another world, you could have purchased my book before I wrote it?

The fact that the reader may not have a scientific education does not mean that s/he does not have the intelligence to understand profound concepts -- as long as they are presented with semantic and epistemological clarity. After all, Einstein said that Science is simply the refinement of our intuition and everyday experiences.

Editorial Reviews


A remarkable book. You have "galloped with light" very astutely and imaginatively! Besides being a thorough student of your subject, you are also a skilled pedagogue of it! -- Adolf Grünbaum, Author of Philosophical Problems of Space and Time and The Foundations of Psychoanalysis: A Philosophic Critique.

I'm impressed at your pedagogical capability to explain advanced physics with words (almost) only. An absolutely fascinating reading, a cultural Odyssey through the roots of physics. --Matts Roos, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Univ. of Finland.

A delightful treat for the inquisitive mind. --Raj Rajamani, Professor, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.

By reading this book anyone can comprehend Einstein's concepts and implications and, at the end, one would like to start all over. --Manuel Toharia Cortés, Scientific Director of 'Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias' (Spain).

An introduction intellectually accessible and literarily enchanting to the Theory of Relativity. --Jesús Zamora Bonilla, Professor of Philosophy of Science (UNED, Spain).

If this reviewer was teaching a course in physics at the college level, Mr. Alba-Juez's book would be an absolute must on the course reading list. -- Donn Gurney (

An excellent pick that blends humor, common sense, and knowledge into one entertaining package, highly recommended. -- Michael J. Carson (Midwest Book Review).

From the Author

At the beginning of 2008, I started my dream of finishing my life explaining the most profound concepts in Science to the big public, and decided to start doing so by writing this book about Einstein, Relativity, and Folklore. By Folklore, I mean the set of popular (and scientific) beliefs, mostly erroneous, associated with Relativity Theory and with our scientific activity in general.
In this new project as a writer of Popular Science, my objective is to reach the mass reader, that non-scientific person with the curiosity of understanding the Universe in which we live, who has the habit of reading and thinking and the respect for her/his own capacity of logical analysis and comprehension, and who is conscious of the relevance Science carries in current society, and the essential role it plays as a modeler of our destiny as a biological species.

Around my 14 years of age I avidly read a little book on Relativity Theory without understanding a thing. However, I was perplexed, because the three concepts about which the author elaborated upon over and over were precisely those which every 14-year kid had to be already intimately familiarized with, by the sheer fact of growing up: time, distance, and speed. What did I learn from that frustrating juvenile experience? That the author expected me to employ what every one of us (even adults) understands by time, distance, and speed to reach conclusions which only could be considered untrue and preposterous precisely because, had we considered them credible and sensible, we would have been compelled to throw away our millenary understanding of those three cherished concepts. What a peculiar approach, I said to myself: if the conclusion is going to destroy our deepest convictions, why not start analyzing those convictions, attempting to grasp the experiences, basic principles, and hypotheses that made us erroneously though vehemently believe in them for thousands of years?

What the non-scientific reader needs (as well as the scientist) is a book giving more importance to the intuitive physical meaning of the words than to the unmeasured erudition an author can display with them. My objective thus is not to turn the reader into an expert in Relativity; on the contrary: that would require a much bigger effort than simply reading this book. My purpose is to show that the Theory of Relativity, experimentally confirmed in the last hundred years, regardless of how strange and opposed to our prejudices (disguised in the mask of 'common sense') may seem to be, is rational, consistent, and intelligible for the layperson -- if, and only if, s/he has the audacity of accepting the unfounded nature of those preconceptions.

It is my desire and the honor of stimulating in the non-specialized person such a necessary intellectual boldness that have motivated me to write this book. These intellectual strength and courage have nothing to do with our academic or professional credentials; even more: had I believed they are strictly necessary to seize a concrete and positive message out of this book, I would have not gone through the trouble of writing it.

I thus dream for the reader finishing this book with the sensation that it is possible to achieve an acceptable understanding of the Theory of Relativity based on the objective truth and free of folklore (popular as well as scientific). And... if, after some time, the reader feels the urge to read my book again so as to strengthen his/her understanding, my ephemeral stay in Plato's cave will have had the sense and transcendence that all of us seek for our existence.

Product Details

  • File Size: 478 KB
  • Print Length: 97 pages
  • Publisher: Felix Alba-Juez, Publisher; 1 edition (May 9, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00507GM8W
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,244,256 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By BetseaK
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This Chapter is like a deLIGHTful jigsaw puzzle! To get a proper grasp of the Theory of Special Relativity, the reader has to fit together so many pieces of knowledge from Chapters 1-5, as well as the new ones from this Chapter. Fortunately, a variety of means of transport (a train, a car, a spaceship, all sorts of miraculous horses, ...) and thorough instructions, accompanied with excellently deployed signposts (i.e. diagrams and graphs), help the reader to get a wonderfully clear picture of:
- the behavior of light (i.e. electromagnetic radiation) and the reasons for its limit speed,
- the difference between Minkowski's "space-time" and classical "space" and "time",
- the concept of the tetra-dimensional "event interval" (i.e. "space-time interval"),
- the classical vs. relativistic notions of Past, Present and Future,
- the role of Einstein's definition of the relativity of simultaneity in the interpretation of the relativistic contraction of space and dilation of time, wonderfully well-explained through illustrative examples with two lightning bolts, an optical clock, the first episode of a space-flight serial concerning the so-called "twins' paradox" (to be continued in Chapter 7) and the real case of cosmic radiation measured in the experiment on Mount Washington.

The above is, again, interwoven with the amazingly well weighed-out additional information and historical reviews:
- a brief review of the principles of relativity throughout history, and the birth of the concept of the Principle of Special Relativity (Poincaré) ,
- the birth of Einstein's two postulates, i.e.
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