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Relativity and Common Sense: A New Approach to Einstein Paperback – March 16, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-0486240213 ISBN-10: 0486240215 Edition: Revised

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Product Details

  • Series: New Approach to Einstein
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications; Revised edition (March 16, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486240215
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486240213
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.4 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #671,259 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Ernest L. Sparks on June 15, 2000
Format: Paperback
For an introduction to special relativity from the K-calculus standpoint, this book has no peer. The K-calculus approach is, arguably, the soundest approach for conceptual clarity all the way to the composition of velocities and twin paradoxes. You won't feel you are being snowed by math tricks. In paperback, this book is high value for the money. Don't look for recent stuff like superluminal physics or details on relativity experiments.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 14, 1999
Format: Paperback
After several chapters reviewing concepts, many of which are quite irrelevant to the subsequent discussion, Bondi gives one of the most original derivation of Special Relativity that I have ever seen.
Unfortunately, Bondi does make some serious mistakes. For example, he conflates "time" and "elapsed time", which is analogous to conflating "position" and "distance". Second, by claiming that the laws of physics only apply to inertial reference frames, I think the author impedes the understanding of general relativity.
The author does deserve credit for using the correct formula for time dilation, not the naive gamma factor.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 17, 2008
Format: Paperback
Previous reviewers who rated this book less than four stars have simply misunderstood the purpose of this book. It uses a novel approach to present the special theory of relativity to an audience of non-physicists who are not afraid of a few - very few - equations, as in the proverbial "educated high school graduate." Hence Bondi uses numerical examples to avoid many equations. The book is not meant to be a college textbook or complete treatise on relativity!

Bondi's approach makes relativity seem almost obvious. The earlier chapters, which some felt were irrelevant, are designed to contrast sound with light, which may be more familiar, or at least less surprising. There is a lot of physics in this book

Some may be misled by a statement in John Durston's preface: "Professor Bondi derives Relativity from Newtonian ideas." One cannot derive relativity from Newtonian mechanics. But Newtonian concepts can be used to advantage.

My only caveat is that there are several unfortunate typos, especially Eq. (20) on page 123.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By rusticfans@yahoo.com on January 27, 2000
Format: Paperback
One must give Hermann Bondi credit for his unique presentation of the concepts from Einstein's Theory of Relativity. To well-educated (at least in physics and mathematics) readers who are familiar with Einstein's Theory, Bondi's approach is insightful. However, for those looking for an alternative way to understand the Theory, prepare to be disappointed by Bondi's presentation. The book continuously uses mathematical jargon which is of course unstandable to those familiar with university mathematics, but that is not at all familiar to everyday folk (example: describing the origin of a graph as the point where the coordinate values "vanish" would confuse those who don't realize that "vanishing" is somewhat of a math slang for the values equaling zero.) At times Bondi trivializes sequential math steps in order to simplify his presentation, but then offers every detail in describing the order of events he offers for his characters; in effect, he loses touch with less familiar readers and creates a loathesome Abbott-and-Costello-type dialogue for familiar readers. For the typical reader that wants a general familiarity with Relativity, I would recommend Einstein's own offering for such readers, RELATIVITY: THE SPECIAL AND GENERAL THEORY.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Keith E. Koenigsberg on June 17, 2009
Format: Paperback
I have read several relativity-for-the-layman books, including Einstein's own work, and this one got the points across to me the best. After digesting this book I could convincingly explain the time dialation (and coriolis effect) on a cocktail napkin. I think for the lay person, understanding of this stuff can be highly personal: dependent upon if the teacher "speaks to" you. In my case, Bondi spoke my language.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 9, 1997
Format: Paperback
Although this book doesn't dive deep into
the equations for Einstein's Theory of Relativity,
it is an *excellent* book to learn the ideas
behind it. Relativity is a complex idea and
this book will explain well to anybody who takes
the time to read it and think about things.
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