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Relativity Visualized Paperback – 1985


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 206 pages
  • Publisher: Insight Press (1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 093521805X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0935218053
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #496,343 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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All of the viewers had said it everything about this GOOD book.
Hung Nguyen
Relativity Visualized by Lewis Carroll Epstein -- a good additional book to read, if you want to delve more into truly understanding how it works.
taogoat
This book is without peer in providing a visualized understanding of the issues of relativity.
wizard_chef

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Sophia Burns on June 3, 2001
Format: Paperback
I have tried to read several books on the subject of relativity. I am very interested in it as a hobby and have read zillions of explanations of relativity. I read about passing space ships, traveling twins and whistling trains. However, I never truly understood what is was all about, until I came across this book.
When I read chapter 4, I couldn't help but giggle aloud and shout "Eureka" all through it, because now I felt I really understood it. For the first time EVER.
The illustrations are so vivid, the diagrams so clear and the explanation so simple that anybody can understand it. If you are interested in Einstein's theories, get this book. You won't be disappointed, garantueed.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 25, 1996
Format: Paperback
Epstein is the best teacher of this difficult subject you
will ever encounter. His book breaks new ground in relating
space, time, and mass in a geometrical way that is -- at
last -- simple to visualize. Albert Einstein's own book
on relativity, though a model of clarity, does not provide
this all-important geometric model of four dimensional
space/time. Epstein has understood everything that is
difficult for us about relativity at a gut level, and
thoroughly demystifies it, without ever making the kind
of deep conceptual errors to which authors of "popular"
books on physics are apt to be prone.
Through the simplest kind of geometry diagrams and inspired
thought experiments, he shows that relativity's famous
paradoxes are all simply tricks of perspective
characteristic of a universe that has four spatial
dimensions, not three. Relativistic "special effects"
are exactly analogous to perspective effects in painting,
but involve time and a fourth dimension. This geometric
interpretation of relativity is the only way to grasp it
other than algebraically, and therefore it is the only
route that does not involve significant mathematics. Even
to the mathematically inclined, it may provide an
eye-opening intuitive "ah-hah!" that the equations never
elicited. Not since Minkowski proposed his original
geometric interpretation of Einstein's special relativity
has there been such a cogent advance in our perspective
(literally) on the shape of space, and its relation to
time and mass, the three measurable quantities related by
relativity.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Yoon Ha Lee on January 22, 2000
Format: Paperback
I'm not a physicist or physics major, but I do like reading physics on a lay-level. When I hit special relativity in college physics, it was no surprise--because I'd read Epstein's book and gotten past the biggest hurdle, being able to conceptualize what's going on. (I can tell you that as far as math goes, special relativity at this level isn't difficult at all as long as you don't get your frames of reference screwed up...which I usually do.)
And that's where Relativity Visualized excels: helping you get your brain around these strange, strange, STRANGE ideas. No math. A little geometry, and believe me, you don't need to remember much from HS geometry to make sense of this, if you're curious about relativity. While I've no complaints about my college prof's treatment of relativity :-) this would have helped the poor freshman engineer in my class who, upon learning why the twin paradox isn't a paradox, said in bewilderment, "But that's stupid!" It isn't--it's just hard to accept.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 28, 1999
Format: Paperback
As a Ph.D. in astrophysics, I studied relativity as part of my professional education. I've read many textbooks and popularizations. This is simply the best popularization, bar none. Anyone should be able to understand it. Even the professional physicist is likely to learn something, if not about the substance of relativity, then about how to teach it to undergraduates. Outstanding!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 30, 1997
Format: Paperback
Simply put, this is the best book on relativity (special and general) currently available. Anybody can read it: shoe salesmen, physics students, whatever. It includes a very small number of elementary equations (on the scale of things like distance = velocity times time) and yet manages to convey the essence of the general theory of relativity to the reader. It certainly dispels the aura of mystery around this quite simple theory and when you have finished reading this slim book you'll be able to effectively argue with advanced physics students (hey, I'm an advanced physics student and, believe me, you know _alot_ after reading this!). Too bad Mr. Epstein hasn't also written such a book on Quantum Mechanics or Field Theory, where the inaccessibility of the texts for most people is legendary. Thus, in short: buy this book, you'll love it.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By M. J. Staley on July 23, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In attempting to learn Einstein's theories of relativity (both special and general) I've accumulated pounds of books and DVD's, and no kidding, this is the best one yet. Not only is this book better than all of the others combined, but it's really all you need. As the title implies, the author uses primarily a visual approach to explain these theories.

Most of the book deals with special relativity (linear-moving frames of reference with no forces at all acting on them), and I already had a pretty good handle on that. My motive in buying this book was that it also deals with general relativity (gravity) and none - absolutely none - of my other books or DVD's covered that in any detail whatsoever.

Now, just because this book seems (to me) to be complete and understandable, this does not mean it's an easy ride - Mr. Epstein is excellent trail guide, but the trail is rough. There are equations, which means you'll have to remember your high school algebra-I, but the equations are not all that bad. If my 66-year-old brain, over a half-century removed from high school, can make sense of these equations, I'm sure you'll be fine.

More importantly, many things that you have found intuitive and common-sense to this point are going to be significantly challenged as speeds become relativistic (i.e. a significant percentage of the speed of light). Don't be surprised if you have to re-read chapters until you get the picture. Relativity is not intuitive and takes a lot of getting used to, but it's achievable.

In the arena of general relativity, this book really shines. Explaining general relativity on a two-dimensional page is next to impossible, so the author gives you some home experiments (paper, pen and scissors) where you can demonstrate the principles to yourself.
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