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Space and Time in Special Relativity Paperback – January 1, 1989

ISBN-13: 978-0881334203 ISBN-10: 0881334200

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Waveland Pr Inc (January 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0881334200
  • ISBN-13: 978-0881334203
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #991,693 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Author

N. David Mermin was the 1988 recipient of The Julius Edgar Lilienfeld Prize (American Physical Society) that recognizes outstanding contributions to physics by an individual who has exceptional skills in lecturing to audiences of nonspecialists.

Customer Reviews

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This book reads like a Science Fiction novel.
Cal - Poly Student
For anyone who wants to understand special relativity, even those who may not be particularly adept at physics or higher math, this is the book.
Edson C. Hendricks
I intend to buy Mermin's other book on the subject "It's About Time".
dennisr

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Cal - Poly Student on February 6, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book was astounding. I had my share of knowledge in physics: Newtonian Mechanics, Electrodynamics and Magnetism, Optics, etc. This book took my preconceived ideas of how the Universe worked and all but threw them out the window.
Mermin's description of why the old physical model is inadequate was very descriptive and informative - even for someone with a highschool physics background. Numerous examples and analogies bring to understanding many difficult and abstract concepts. As for the skeptic . . . well, he deals with them in the later part of the book (I was one of them).
This book reads like a Science Fiction novel. Yet the topics presented could not be more real.
We have Einstein to thank for the Principles and Theories of Special Relativity, and Mermin to thank for communicating them to the general population.
I recommend this book to everybody; physicist or not. You cannot fool youself into thinking you have an understanding of the universe until you read and comprehend the topics covered in this book.
Enjoy!
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Andrew I. Jewett on February 7, 2001
Format: Paperback
I'm writing this review based on my impressions of this book when I read it 9 years ago as an undergraduate physics major at Berkeley. We used it in an honors sophmore-level physics class for physics majors. I'm know a physics grad-student at UCSB. I want to dissavow the impression you might have that this is just a light-weight, pop-science book. This book is very axiomatic and it really tries to "prove" relativity to the reader. The beginning chapters will motivate the postulates of special relativity (eg: "the speed of light is the same in all reference-frames"), and you will learn how to DERIVE the Lorentz transformations from them. (...which is the major thrust of the book. On a side note: topics like why E=mc^2 aren't discussed until the end.) This is why we used it in our class. The students taking the regular Berkeley physics class only memorized the Lorentz transformations and plugged them in blindly. I felt we learned a great deal more than they did. I think this book is billed as a descriptive introduction to relativity for non-specialists because it's clear and easy to read (although perhaps a bit verbose), and because doesn't use any fancy math, just basic geometry (right-triangles, the pythagorean theorem). This doesn't mean it should be shuned by specialists-to-be. This was my first introduction to relativity and at the time, I felt completely satisfied with my understanding of the material after reading it.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Edson C. Hendricks on June 15, 2007
Format: Paperback
For anyone who wants to understand special relativity, even those who may not be particularly adept at physics or higher math, this is the book. I spent months searching for a clear resolution of the "twin paradox" (aka, "clock paradox") without success. This is the *only* book I've ever found that accomplishes it, no other physics text I could find (and I examined 23 of them at the UCSD S&E library) provided a comprehensible explanation.

This is nothing short of a spectacular piece of work. There is no way to go wrong with this book if you have any interest in the topic at all. I'm confident that even well-experienced professional physicists could find a good many new and useful insights in it. And the best part is, this book is easily accessible by practically anyone having even entry level scientific awareness. It's a genuine classic.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 15, 2000
Format: Paperback
have to thank Dr. Mermin for being able to interpret and discuss such, in a sense, complex matters effectively and efficiently; great for beginners, like myself, to have a philosophical approach. some of the problems presented are, in fact, not easy.
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