Special Relativity

7 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1891389610
ISBN-10: 1891389610
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity is a superb place to begin a serious study of physics. --SciTech Book News

Judging from his book, Helliwell must be a fine teacher. He achieves a rare clarity. For instance, the derivation of the standard kinematic results starting from Einstein s postulates is outstandingly clear. Throughout, he shows an unusual and sympathetic appreciation of the problems faced by the beginning student. --John Taylor, University of Colorado

Helliwell's book strikes a tone that will be very effective with a wide population of students. The writing is very accessible and conveys excitement and engagement. The problems are abundant, and students will enormously appreciate the carefully worked examples throughout. This text chooses a middle road and has a practical flavor that is often obscured in other books. --Louis Buchholtz, California State University at Chico

About the Author

THOMAS M. HELLIWELL is Burton Bettingen Professor of Physics, Emeritus, at Harvey Mudd College, USA. He received his B.A. from Pomona College, USA and his Ph.D. at Caltech, USA, where his thesis was on atomic physics and quantum mechanics. He has published more than 40 research papers, many with undergraduate coauthors, in quantum mechanics and general relativity. He has taught a wide variety of undergraduate courses, from beginning to advanced, in classical mechanics, special and general relativity, quantum mechanics, statistical mechanics, and electromagnetism. He has also served as director of the freshman division, chair of the physics department, chair of the faculty, and dean of faculty.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: University Science Books (April 30, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1891389610
  • ISBN-13: 978-1891389610
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.8 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #365,302 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By sp on December 17, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As an engineer who set out to learn SR on his own, I did a survey of many books (50 or so) on SR to try and
find the best elementary treatment. The book by Helliwell was one of my favorites.

SR by Helliwell is a very well written book that assumes the reader has a minimal background in physics and mathematics (say freshman college level). The book has an attractive
format, is not overpriced, and was written by someone who is clearly an expert teacher and has spent his life teaching this material to students. Also, do not be fooled into thinking that this
book is somehow deficient because the mathematical demands placed on the reader are minimal. Physics is not mathematics and understanding the underlying physical concepts
is by far the hardest and most important step. The SR neophyte might also like to consult in parallel "Six Ideas that Shaped Physics: Unit R (2nd Edition)" by Moore as it takes a more geometric approach based on spacetime diagrams.

Another excellent starter book is "Space and Time in SR" by Mermin (this older book by Mermin is better than his more recent edition called "It's About Time").
Both books by Mermin are also written at the level of a freshman college student or advanced placement high-school student. The book "Flat and Curved Space-Times" by Ellis
has a daunting sounding title but
provides a very clear introductory (Sophomore level) geometric treatment of SR that I also think is fantastic (By the way, this is the same Ellls from Ellis and Hawking's Large Scale Structure of Space-Time).
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Ilya N. on February 5, 2010
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This is a pretty good treatment of special relativity that we used in my physics class at Caltech. For the most part, it makes sense and provides good examples and exercises. The only issue is that it is a little short on its coverage of spacetime diagrams.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Warner on January 27, 2013
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I used this book for an intro class in modern physics. Really clear and enjoyable read. I think the subject in general uses very basic math, which was surprising. After completing the book, I felt it gave me an intuitive grasp on the subject material. I can see someone using this book for self-study.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Alexandre A. Souza on May 6, 2013
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It is one of the best books on the subject, in my opinion. It is vey didatic. I recommend it.
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