A valiant attempt to visually depict the counterintuitive truths in Einstein's 1905 theory. Bais' vocabulary is friendly (to a point), and his spacetime grids, with their red, yellow and blue arrows, are certainly tantalizing. Staring at these grids long enough may well provide a flash of insight.
--Sara Lippincott (Los Angeles Times 2007-09-30)
None of us will ever have the opportunity to travel at the speed of light. We will therefore never directly experience the malleability of a world governed by Einstein's special theory of relativity. But spending time with this elegantly designed little book is a great way to try. With its fantastic visual aids and concise explanations, we get a glimpse of what it's like to live in a world of flexible time and pliable objects. (Seed 2007-11-01)
When space shrivels and time slows, the world according to Einstein's special theory of relativity can be a confusing place. Luckily, Sander Bais's new book is here to help...Pages of diagrams accompanied by concise explanations illuminate all the oddities of relativity, from the twin paradox to E=mc2. For visual learners looking for a substantial, no-frills tour of Einstein's universe, this little book is a trusty guide. (New Scientist 2007-11-10)
The elegant illustrations help Bais lead the reader from Einstein's postulates through the ideas of simultaneity, inertial frames, time dilation and relativistic energy and momentum, eschewing the usual admonitions against equations. The author's clever idea of pairing every page of text with a space-time diagram (a graphical tool actually used by relativists) to illustrate the concepts and mathematics suits the geometrical basis of its subject perfectly...It is rare for science books to rate as objects in their own right, but Very Special Relativity is a lovely little object. You could easily imagine a web-based version of it, with a bit of animation to serve its pedagogical needs. Still, there is some quality about the hard covers and high resolution that even my 26-inch screen wouldn't be able to capture. No longer is there an excuse for physics textbooks to be expensive, boring, thick or stuffed with equations in order to qualify as good teaching material.
--Andrew Jaffe (Nature 2007-11-01)
This is an absolutely delightful little book...A work that is pleasing to the eye and to the mind.
--A. Spero (Choice 2008-05-01)