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Who was Right: Ptolemy or Copernicus? (Relativity free of Folklore #4) [Kindle Edition]

Felix Alba-Juez , Manuel Toharia-Cortes , Jesus Zamora-Bonilla
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

This e-book corresponds to Chapter 4 of the printed book entitled "Galloping with Light - Einstein, Relativity, and Folklore", and is the fourth of the e-Series entitled "Relativity free of Folklore".

Because you deserve more than just folklore, in this e-book you will find the incredible answers to the following intriguing questions:

1) Do we really know what Motion is? How is it perceived and how is it measured?

2) Does our planet really rotate or does the Sun really move? Who was right, Ptolemy or Copernicus?

3) Why can we pleasantly play poker and have a drink in a bus while at uniform speed but chaos reigns as soon as the driver suddenly brakes or accelerates?
4) Why is the same not possible at all while quickly rotating in a carrousel?

5) Why many scientists say that uniform motion is relative but accelerated motion is not?
6) How in the world something as solidly established as the notion of force can exist or not depending upon our point of view?

The fact that the reader may not have a scientific education does not mean that s/he does not have the intelligence to understand profound concepts -- as long as they are presented with semantic and epistemological clarity. After all, Einstein said that Science is simply the refinement of our intuition and everyday experiences.

Editorial Reviews


A remarkable book. You have "galloped with light" very astutely and imaginatively! Besides being a thorough student of your subject, you are also a skilled pedagogue of it! -- Adolf Grünbaum, Author of Philosophical Problems of Space and Time and The Foundations of Psychoanalysis: A Philosophic Critique.

I'm impressed at your pedagogical capability to explain advanced physics with words (almost) only. An absolutely fascinating reading, a cultural Odyssey through the roots of physics. --Matts Roos, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Univ. of Finland.

An introduction intellectually accessible and literarily enchanting to the Theory of Relativity. --Jesús Zamora Bonilla, Professor of Philosophy of Science (UNED, Spain).

If this reviewer was teaching a course in physics at the college level, Mr. Alba-Juez's book would be an absolute must on the course reading list. -- Donn Gurney (

By reading this book anyone can comprehend Einstein's concepts and implications and, at the end, one would like to start all over. --Manuel Toharia Cortés, Scientific Director of 'Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias' (Spain).

An awesome treat for the inquisitive mind. -- Raj Rajamani, Professor, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.

An excellent pick that blends humor, common sense, and knowledge into one entertaining package, highly recommended. -- Michael J. Carson (Midwest Book Review).

From the Author

At the beginning of 2008, I started my dream of finishing my life explaining the most profound concepts in Science to the big public, and decided to start doing so by writing this book about Einstein, Relativity, and Folklore. By Folklore, I mean the set of popular (and scientific) beliefs, mostly erroneous, associated with Relativity Theory and with our scientific activity in general.
In this new project as a writer of Popular Science, my objective is to reach the mass reader, that non-scientific person with the curiosity of understanding the Universe in which we live, who has the habit of reading and thinking and the respect for her/his own capacity of logical analysis and comprehension, and who is conscious of the relevance Science carries in current society, and the essential role it plays as a modeler of our destiny as a biological species.

Around my 14 years of age I avidly read a little book on Relativity Theory without understanding a thing. However, I was perplexed, because the three concepts about which the author elaborated upon over and over were precisely those which every 14-year kid had to be already intimately familiarized with, by the sheer fact of growing up: time, distance, and speed. What did I learn from that frustrating juvenile experience? That the author expected me to employ what every one of us (even adults) understands by time, distance, and speed to reach conclusions which only could be considered untrue and preposterous precisely because, had we considered them credible and sensible, we would have been compelled to throw away our millenary understanding of those three cherished concepts. What a peculiar approach, I said to myself: if the conclusion is going to destroy our deepest convictions, why not start analyzing those convictions, attempting to grasp the experiences, basic principles, and hypotheses that made us erroneously though vehemently believe in them for thousands of years?

What the non-scientific reader needs (as well as the scientist) is a book giving more importance to the intuitive physical meaning of the words than to the unmeasured erudition an author can display with them. My objective thus is not to turn the reader into an expert in Relativity; on the contrary: that would require a much bigger effort than simply reading this book. My purpose is to show that the Theory of Relativity, experimentally confirmed in the last hundred years, regardless of how strange and opposed to our prejudices (disguised in the mask of 'common sense') may seem to be, is rational, consistent, and intelligible for the layperson -- if, and only if, s/he has the audacity of accepting the unfounded nature of those preconceptions.

It is my desire and the honor of stimulating in the non-specialized person such a necessary intellectual boldness that have motivated me to write this book. These intellectual strength and courage have nothing to do with our academic or professional credentials; even more: had I believed they are strictly necessary to seize a concrete and positive message out of this book, I would have not gone through the trouble of writing it.

I thus dream for the reader finishing this book with the sensation that it is possible to achieve an acceptable understanding of the Theory of Relativity based on the objective truth and free of folklore (popular as well as scientific). And... if, after some time, the reader feels the urge to read my book again so as to strengthen his/her understanding, my ephemeral stay in Plato's cave will have had the sense and transcendence that all of us seek for our existence.

Product Details

  • File Size: 217 KB
  • Print Length: 78 pages
  • Publisher: Felix Alba-Juez, Publisher; 1 edition (May 6, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004ZS8RFS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,457,792 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovably motivating ... Getting suspenseful! May 18, 2012
By BetseaK
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
With engagingly presented Galileo's Principle of Relativity, Newton's Laws of Motion (including their interesting experiments) and by comparing his own youthful experiences and cogitations while traveling by bus and gyrating on the "Carrousel by the Church", with which anybody can easily (and gladly!) identify, the author captivates your attention and deepens your understanding of:
- the concept of motion and its relative character (throughout history),
- the concepts of inertial vs. non-inertial frames of reference, and
- the philosophical clash between the advocates of absolute space and motion (Newton, ...) and the defenders of their relative nature (Mach, Einstein, ...).

Apart from the attention-grabbing explanations of the Dynamics Era (da Vinci, Galileo, Newton and Mach), this Chapter also contains a brief reminder of the Kinematics Era (Ptolemy, Copernicus, Brahe and Kepler).

At first, I skipped a few mathematical pages in this Chapter, but when I assimilated the core of the author's message I went back to them to find that they are not at all so excessively mathematical.

What I like most about this Chapter is that the author casts a new light on the things I already knew (my high school Physics teacher was obviously very good).

I feel ready to start "galloping with sound" (Chapter 5). It really IS getting suspenseful!

UPDATED on 21st October, 2012 (after rereading)

It took me by surprise what an excellent mental exercise in relativistic thinking this chapter was. I wasn't even aware of it during the first pass.
The descriptions of Galileo's and Newton's experiments, through which the Kinematic and Dynamic Principle of Relativity were presented, were simply adorable.
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More About the Author

Felix was born in Burgos (Spain) in 1948. In 1949, his parents settled in Necochea (Argentina) where he completed his elementary and high school education. In 1966 he moved to Bahía Blanca (Argentina) where he graduated in Electrical Engineering at the 'Universidad Nacional del Sur' (UNS). In 1971, he started his academic life as Teaching Assistant of Mathematics at the UNS and, from 1974 until to 1983, he was Adjunct, Associate, and Full Professor at the 'Universidad Nacional de San Juan' in San Juan, Argentina.

In 1983, he moved to Salt Lake City, USA as Postdoctoral Fellow and soon after Research Associate for the Department of Metallurgical Engineering at the University of Utah, conducting basic Research and Development on Optimal Control of Mineral Grinding Operations.

In 1987, he left Academia and founded his own consulting company working over the years with private companies and governmental entities as DuPont, ALCOA, US Department of Transportation, NASA, and Dow Chemical. His first patent was granted in 1992 in USA, United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Japan, protecting a technology based on ultrasonic spectroscopy for measuring particle size in industrial suspensions and emulsions.

In the period 1997-2001, Felix developed a fundamental theory for the generic mathematical modeling of multiple scattering of optical and acoustical waves interacting with highly-concentrated suspensions and emulsions.

During 2001-2007, he developed a particle size analyzer based on optical spectroscopy, and commercialized a generic simulation software tool connectable to acoustic and optical spectrometers, so as to convert them into particle size analyzers. The patent for this generic technology was granted in 2007.

In 2008, Felix sold all his intellectual property to Agilent Technologies, Inc, remaining a scientific consultant, and started writing Popular Science books on Epistemology and Philosophy of Science in English and Spanish. His first book in Spanish on the Theory of Relativity was published in 2009 by the 'Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, S.A.' in Valencia (Spain).

Since October 2013, Felix is back to Academia as a Research Professor for the Department of Metallurgical Engineering of the University of Utah. He is also working on the e-series 'Quantum Physics free of Folklore' of which 'Records of the Future' is its first volume published in January 2013.

Félix Alba-Juez Nació en Burgos (España) en 1948. En 1949, sus padres se establecieron en Necochea (Argentina) donde completó su educación primaria y secundaria. En 1966 se trasladó a Bahía Blanca donde se graduó en Ingeniería Eléctrica en la Universidad Nacional del Sur (UNS) en 1974. Mientras fue estudiante, se desempeñó como Asistente de Docencia en el Departamento de Matemática de la UNS. Durante los años 1974 hasta 1983, fue Profesor Adjunto, Asociado, y Titular en la Universidad Nacional de San Juan, Argentina.
En 1983, se trasladó a USA donde se desempeñó como 'Post-Doctoral Fellow' y luego 'Research Associate' en el Departamento de Metalurgia de la Universidad de Utah, conduciendo investigación básica en teoría del control óptimo, y asesorando a estudiantes de doctorado en el control óptimo de la molienda de minerales.

En 1987, se estableció como consultor independiente trabajando para entidades como DuPont, ALCOA, Dow Chemical, 'US Department of Transportation', y NASA. Su primera patente fue otorgada en 1992 en USA, Inglaterra, Francia, Alemania y Japón, protegiendo una tecnología de medición de tamaño de partícula basada en espectroscopia de ultrasonido.

Durante 1997-2001, desarrolló una nueva teoría física para modelar genéricamente la reflexión, refracción, difracción, y absorción múltiple de ondas ópticas y ultrasónicas interactuando con suspensiones altamente concentradas.

En el período 2001-2007, desarrolló un analizador de tamaño de partícula basado en espectroscopia óptica, y comercializó una herramienta de simulación genérica para conectar a espectrómetros acústicos y ópticos, convirtiéndolos en analizadores de tamaño. La patente para esta tecnología genérica fue otorgada en 2007.

En 2008, Félix Alba-Juez vendió toda su propiedad intelectual a Agilent Technologies, Inc., desempeñándose como consultor científico y empezó a escribir libros sobre epistemología y filosofía de la ciencia. Su primer libro en Español sobre la Teoría de la Relatividad fue publicado in 2009 por la 'Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, S.A.' en Valencia (España).

En Octubre del 2013 volvió a la actividad académica como 'Research Professor' en el Departamento de Ingeniería Metalúrgica de la Universidad de Utah. Además, está escribiendo la serie de libros electrónicos titulada 'Quantum Physics free of Folklore' cuyo primer e-book 'Records of the Future' fue publicado en Enero de 2013.


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