- Mass Market Paperback
- Publisher: Signet (June 1, 1969)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0451039106
- ISBN-13: 978-0451039101
- Product Dimensions: 7 x 1 x 5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,446,881 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Relativity for the Layman Mass Market Paperback – May 1, 1969
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The author also provides some of the historical theories and experiments that led to Einstein's breakthrough, and some of the subsequent tests that were done to verify them.
Some of the material touched on:
* Experiments by Roemer, Bradley, Fizeau and Michelson to measure the speed of light with ever increasing accuracy.
* The rise of the Theory of Lumeniferous Ether, and how it was eventually disproved.
* Einstein's Special theory of Relativity, and some of the predictive deductions & consequences that resulted from it (contraction of observed length, increase in mass and dilation of time with large relative velocities, the equivalence between mass and energy, etc.)
* Einstein's General theory of Relativity, and some of the predictive deductions & consequences that resulted from it: such as a more profound theory of gravitation that surpassed Newton's (by identifying how rotation/precession of elliptical orbits is explained by relativistic changes in mass with velocity); the postulation that gravity affects both light (re: gravitational lensing) and time (re: Einsteinian relativistic shift, separate and apart from Doppler shifting), and the possibility that our universe might be a finite and unbound one.
The author also included some amusing hand-drawn diagrams to illustrate some of the more salient aspects of relativistic distortion on bodies moving in space.
1) Through no fault of the author, the passage of time has left this book a bit dated. Astronomy, astrophysics and quantum physics, have proceeded apace since this book was written in the Mid-late 1950's.
2) This is a small nit, but the author's drawing skills are comparable to a 5 yr old. I followed his discussions ok, but I couldn't help but roll my eyes at his hand-drawn figures. He could, and should, have had someone draw them better.
3) It would have been nice of the book included an index of equations - he repeatedly referred to equations by number, without providing a page reference or a convenient consolidated reference page ... that's something an editor should have caught and resolved.
4) When listing equations, he routinely omitted the units of measure for each component, which was mildly irritating.
Bottom line: I liked the book. Covering such material, and its historical evolution, in a mere 124 pages, was no mean feat, but at times the author aimed a little too low, with both the level of detail of his mathematical examples and especially with the quality of his drawings, and time has left the book a bit dated. Other authors (such as Brian Greene) have since covered the same material with a bit more depth, finesse, and panache, and include more recent scientific advances). If you see a used copy, it's definitely worth a read, but otherwise I'd suggest something by Greene.