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Relativity: The Special and the General Theory (Penguin Classics) Paperback – July 25, 2006
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Scientific Teaching Series
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How better to learn the Special Theory of Relativity and the General Theory of Relativity than directly from their creator, Albert Einstein himself? In Relativity: The Special and the General Theory, Einstein describes the theories that made him famous, illuminating his case with numerous examples and a smattering of math (nothing more complex than high-school algebra). Einstein's book is not casual reading, but for those who appreciate his work without diving into the arcana of theoretical physics, Relativity will prove a stimulating read. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Scientific American
"The present book is intended," Einstein wrote in 1916, "as far as possible, to give an exact insight into the theory of Relativity to those readers who, from a general scientific and philosophical point of view, are interested in the theory, but who are not conversant with the mathematical apparatus of theoretical physics.... In the interest of clearness, it appeared to me inevitable that I should repeat myself frequently, without paying the slightest attention to the elegance of the presentation. I adhered scrupulously to the precept of that brilliant theoretical physicist L. Boltzmann, according to whom matters of elegance ought to be left to the tailor and to the cobbler." But it is elegant, in part because of the 1920 translation, by Robert W. Lawson, a British physicist who had polished his German while a prisoner of war in Austria. The introduction, by science writer Nigel Calder, guides the reader through the work section by section, even giving advice on which sections to skip, or at least not to worry about, if you can't "accompany Einstein through the forest of tricky ideas contained in this slim volume." Okay, this book isn't easy--again, in the master's elegant words, it "lays no small claims on the patience and on the power of abstraction of the reader"--but it is well worth the try.
Editors of Scientific American
Top Customer Reviews
Ah...here it is: Publisher: General Books LLC (August 19, 2009) ISBN-10: 0217982360 ISBN-13: 978-0217982368
"We recreated the book from the original using Optical Character Recognition to keep the cost of the book as low as possible. Therefore could you please forgive...etc. "
What they're apologizing here for is that they have committed a fraud. And "Look Inside" browser feacher shows you another book edition!
In hindsight, I suspect most 5-4 star reviews are fictitious...OR... they combined all reviews from different publications into one file. Buyer be aware!
Update: Yep, Amazon throws DIFFERENT reviews of the same book under DIFFERENT publications (Einstein, Relativity), and DIFFERENT publications of DIFFERENT books of the SAME author (Albert Einstein, Relativity - The Special and The General Theory) in ONE big deceitful pile.
Thank you Amazon!
Einstein was, of course, very deep. When he talked about any topic in physics, chances are that he went deeper than anyone else who thought about the same theme, for a comparable time span. Now, imagine relativity. When he wrote this book he had thought about this matter for several decades. Nobody reached this depth, then and afterwards. The fruits of his thought, like black-holes, are being proved true now, after so much time!
So, the difference between this book and all other introductory books on relativity is proportional to the difference between Einstein himself and the other authors. You don't have to believe me: just read the excerpts! You'll not remain indifferent to the majesty of his ideas. Put yourself in the right mood: Einstein was a very simple man who was, in writing this book, sincerely interested in explaining his creation to you. Follow his path, read attentively, and, above all, think!
The reward will be great.
Contrary to widespread misconception, Albert Einstein was not an exceptionally expert mathematician. His justly deserved fame rests on the fact that he had an incredible intuition for physics, and a willingness to think the unthinkable whenever that seemed to be where the physics led. So it's not surprising that he could explain both the concepts of special relativity and those of general relativity in clear, simple language suitable for the non-technical reader. The result is a masterpiece, especially the discussion of general relativity.
The mathematics of general relativity in its applications is esoteric, to say the least; any reader who wishes to glimpse this can take a look at Robert M. Wald's book "General Relativity." But the underlying ideas are very simple, simple enough to be easily grasped by any 11th or 12th grade student in an "academic" curriculum. The problem with them is that for most people the ideas are counterintuitive. The other books for laypeople that I've looked at go through all sorts of contortions to make the ideas plausible. Einstein doesn't. He proceeds steadily, simply and logically to show how special relativity follows from direct observation. Then he points out that special relativity is only useful in certain exceptional cases, and asks himself (and us) what properties a more general physical theory must have to be consistent both with observation and with special relativity. General relativity just lands in our laps as a result of this simple train of thought.
I treasure this book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
**** Edit****This review is for the Crown 1961 edition, not the modern garbage re-printings, Kindle refuse, etc. Read morePublished 20 days ago by Midhersand
Einstein is of course great but the translation to English is concise but hard to followPublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Not easy to follow at all moments, but still a very interesting book from a very interesting author.Published 1 month ago by Francisco Abecasis
Would have liked more prescriptive guidance to accompany all the informative descriptions.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
This is Einstein at his best. This English translation allows those of us who do not speak fluent German to learn the basics of his Special and General Theories directly from... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Brian Hendricks