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Sidelights on Relativity Paperback – November 1, 2013
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Top Customer Reviews
At this point, I will say that my understanding stands at a finite point in which it would be only arrogant for me to claim I understood the entirety of the book. Nonetheless, I found this book completely readable, mostly due to the fact that there are no formulas to follow. My knowledge of relativity is limited and I have given you what I believe I understand. Its a short book with the writing clear and concise and logical; which surprised me hearing stories about Einsteins genius in which he is unable to explain in laymans terms. Highly reccomended!
Ether and the Theory of Relativity, an address delivered on May 5, 1920 at University of Leyden:
Einstein recounts how the concept of ether originated and subsequently evolved. After some discussion of work by Hertz, Maxwell, Lorentz, and Mach, he notes that it became possible to take a position that ether does not exist. However, using an analogy of water waves, he explains that although the special theory of relativity does forbid us to assume ether consists of particles observable through time, the hypothesis of ether in itself is not in conflict with the special theory of relativity. Only we must give up ascribing a motion to it.
While it may seem superfluous to postulate a homogeneous, isotropic, ether-medium, Einstein contends that to deny the ether is ultimately to assume that empty space has no physical qualities at all. He then argues that according to his General Theory of Relativity "empty space" in its physical relation is neither homogeneous nor isotropic, compelling us to describe its state by ten functions (the gravitational potentials). There can be no space or part of space without gravitational potentials.Read more ›
The first presentation is an intriguing discussion on the nature and properties of luminiferous ether. Einstein shows, contrary to what is usually stated, that while it cannot be something with a reference velocity, there must be "ether" within general relativity, although it does not have the properties usually attributed to it. The thought processes are extremely interesting to anyone interested in developing theory, for he does not lurch into mathematics, but rather considers nature and shows through logic that various properties frequently assigned to ether are simply illogical, but nevertheless general relativity will not work unless there is "something" there, albeit a "something" devoid of mechanical and material properties. In this context, the modern view of space is that it is a seething cauldron of quantum events of creation and destruction.
The second involves a discussion as to whether the Universe is finite, and how we can tell. This discussion is interesting in that Einstein bases it on a premise that is now known to be wrong (we now believe the universe started with a "big bang", which voids this argument), and accordingly, apart from illustrating his method of reasoning, it has little value, other than, perhaps, to give more sympathy to Aristotle, who, like Einstein, stated his cosmology on a similarly erroneous premise for no good reason other than, "it is obvious that...".Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I liked it but not enough INFO left wanting to read more about him! I got better books in my collection!Published 16 months ago by L. M. hummel
What's" OK " for a non scientific reader, is probably a 5 star for the better educated reader.Published 21 months ago by Hey Mumser
Einstein shows his thoughts. He was the best at the time. I think he missed a few basic principles.Published 23 months ago by H. Michael Dudek