- Paperback: 240 pages
- Publisher: Waveland Pr Inc (January 1, 1989)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0881334200
- ISBN-13: 978-0881334203
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 10 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,190,729 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Space and Time in Special Relativity
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From the Author
N. David Mermin was the 1988 recipient of The Julius Edgar Lilienfeld Prize (American Physical Society) that recognizes outstanding contributions to physics by an individual who has exceptional skills in lecturing to audiences of nonspecialists.
Top customer reviews
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Mermin stresses the centrality of the constancy of the speed of light (in a vacuum) and the equivalence of inertial frames, but he does not mention that the Lorentz equations flow directly from the equivalence of inertial frames and the homogeneity and isotropy of time and space alone. From these assumptions we derive the Lorentz equations, including a constant parameter c, which can be experimentally determined to be finite (excluding Newtonian relativity) and positive. This is the speed of light. This derivation appears not to be well known. I found it on the Web (I lost the URL), but I put a copy of it on my web site [...] under Papers-->Physics
Mermin could also have mentioned that conservation of energy and momentum also flow from time and space homogeneity assumptions.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who has a reasonably technical mind and wants to get a firm grasp on this subject.
This is nothing short of a spectacular piece of work. There is no way to go wrong with this book if you have any interest in the topic at all. I'm confident that even well-experienced professional physicists could find a good many new and useful insights in it. And the best part is, this book is easily accessible by practically anyone having even entry level scientific awareness. It's a genuine classic.
Mermin's description of why the old physical model is inadequate was very descriptive and informative - even for someone with a highschool physics background. Numerous examples and analogies bring to understanding many difficult and abstract concepts. As for the skeptic . . . well, he deals with them in the later part of the book (I was one of them).
This book reads like a Science Fiction novel. Yet the topics presented could not be more real.
We have Einstein to thank for the Principles and Theories of Special Relativity, and Mermin to thank for communicating them to the general population.
I recommend this book to everybody; physicist or not. You cannot fool youself into thinking you have an understanding of the universe until you read and comprehend the topics covered in this book.
This book allows you to conceptually answer every SR problem without recourse to the LTs. It allows one the ability to "see" Minkowski ST in the same way we see 3D Euclidean space.
After a PhD in and a reasonable understanding of General relativity/ quantum mechanics, I would still appreciate a "Mermin" for GR and QM.
20 plus years since reading it, I am considering Mermin's SR as the basis of a course in "Understanding SR", for adults and Middle school students.