- Series: M.I.T. Introductory Physics
- Paperback: 296 pages
- Publisher: CRC Press; 1 edition (September 30, 1968)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0748764224
- ISBN-13: 978-0748764228
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,690,497 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Special Relativity (M.I.T. Introductory Physics) 1st Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
After an introductory chapter 1, which quickly previews much of the later material, French systematically analyzes the many observations and contradictions (the Michelson-Morley experiment just one of them), astronomical and laboratory, about the behavior of light that fitted neither an ether-wave model or a particle model. We are thus lead to a deeper appreciation for Einstein's insight and genius in his creation of the special theory of relativity; it was much more than just an extension of the Lorentz-transformations.
French is a master at his subject, and his systematic elucidation will reward the reader with a deep understanding. His problems are very well designed, and he provides answers which is always very helpful in learning.
If you have some time, and would like also to gain historical perspective about what it was like to struggle for a consistent theory in a mass of contradictory observations from the world view of Newtonian mechanics, I highly recommend this book.
This book is specifically designed and written for those who want to learn special relativity comprehensively from one single source.
The book starts with the basics of the theories behind special relativity with simple arguments and plain language. In the first 5 chapters, you learn the mechanical fundamentals of special relativity. The examples and end-of-chapter problems are very useful and instructive. Furthermore, the answers to all problems are given in back of the book as well, which enables you to check your answers. Starting from chapter 6, more advanced topics are introduced, like momentum, energy, basic electromagnetism and so forth. Again, the problems should be solved by students in order to gain a thorough comprehension of the subject matter. The diagrams and pictures in the book are also very helpful to understand the concepts.
The bibliography at the end of the book can be used to consult for further discussions, because special relativity has many applications in various areas of physics.
To sum up, this book, all by itself, can be used to learn and understand special relativity very well in a short period of time, because it is concise, simple, effective, pedagogically well-prepared and very suitable for self-study. You do not need any other fancy, expensive book. A.P. French does an excellent job in laying out the principles of special relativity with illustrative examples and problems. It deserves every penny you paid.
Very little prerequisites are required, just basic calculus (even single variable is sufficient). More than anything the reader needs to be willing to think through the ideas carefully and confidently. At the end of the book, the reader is rewarded by learning how the magnetic field (and corresponding magnetic field laws) has to exist as a natural consequence coulombs law and the principle of special relativity. This ties into advanced ideas on electrodynamics (and can be pursued further in an also excellent book on electrodynamics by Schwartz).
I do have a few potential criticisms of this book. The initial chapter on the history of the field is nice, but it definitely delays the reader (who is willing to take on face the experimental finding that the measurment of the speed of light is the same regardless of one's [inertial] state of motion) that is anxious to get on to SR. Another real criticism of this book is that despite its exceptional explanations of the physical insight and motivation behind SR and its key formulas, it does not nicely develop its four-dimensional formulation.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I have read several treatments on Special Relativity and like this one as it goes well beyond both the simplistic explanations of time dilation/Lorentz contraction (which can be... Read morePublished on August 20, 2013 by Tom P
I think this is an excellent book to introduce special relativity. For a lot of books, if I could finish reading half of the book, I consider the book excellent. Read morePublished on October 29, 2012 by Xiao Hu
French's relativity, much like his texts on waves and quantum mechanics, is largely useless for those who prefer mathematical rigor to long-winded experimental expositions. Read morePublished on July 25, 2012 by Physics Student
French's textbook was required reading for the junior level modern physics course for physics majors that I completed 38 years ago. Read morePublished on June 11, 2011 by Ulfilas
This book is exactly what you think. It's a textbook about special relativity written in 1968 - fortunately exactly nothing of value has changed in the field since then (inb4... Read morePublished on September 29, 2010 by Alec Cooper
This is a wonderful book, I really enjoyed it and I recommend all of A.P French's books. Very clear writing, no confusion, it's a joy to read.Published on April 4, 2010 by Alexander Smith
not for self study. a very good book for those who already have a grasp of relativity and wish to further their abilities. Read morePublished on December 12, 2008 by Amazon Customer