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The Special Theory of Relativity Reprint Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0415148092
ISBN-10: 041514809X
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Comment: Publisher: Routledge, Chapman & Hall, Incorporated
Date of Publication: 2000
Binding: soft cover
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Description: 8vo - otver 7¾" - 9¾" Tall 041514809X
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Editorial Reviews

Review

'Bohm presents a highly original view of what it means to look at the world with new eyes.' – Journal of Consciousness Studies

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

The late David Bohm was Emeritus Professor of Theoretical Physics at Birkbeck College, University of London. Much of his most important work is published by Routledge, including Wholeness and the Implicate Order, The Unidivided Universe (with Basil Hiley), Causality and Change in Modern Physics, Science Order and Creativity (with F. David Peat), and Thought as a System.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 252 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; Reprint edition (December 6, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 041514809X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415148092
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,475,405 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By William Van Wyke on October 13, 2004
Format: Paperback
A thorough but very down-to-earth introduction to the math, physics and philosophy of special relativity, and some of the history leading to its development. Bohm is such a first-rate physicist (well known for his original theorizing about quantum reality) and also a superb teacher who understands where others are coming from. The best quality is his well-rounded understanding of human cognition as it relates to the concepts of the relativity of space and time, matter and energy, etc. A long and really worthwhile appendix discusses Piaget's models of how children form ideas about space, time, permanence, change, etc., and, since we were all children once, the source of many of the metaphors and thought patterns that we bring to our understanding of classical space and time, and also relativity. He argues -- and shows -- that relativity's ideas of flexible space, time, etc., are actually close in structure to a child's notion of the world and therefore not so counter-intuitive as we often think they are. Indeed, his constant message is, "This isn't really so hard, nor is it really as strange as it's made out to be." He shows the errors of the absolutism (and arrogance, really) that grew out of Galileo's and Newton's approaches toward "eternal verities" about the universe, and finds in relativity not only a different approach toward space, time, matter, energy, etc., but toward doing science.

In the process he does a LOT of math, and relates the formulas to the philosophy and threory he expounds. The math is not hard -- almost no calculus, mostly algebra, a little trigonometry. If you really study this, you can have a very deep understanding of why special relativity concludes what it does.
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Format: Paperback
This is a review of the edition of 1965 which appeared in Russian (1967) in my translation. The book contains a thorough exposition of Einstein's special relativity, with a discussion of historical, philosophical and psychological issues. David Bohm's clear and professional style, as well as many deep and original ideas make this book an outstanding course of this important chapter of theoretical physics, being of great value not only for students, but also for both actively working specialists in physics and philosophy of science, and even for serious laymen. I especially recommend the Chapter 25 (Falsificability of theories) as an excellent food for thought.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Here, David Bohm, one of Einstein's last students, brings to our attention in his usual clear, thorough and exciting way, just how revolutionary and counter-intuitive the ideas that underlie the Special Theory of Relativity really were, and still are, and indeed how different they are from the standard model of physics. In order to fully appreciate the radical nature of the changes needed to make the transition, from the "Standard Model" to "Relativistic Physics," he includes a complete appendix from which he draws most of his conceptual (i.e. Psychological and Philosophical) insights. Rather surprisingly they were taken mostly from the works of none other than the famous Swiss Child Psychologist Jean Piaget, which at the time the book was written in 1967, were quite revolutionary themselves. Judging by this rather astoundingly clear appendix alone, called "Physics and Perceptions," in which Bohm lays out a deep conceptual framework upon which the book is hung, one could argue that Professor Bohm is at least as proficient a social scientist and analytical psychologist as he is a Physicist.

Because of its centrality to the book, my advice to the reader is to read the appendix first, or at least at a very early stage of the book, because it is there that the substance of the book takes shape and form. The physics concepts are almost incidental to this underlying conceptual theme.

That said, it must be pointed out that this then is a wholly conceptual, rather than a mathematical book on the Special Theory. No mathematics are needed and none are used.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If fractional stars could be awarded I would give this book 4.5 stars. I liked it but in my opinion was not quite a 5 star book. Being unable to give it 4.5 stars I am giving it the benefit of the doubt and going with 5 stars, but with some reservations, discussed below.

I really liked the first three-quarters of the book. Professor Bohm writes with clarity, giving more than just derivations of basic equations (which he does with some rigor), but also provides a very clear exposition of why things are what the theory says they are. He provides not only the standard treatment of relativity, but also provides details about the ether theory, Lorentz' attempt to save it in the face of contradictory experimental evidence and the behavior of charged particles in electromagnetic fields - the last item a subject that is generally not covered in a basic treatment of relativity theory. In terms of difficulty, I would rate the book as being much more difficult than Gardner's "Relativity Simply Explained" or Wolfson's "Simply Einstein", but less difficult than an intermediate college text. It is suitable for someone wishing to learn the subject on their own, but only if they have some physics background and are willing to deal with some basic algebra and a little first year college math. It is also very useful for someone studying this subject in college, as Professor Bohm's explanations of the nature of relativity theory are very good, making this an excellent adjunct to a standard college text.

Unfortunately, I found the last quarter of the text a bit less clear than the first three-quarters. This latter quarter deals with the Minkowski Diagram, K calculus and applications of these subjects.
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