- Paperback: 376 pages
- Publisher: University of California Press (May 30, 1996)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0520200292
- ISBN-13: 978-0520200296
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 8.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,069,976 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Understanding Relativity: A Simplified Approach to Einstein's Theories
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"An extraordinarily well-written, well-researched, and carefully thought out piece of work. . . . The discussions of the paradoxes of relativity and of cosmology are the best discussions of these topics at an elementary level that I have ever seen." (Roger A. Freedman, University of California, Santa Barbara)
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Top Customer Reviews
However i found his discussion of the speed of light in curved space to be somewhat confusing.
Most relativity books leave it as an exercise for the reader why a signal that could travel just a tiny bit faster than the speed of light would go backwards in time. Not this book, which uses space-time diagrams to explain this very well.
The book goes on to make good use of Loedel diagrams, and uses them to help discuss some relativity "paradoxes." Once again, while other relativity books often leave the solutions to these paradoxes as exercises for the reader, Sartori spends some 35 pages addressing many of them outright.
There are a couple of chapters at the end on General Relativity and Cosmology. While they do not get into much of the formalism of these subjects, I think they are a valuable introduction for those who may be curious about them.
This book sure makes learning special relativity less of a chore. If you are a student who doesn't mind being spoon-fed this material, you should try it.
1. Finding the right amount of math for a subject such as this is always a challenge. Not enough and the discussion can be too superficial; too much and you can lose the lay reader. Though sometimes useful, I generally found the author's repetitive use of simplified proofs distracting (they could have been reduced or added as a appendix).
2. Discussion of time dilation and some of its associated ramifications such as the Twins Paradox was weak.
3. Diagrams can be helpful in conveying special relativity. The author's diagrams were medicore.
Overall, not a terrible book. It warrants only 2 stars because it is not good value for money. Better material regarding this and related topics can be found on the Internet for free (just google special relativity).