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1. The Einstein Theory of Relativity
2. Sidelights on relativity
3. Relativity: The Special and the
4. A First Course in General Relativity
5. Relativity: The Special and the
6. The Principle of Relativity
7. Relativity Simply Explained
8. The Mathematics of Relativity
9. General Relativity
10. Albert Einstein and the Theory
11. Introduction to Tensor Calculus,
12. An Illustrated Guide to Relativity
13. Inside Relativity
14. Relativity Visualized
15. Relativity A Very Short Introduction
16. Geometry, Relativity and the Fourth
17. Relativity and Its Roots
18. Relativity, Gravitation and Cosmology:
19. Special Relativity (Mit Introductory
20. General Relativity from A to B

1. The Einstein Theory of Relativity
by H.a. Lorentz
Paperback: 18 Pages (2010-07-24)
list price: US$14.14 -- used & new: US$12.72
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Asin: 1770450386
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
The book has no illustrations or index. Purchasers are entitled to a free trial membership in the General Books Club where they can select from more than a million books without charge. Subjects: Physics ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

2-0 out of 5 stars Poorly written, and suffers as a result.
This text was clearly written in an era when over wording or complex wording was apparently accepted as the norm.It's brief, and difficult to understand, but not because it needed to be that way.The author clearly doesn't know how to make his understanding comprehendable to the average reader.And the only thing I took away from the reading experience was that light can be manipulated by gravity.WooHoo, tell me something that I couldn't have learned from a cheesy sci-fi movie.

The author refers to space as "ether", in an attempt to explain what it is that the earth and other planetary bodies are moving through.In a more modern age, the idea doesn't make sense because space is empty, and Einstein being the genius he was didn't attempted to account for the "ether" while working on his theory.Lest we enter into a conversation about dark matter which is still a theoretical concept.Dark matter is believed to consume space in solar systems (which we've observed) that are too small to actually be a solar system.The idea being that dark matter while being completely invisible adds mass to these solar systems and thus keeps the planets in that system from flying out.So I suppose one could say that "ether" could be referring to an early concept of dark matter.But again, existence of dark matter is still unproven, and it makes me wonder if the astrophysicists who are observing these solar systems are accounting for the distance.After all, just because a solar system appears stable to an observer on earth, it could actually be far from the truth.Since the distance light travels to reach us is only a reflection of a past event, we cannot assume that what we observe through telescopes is representative of what's actually taking place in these distant solar systems.

Long story short, I think I'll check out the Wikipedia page on Einstein's Theory of Relativity.I'm sure it's somewhat comprehendable.Though to be fair, if it's written like the entry on Schrödinger's cat, I'll probably be just as lost.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good Entry Point
This book is a nice, quick entry point for people looking to learn about Einstein's famous theory.

That being said, this should not be the only source of info you use to learn about the subject. As previously mentioned, this article is about 90 years old so there is newer material to be read. That being said I never see anything wrong with starting from the beginning and working your way forward.

5-0 out of 5 stars Good Entry-Point Reading
This very short book is sort of an abstract on Einstein's Theory of Relativity.Whether you're familiar, and especially if you are, about Physics and Nature's Laws of Motion, Gravity, etc...this is a worthwhile read for getting to know Einstein's theory as written by a friend physicist.It describes Einstein's theory and quashes your curiosity on the subject matter.

Short and concise, I picked up a few concepts that I was not truly aware of since grade school or high school...when I was actually enrolled in a science class.For instance, I always thought space is enveloped in a vacuum...meaning no air or nothing at all.It was not after reading this book that I was made re-aware of the gas ether as "light's medium"...or what the upper atmosphere consists of, hence the word ethereal (`not of this world).

Read further and you actually grasp the essence of the theory, said in the simplest possible way from a physicist's point of view.Right now though, I'd like to read more on the subject matter at hand...or perhaps more on Einstein himself.This is just good entry-point reading.

5-0 out of 5 stars wow
I have alway love the theory of relativity. This is the basic from and really want to read more on the subject.A must read or at lest know of the theory. ... Read more

2. Sidelights on relativity
by Albert Einstein, G B. 1891- Jeffery, W Perrett
Paperback: 80 Pages (2010-08-06)
list price: US$17.75 -- used & new: US$12.51
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Asin: 1176977113
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
Two influential essays: Ether and Relativity (1920) discusses properties demanded of the ether of space by the theory of relativity; Geometry and Experience (1921) describes the limits within which the Euclidean or any other practical geometric system can be held to be approximately true in connection with the concept of a finite universe.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing clarity
Clear and important essay on the relationship between geometry and physics and our prejudices about it.Similar essay on the history of the ether and how it evolved to fit data.An unmatched depth of understanding presented succinctly and clearly.Good read for both those with passing understanding of relativity and those with deeper understanding who want to see Einstein's clear thinking on paper.

5-0 out of 5 stars Two Fascinating Lectures - Will Appeal to Physics Students
This 56-page Dover edition offers two lectures by Albert Einstein, "Ether and the Theory of Relativity" and "Geometry and Experience". The lectures are described as "devoid of complicated equations and abstruse terminology". Nonetheless, while the reader does benefit from Einstein's clarity of thought, these lectures do require careful attention. The first lecture presumes familiarity with physics; the second is largely a discussion of non-Euclidian geometry and is easier reading.

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.

After noting that elementary particles may be considered condensations of electromagnetic fields, he concludes that our current view of the universe presents two realties which are completely separated from each other conceptually, although connected casually, namely gravitational ether and electromagnetic field, or as they might be called, space and matter.

Geometry and Experience - an expanded form of an address to the Prussian Academy of Sciences in Berlin on January 27, 1921:

Einstein begins by posing and answering why mathematics, a product of human thought, is so admirably appropriate to describing reality. In exploring limitations associated with applying Euclidian geometry to relations between rigid bodies, Einstein introduces other axiomatic systems, including Riemann's geometry. He argues that there are difficulties in applying geometry on the sub-molecular level, but it is less problematical to extend the ideas of geometry to cosmic orders of magnitude.

After some clarification of the meaning of a finite universe and an infinite universe, he devotes several pages to illustrating how to visualize a finite, three dimensional universe that is unbounded. Einstein concludes this lecture with an enthusiastic comment: "My only aim today has to show that the human faculty of visualization is by no means bound to capitulate to non-Euclidian geometry."

5-0 out of 5 stars Experience vs Hypothesis
This is the first book of I have read in which Einstein wrote directly rather than the many reiterations of his works. Sidelights on Relativity is a two part book of lectures in which he gave in 1920 and 1921. The firsttitled "Ether and the Theory of Relativity." Einstein exploresthe concepts given by Newton, Maxwell and Lorentz of the ether arguing theuniverse is not mechanical in nature. The other argument is the purelyphysical aspect in which the mechanical perspective seems to propose whatis seen is that exists, and/or can be measured and proven to exist. That"space without ether is unthinkable," that is, the effects ofspce/time gives credence to ethers existence just as "the undulatorysurface forming the boundary between water and air alters the course oftime." This, then, creates the contradiction. The second lecture istitled "Geometry and Experience" in which Einstein arguesEuclidean geometry by noting the difference of experiencing and proposinglaws of earth-measurement. He demonstrates this through the plane and theglobe asking the reader to imagine the globe and a plane. While the planeis infinite in all directions, similarly one can fill the plane upinfinately. This is not an all together accurate picture of our universe.Rather if we imagine a sphere and fill that up, we realize only a finiteamount can fill up the space.

At this point, I will say that myunderstanding stands at a finite point in which it would be only arrogantfor me to claim I understood the entirety of the book. Nonetheless, I foundthis book completely readable, mostly due to the fact that there are noformulas to follow. My knowledge of relativity is limited and I have givenyou what I believe I understand. Its a short book with the writing clearand concise and logical; which surprised me hearing stories about Einsteinsgenius in which he is unable to explain in laymans terms. Highlyreccomended!

5-0 out of 5 stars Professor Einstein
I read This book and I would like to buy it. However I do not use Credit cards, only Debit cards, Best Regards, Professor Gerardo Paredes F ... Read more

3. Relativity: The Special and the General Theory (Classic Reprint)
by Albert Einstein
Paperback: 166 Pages (2010-06-04)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$7.99
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Asin: 1451002165
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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THE PRESENT book is intended, as far as possible, to give an exact insight into the theory of Relativity to those readers who, from a general scientific and philosophical point of view, are interested in the theory, but who are not conversant with the mathematical apparatus 1 of theoretical physics. The work presumes a standard of education corresponding to that of a university matriculation examination, and, despite the shortness of the book, a fair amount of patience and force of will on the part of the reader. The author has spared himself no pains in his endeavour to present the main ideas in the simplest and most intelligible form, and on the whole, in the sequence and connection in which they actually originated. In the interest of clearness, it appeared to me inevitable that I should repeat myself frequently, without paying the slightest attention to the elegance of the presentation. I adhered scrupulously to the precept of that brilliant theoretical physicist, L. Boltzmann, according to whom matters of elegance ought to be left to the tailor and to the cobbler. I make no pretence of having with-held from the reader difficulties which are inherent to the subject. On the other hand, I have purposely treated the empirical physical foundations of the theory in a ?step-motherly? fashion, so that readers unfamiliar with physics may not feel like the wanderer who was unable to see the forest for trees. May the book bring some one a few happy hours of suggestive thought!

Table of Contents

Part I: The Special Theory of Relativity
1. Physical Meaning of Geometrical Propositions
2. The System of Co-ordinates
3. Space and Time in Classical Mechanics
4. The Galileian System of Co-ordinates
5. The Principle of Relativity (In the Restricted Sense)
6. The TheoAmazon.com Review
How better to learn the Special Theory of Relativity and theGeneral Theory of Relativity than directly from their creator, AlbertEinstein himself? In Relativity: The Special and the GeneralTheory, Einstein describes the theories that made him famous,illuminating his case with numerous examples and a smattering of math(nothing more complex than high-school algebra). Einstein's book isnot casual reading, but for those who appreciate his work withoutdiving into the arcana of theoretical physics, Relativity willprove a stimulating read. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (86)

2-0 out of 5 stars This edition created by OCR, many errors!
This edition of Einstein's wonderful book was, according to the publisher, "...recreated from the original using Optical Character Recognition software to keep the cost of the book as low as possible. Therefore, could you please forgive any spelling mistakes, missing or extraneous characters that may have resulted..."

It's obvious that the publisher didn't bother to proof read the result of the OCR scan. There are many errors throughout the book. Some are obvious, others make it hard to read, or understand what the original text said. Here's an example from Section 2:

"rTTHE purpose of mechanics is to describe how I bodies change their position in space with time."

Another example from section 3, which shows an incorrect formula: W = C | V.
It is supposed to read: w = c-v

Footnotes are jumbled, and references to the footnotes are left out.

The edition is readable, thus two stars. But the poor or non-existant editing makes it harder. Avoid this edition and get one where you don't trip over all the errors introduced by OCR.

1-0 out of 5 stars be careful which copy you buy
Do not buy the copy of this book with ISBN 978-1452841212 !!! You have been warned! The equations which are set out as images (ie any that require more than simple typesetting) have not been printed, and the text just shows the file name instead eg. eq1.gif. I can't believe that they're selling this book! The other copies are ok from what I have seen on the preview pages.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book - Kindle edition readablity needs work (Driod only?)
Caveat - The equations are written in a very small font and thus on the kindle edition are next to impossible to read.I should indicate that I'm reading on a Driod.Thus, readers using other viewers might not have a problem.If it were possible to zoom into the equations, this would not be an issue, but as far as I can tell on the driod you can't zoom in.

5-0 out of 5 stars Relativity Explained by the Master Himself
Professor Einstein wrote this book for the general audience who had an education "comparable to that of a university matriculation examination", as he felt there was a great need of introducing the idea to the public; however, the original papers were too technical. He did warn that reading the book would require the reader to exert some effort, and I certainly did. However, I derived some solace from the fact that out of all the books on relativity in the (university) library, this book is one of the few that is comprehensible to me!

He first sets out conventional thinking of the day on relative motion and invites us to consider the "truth" carefully. He reviewed the concept of reference frame (i.e. coordinate system) and the use of Euclidean geometry to describe relative motion, including the 'intuitive' addition of velocity. Then he reveals that this line of thought is problematic.

At this point it is worth digressing into the means which he presents the theory of relativity. His presentation is elegant - not in the linguistic sense, but in the structure of his argument. Normally, one can start with a set of empirical data and try to work out a pattern, from there on, a theory. One can also formulate questions, let imagination and reasoning suggest a hypothesis, then find experimental data to test the hypothesis.

Einstein did it another way still, at least in this book. His general pattern is to explore some thought experiments and to see their implications. From there, he formulates the postulates and work out a coherent theory from the postulates. Experiments only come much later in his style of presentation. In particular, he postulates that (i) the speed of light is constant for all observers and (ii) physical laws are the same for observers in all reference frames. He then conducts a thought experiment, the now-famous train/lightning experiment. The two lightning bolts appear to reach the stationary observer "at the same time", but not so for the observer on the train - the notion of "simultaneity" is in doubt.

He gives credit to Lorentz - for his work of Lorentz Transformation - and incorporates it into his Special Theory of Relativity. Relative motion is no longer a simple additive relation but a more complicated one - though still manageable.

Only then he mentions the Michelson-Morley experiment but in a way that makes it appear to be peripheral to the development of his theory. He also introduces Minkowski's (his teacher) spacetime quite late, in spite of the fact that the idea is central to Special Theory of Relativity from a physics and mathematics point of view. To put it simply, it is the Pythagorean Theorem with an additional dimension of time (albeit with a form much more complicated than the 3D theorem).

He introduces the General Theory of Relativity by highlighting that the conditions which the Special Theory is valid - i.e. constant velocities - severely restrict its descriptive power. Mathematically, Euclidean geometry does not work when a given region of space is not "equally dense," as in the case above. He introduces Gaussian Coordinates, which is the generalization of geometrical continua, with Euclidean geometry being a special case.

Special Relativity and General Relativity are different because spacetime is "equally dense" (i.e. flat) in Special Relativity, since only constant velocity cases are considered; but this is not so in General Relativity. The Gaussian coordinate system is necessary to describe them. GR can then be formulated as "All Gaussian coordinate systems are essentially equivalent for the formulation of the general laws of nature." He concluded by considering the application of GR in cosmology, with such implications as perihelion of Mercury and unbounded yet finite universe.

By this point (that is, if you had patiently read this far), you might question my addition of the precis of the book here. "Couldn't I just google it?" But chances are that introductions to Special and General Relativity are similar elsewhere, and this is how Professor Einstein did it. If you had read Walter Issacson's Einstein: His Life and Universe or Abraham Pais's Subtle Is the Lord: The Science and the Life of Albert Einstein (the latter is even more technical), this book should also demonstrate how Einstein thinks - idea first, mathematics second!

True, the theories are not something simple to grasp; but I am doing economics yet enjoy reading it - not to mention I am able to get the idea! The style of English is admittedly a little archaic but that is a relatively (no pun intended) small impediment of appreciating this great work. I would recommend that you set apart some moments in a quiet surrounding so that you could concentrate on following his arguments - that's the best way of reading the book IMHO!

4-0 out of 5 stars Relativity -- authored by A. Einstein
I thought it interesting to read a book authored by Einstein himself and get a sense of how he thought about it.The book was a fairly quick read, about 4 commuter train rides.He was able to introduce Special Relativity without the use of math; although I'm glad he does shows the Lorentz transformation and has an appendix to hint at the derivation.

On the other hand I was disappointed with the material on General Relativity and had hoped to see more depth of discussion.The GR is the barest of an introduction.

... Read more

4. A First Course in General Relativity
by Bernard Schutz
Hardcover: 410 Pages (2009-06-22)
list price: US$70.00 -- used & new: US$52.47
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Asin: 0521887054
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Clarity, readability and rigor combine in the second edition of this widely-used textbook to provide the first step into general relativity for undergraduate students with a minimal background in mathematics. Topics within relativity that fascinate astrophysical researchers and students alike are covered with Schutz's characteristic ease and authority - from black holes to gravitational lenses, from pulsars to the study of the Universe as a whole. This edition now contains discoveries by astronomers that require general relativity for their explanation; a revised chapter on relativistic stars, including new information on pulsars; an entirely rewritten chapter on cosmology; and an extended, comprehensive treatment of modern detectors and expected sources. Over 300 exercises, many new to this edition, give students the confidence to work with general relativity and the necessary mathematics, whilst the informal writing style makes the subject matter easily accessible. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (26)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent book for REALLY getting in to GR
Schultz's book was recommended in Sean Carroll's on-line physics notes.It is terrific for someone who has a good grasp of Special Relativity but needs some hand holding in General Relativity.I think I am actually grasping the ideas mathematically for the first time.

5-0 out of 5 stars Good introduction
This books spends a good amount on the basic math and introduction to tensors.You don't need much background to make your way through the material.It provides a nice set of exercises to reinforce the concepts presented in the text.

5-0 out of 5 stars good first book for learning general relativity
This book is a good introduction to relativity which does not pull punches mathematically speaking but still manages to be merciful to the beginner. I read this book with only a basic background in freshman college physics and calculus. It took me 2 6-month sessions over 2 years to go through it all in detail but it was worth it. It gave me a sufficient familiarity with the core concepts and underlying mathematics to consider tackling a more advanced book on relativity someday. The book starts with special relativity, Minkowski diagrams, 4-vectors, etc., then progresses through background material on tensors, one-forms, metrics, etc. It then goes over general covariance, geodesics in curved spacetime, and the equations of general relativity. Following this there is material on the weak gravity (Newtonian) approximation, including the derivation of the precession of Mercury, a key confirmation of Einstein's theory. Then various metrics relevant to cosmology and black holes are discussed, including the Friedmann-Lemaitre metric (the expanding universe), and the Kerr metric (rotating black holes). It was quite fascinating to see the actual mathematical derivations of many of the key concepts and findings of general relativity that I had previously only read about in popular science books. Each chapter comes with problems which help illuminate the material.

A very worthwhile exercise if non-mathematical descriptions of relativity, cosmology, and high-energy astrophysics leave you wishing for a more in-depth understanding, and if you have a basic physics and math background and the time to spend. Five stars!

4-0 out of 5 stars As easy as it can be
Nice introduction to GR. Not extensive previous knowledge needed and as clear as it could be.

5-0 out of 5 stars As the title says, a good 'First Course'
There are a lot of books on General Relativity. In approach they vary from no math, to essentially math books. This book is somewhere in the middle. It is said to be suitable for a one year course for beginning graduate students or for undergraduates in physics who have studied special relativity, vector calculus, and electrostatics.

To enable such a student to follow the math in in this book the first part of the book reviews special relativity and vector analysis. Then the book has a section on Tensor Analysis, which was newly developed in Einstein's time when it was called tensor calculus. The treatment of these mathematical concepts in this book are, in my mind, sufficient for a review for a student that had studied them before, but will require some pretty good insight for a student that had not seen them before. This background information covers about a third of the book.

Chapter 5 of the book starts out, 'Until now we have discussed only SR.' The next two thirds cover curvature, physics in a curved spacetime, the Einstein field equations, gravitational radiation (the biggest chapter in the book), and on to the rest of GR.

By the end of the book the student has indeed completed a 'first course' in GR. There is still plenty more to go for the interested student specializing in this area. ... Read more

5. Relativity: The Special and the General Theory, The Masterpiece Science Edition,
by Albert Einstein
Paperback: 96 Pages (2005-11-22)
list price: US$6.99 -- used & new: US$3.64
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 9569569069
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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From the Commentary by Robert Geroch (The corresponding section of Einstein’s text can be found below the comment.Please note that in the book, the Commentary is placed after the complete text of Relativity.)

Section 17.Space-Time

Minkowski’s viewpoint represents a "geometrization" of relativity. These ideas have, over the years, come to the forefront: They reflect the perspective of the majority of physicists working in relativity today. Let us expand on this viewpoint.The fundamental notion is that of an event, which we think of as a physical occurrence having negligibly small extension in both space and time. That is, an event is "small and quick," such as the explosion of a firecracker or the snapping of your fingers. Now consider the collection of all possible events in the universe—all events that have ever happened, all that are happening now, and all that will ever happen; here and elsewhere. This collection is called space-time. It is the arena in which physics takes place in relativity.The idea is to recast all statements about goings-on in the physical world into geometrical structures within this space-time. In a similar vein, you might begin the study of plane geometry by introducing the notion of a point (analogous to an event) and assembling all possible points into the plane (analogous to space-time). This plane is the arena for plane geometry, and each statement that is part of plane geometry is to be cast as geometrical structure within this plane.This space-time is a once-and-for-all picture of the entire physical world. Nothing "happens" there; things just "are." A physical particle, for example, is described in the language of space-time by giving the locus of all events that occur "right at the particle." The result is a certain curve, or path, in space-time called the world-line of the particle. Don’t think of the particle as "traversing" its world-line in the same sense that a train traverses its tracks. Rather, the world-line represents, once and for all, the entire life history of the particle, from its birth to its death. The collision of two particles, for example, would be represented geometrically by the intersection of their world-lines. The point of intersection—a point common to both curves; an event that is "right at" both particles—represents the event of their collision. In a similar way, more complicated physical goings-on—an experiment in particle physics, for example, or a football game—are incorporated into the fabric of space-time.One example of "physical goings-on" is the reference frame that Einstein uses in his discussion of special relativity. How is this incorporated into space-time? The individuals within a particular reference frame assign four numbers, labeled x, y, z, t, to each event in space-time. The first three give the spatial location of the event according to these observers, the last the time of the event.These numbers completely and uniquely characterize the event. In geometrical terms, a frame of reference gives rise to a coordinate system on space-time. In a similar vein, in plane geometry a coordinate system assigns two numbers, x and y, to each point of the plane. These numbers completely and uniquely characterize that point. The statement "the plane is two-dimensional" means nothing more and nothing less than that precisely two numbers are required to locate each point in the plane.Similarly, "space-time is four-dimensional" means nothing more and nothing less than that precisely four numbers are required to locate each event in space-time. That is all there is to it! You now understand "four-dimensional space-time" as well as any physicist.Note that the introduction of four-dimensional space-time does not say that space and time are "equivalent" or "indistinguishable." Clearly, space and time are subjectively different entities. But a rather subtle mixing of them occurs in special relativity, making it convenient to introduce this single entity, space-time.In plane geometry, we may change coordinates, i.e., relabel the points. It is the same plane described in a different way (in that a given point is now represented by different numbers), just as the land represented by a map stays the same whether you use latitude/longitude or GPS coordinates. We can now determine formulae expressing the new coordinate-values for each point of the plane in terms of the old coordinate-values. Similarly, we may change coordinates in space-time, i.e., change the reference frame therein. And, again, we can determine formulae relating the new coordinate-values for each space-time event to the old coordinate-values for that event. This, from Minkowski’s geometrical viewpoint, is the substance of the Lorentz-transformation formulae in Section 11.A significant advantage of Minkowski’s viewpoint is that it is particularly well-adapted also to the general theory of relativity. We shall return to this geometrical viewpoint in our discussion of Section 27. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (11)

2-0 out of 5 stars Who typset the math in this thing?
I realize that this is a layman's version of the theory, but couldn't someone at the publisher really take the time to typeset the equations correctly? They don't make any sense and they aren't set up right.

Also, although this is translated from Einstein's German version, there are books that better explain his theory of Relativity. He wasn't all that good at it.However, it is an inexpensive alternative for my research.

4-0 out of 5 stars Like Science?
I am more interested in biology-related science, but someone recommended this book. I enjoy reading these 'popular' works by great scientists and this one did not disappoint. While you need an understanding of physics to read this book, the information within explains the concepts very well. The math does get more complex towards the end and was confusing to me.

I have not read the regular edition vs. this one, so I can not comment on the differences. While some concepts were difficult to understand initially, I recommend this book for people interested in science (whether this edition or another edition).

5-0 out of 5 stars classic
This is a classic science book. While Einstein recommended it for college students, it would be appropriate for all students who would like to know more about physics and science, and Einstein.
While it does require a great deal of work for most people to get through, it is certainly worthwhile making the effort - if only to get the flavor of what modern physics is all about. The effort is also excellent mental training for serious science students from elementary school to graduate school.
This is a book that for most people is to be read and reread and to be kept in your library. Also recommended is "The Evolution of Physics" by Infeld and Einstein.

5-0 out of 5 stars very thin and concise, directly caught the point
describing the most advanced science 100 years ago with relatively easy language. Einstein's own idea is pretty straight forward, better than most other interpretations.

4-0 out of 5 stars Still confusing. . .
Einsein says he wrote this small book so everyone of college calibre could
understand Relativity, with a little thought and discipline. Unfortunately,
he wrote it in 1916, in Germany (Switzerland?) where college calibre people
knew more math than most current college calibre types. So even though he thinks he's being clear and logical, unless you have the math knowledge you won't be able to follow his thinking. Besides, my understanding is that, even over 100 years after he published the theory, very few people actually understand it.
Kudos to him for trying to explicate his reasoning - but unfortunately simple and clear to Einstein is something different to the rest of us! ... Read more

6. The Principle of Relativity
by Albert Einstein
Paperback: 224 Pages (2008-07-18)
list price: US$9.45 -- used & new: US$5.73
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Asin: 9650060278
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
This collection of original papers on the special and general theories of relativity constitutes an indispensable part of a library on relativity.

Here are the 11 papers that forged the general and special theories of relativity: seven papers by Einstein, plus two papers by Lorentz and one each by Minkowski and Weyl. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars Papers that changed the world
It's a collection of original papers that lead to one of the biggest changes in our way to understand reality. It contains papers from Lorentz (who made space-time transformations before Einstein), Einstein (General Relativity, Special Relativity, Light Bending, Cosmology), Minkowski (geometry of space-time in Special relativity), Weyl (Gravitation and Electricity). Needs to say more????
It's not for the layperson, a must for those who like history of physics and like to know where everything comes from!

4-0 out of 5 stars An interesting book for someone well versed in 19th century physics
This book contains a collection of 11 papers, seven of which were written by Einstein, with the rest written by H.A. Lorentz, H. Minkowski and H. Weyl, plus a few page of notes by A. Sommerfeld commenting on Minkowski's paper.These papers cover Special Relativity, Minkowski's development of space-time and General Relativity.These are the original papers, translated into English (except for one of Lorentz' that was originally written in English).There are no comments or explanations, in addition Sommerfeld's notes.

This is a very good book for a reader with the right background, i.e., one well-grounded in physics, especially 19th century physics.The book shows the development of Special Relativity, from original ideas of Lorentz, through Einstein's and on to those of Minkowsky.Likewise one can see the development of General Relativity.I should emphasize that these are original papers, written for an audience that had the necessary background.I do not, however, feel that it is the best choice for a modern student who may not possess this background.For such an audience, I would recommend "The Einstein Theory of Relativity" by Professor L. Lieber.This book presents both Special and General Relativity using much the same mathematics as Einstein (which is not the way it is done today), but I think that it is easier to follow, having been written for a student (albeit one circa 1945 when Lieber's book was written).

2-0 out of 5 stars The Principle of Relativity
I'm not happy with this book at all. I'm not a scientist outside of the field of information technology and I want something to explain Einstein's theories that I could read. I read such a book when I was young. It's out of print, but you can purchase it on Amazon used. It's entitled "Relativity: The Special and the General Theory--A Clear Explanation that Anyone Can Understand" by Albert Einstein.

That did it for me, this book put me to sleep.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Principle of Relativity
This book presents Einstein's orginal papers on relativity along with many other "classics" on the subject. A good understanding of college math and physics is a must.

5-0 out of 5 stars A History of Relativity
Dover must be commended for re-printing this collection of 'seminal' papers which cover the development of Relativity. This collection includes Lorentz's papers "Michelson's Interference Experiment" & "Electromagnetic Phenomena ..." and Minkowski's "Space and Time". The latter was instrumental in forging the notion of Minkowski 'space' - and forever altered our conception of how we view time vis-a-vis space. Additional notes by Sommerfield are present as an appendix to Minkowski's paper.

All this is in addition to the famous papers by Einstein which gave birth to Special & General Relativity. In particular, "The Foundation of the General Theory of Relativity" is, of course, a classic - but a tough read. The paper on Special Relativity, "On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies", on the other hand, is easily accesible to anyone acquainted with high school mathematics.

Even for the non-physicist, with a suitable grounding in the requisite mathematics, this book is a real gem. In general, it serves an excellent companion to Einstein's The Meaning of Relativity, Fifth Edition: Including the Relativistic Theory of the Non-Symmetric Field (Princeton Science Library) and makes for a priceless addition to a personal library. ... Read more

7. Relativity Simply Explained
by Martin Gardner
Paperback: 224 Pages (1997-03-06)
list price: US$12.95 -- used & new: US$7.43
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Asin: 0486293157
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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One of the clearest, most entertaining introductions to the subject ever written offers lucid explanations of not only the special and general theories of relativity, but also of the Michelson-Morley experiment, gravity and spacetime, Mach’s principle, the twin paradox, models of the universe and other topics. "...by far the best layman’s account of this difficult subject."—Christian Science Monitor. 100 two-color illustrations.
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Customer Reviews (14)

4-0 out of 5 stars Best explanation of Relativity
This book was the best explanation of Relativity that I could find. I have had passed experience with a college course and two other books (Relativity: The Special and the General Theory and A Briefer History of Time). I found that this book gave good mental pictures for the reader to understand the theories. The book did not just come at the topic at one angle, it would tackle the subject from different sides. If and when I would think of a contradiction of one of the theories, the book would in the next section be explaining why that exact contradiction was not a contradiction. The book does not contain any of the math evolved in the theories, but I would say that it would be a good companion book to a more advanced college text book over Relativity. I would recommend this book for beginning Physicist or one who is interested in learning the theory of Relativity and/or its consequences.

2-0 out of 5 stars A source for historical development - fails at concepts
Again, we have an author who tries his best to avoid appealing to any sort of universal reference frame to explain the effects of special relativity, but ultimately caves in and utilizes such frame of reference to get out of the jam known as the Twin Paradox.

Despite his frequent exhortations such as "there is no actual truth of the matter" (page 36) or "There is no meaning to the concepts of absolute length and time" (page 35), Gardner, on pages 114-116, resolves the Twin Paradox by appealing to the fact that the universe itself serves as the reference frame by which to distinguish true motion. He writes: "There is one all important difference between the relative motion of the astronaut and the relative motion of the stay-at-home. The stay-at-home does not move relative to the universe" (- page 114) and "From either point of view, the stay-at-home and the cosmos do not move relative to one another" (- page 116).On page 158 he writes: "One could just as legitimately assume the earth to be fixed and the entire universe to be moving".With that meaningless comment, he apparently hopes you'll again buy into the "no truth of the matter" point of view.And just what is it that the universe is supposed to be moving in relation to?

In the course of providing examples in his book, Gardner, like most authors, also writes about distances between objects as if he is speaking in absolute distance terms, not in the terms of any particular inertial frame. He does this despite his claim that such absolute distance intervals are meaningless concepts. Nothing can be concluded from such examples, being devoid of meaningful specifics.

Such vagaries and flip-flopping annoyed me just as much upon the second reading of this book as it had when I had read it 36 years earlier. The best you can do with this book is to become alerted to many of the historical ponderings associated with relativity. But you will need to do your own thinking. Gardner shows that he is well read, but he has difficulty with concepts at crucial junctures.

5-0 out of 5 stars Too much math education can cripple
Non-math books, such as this one, should be required reading for all physics majors in college.Too many highly educated individuals know all the math but don't understand the conceptual workings of physics.For instance, during my morning coffee break with two of my friends (one a professor who teaches college level physics, the other an electrical consulting engineer in the semi-conductor field) couldn't grasp the role that quantum entanglement played in the fact that an electrical current can't flow between the positive pole of one battery, and the negative pole of a "disconnected" second battery.

Many men and women who are too highly educated to bother reading this book, desperately need to read it.

4-0 out of 5 stars History with a point of view
This book makes the point that America's policy toward Israel has a long historical background, partly based on religious attitudes and partly on the holocaust. Very well done, the book presents historical information--some of which was new to me--in clear language.

A good read.

4-0 out of 5 stars excellent but getting out of date
This is a wonderful, nonmathematical introduction to special and general relativity. Gardner is a talented popularizer, and the two-color illustrations help make this an enjoyable book to read. My only misgiving is that the book is getting out of date on many topics. Ch. 1-6 are fine, but ch. 7, Tests of Relativity, is sorely in need of updating, and ch. 10-12, on cosmology, predate the recent revolution that has made cosmology a high-precision science and revealed that the universe is even stranger than we thought. I would like to see Gardner hand off this book to another writer who can produce a new, up to date edition. ... Read more

8. The Mathematics of Relativity for the Rest of Us
by Dr. Louis Jagerman M.D.
Paperback: 454 Pages (2001-02-23)
list price: US$33.50 -- used & new: US$33.50
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Asin: 155212567X
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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The Mathematics of Relativity for the Rest of Us provides a detailed explanation of relativity, particularly its mathematics, designed for the non-professional audience. The subject is developed from basic principles and observations in physics and mathematics, starting with algebra and geometry as taught in thorough high school courses. On the premise that this background suffices to build an appreciation and understanding of the subject, the crucial concepts are spelled out, and the key derivations are disclosed step-by-step.

The relativity of time, space, and mass is covered first, giving some attention to the history of the two main divisions of relativity, the special and the general. Once special relativity and its mathematics are established, general relativity is covered, beginning with its relationship to Newton's laws and advancing through its revolutionary concepts as well as its mathematics.

This process is carried all the way to the level of tensor equations. The Mathematics of Relativity for the Rest of Us treats topics such as: The constant speed of light, the invariant laws of physics, the basis and meaning of the equation E = mc2, the nature of curved four-dimensional space-time, the importance of non-Euclidean geometry, the gravitational bending of light, experimental confirmation of relativity, the philosophical and intellectual appeal of relativity, the nature of black holes, and the cosmologic significance of relativity -- both as concepts and as mathematical issues.

As a result the sufficiently attentive reader is set at ease with the reputedly incomprehensible but essential details about relativity. Even subjects such as "tensor calculus" and the "covariant partially differential field equations of general relativity" will be clear. For instance such a reader will know just what a "tensor" is, why the equations are "covariant," why they are "partially differential," why they are "field" equations, why relativity can be "general," and most importantly just what is meant by "relativity." Furthermore, if a reader is shown the fundamental equation of general relativity,

Rik - 1/2gikR = -XTik

he or she will understand what every term of this equation means, why each is included, what obstacles Einstein and his colleagues overcame to derive each term, what impact this equation has on modern science, and why this equation revolutionized our understanding of our universe.

The Mathematics of Relativity for the Rest of Us also devotes a chapter to the relationship between relativity and quantum mechanics. It reveals the limitations of relativity and the direction of future work in this branch of science. The chapter concludes with the role of string theory in reconciling relativity and quantum mechanics. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (15)

5-0 out of 5 stars Page 5 is correct
The two clocks were synchronized relative to the first inertial system, so they have to be resynchronized relative to the new inertial system. An observer in the first system can by using the Doppler effect calculate the relative speed of the two systems. Also, this observer observes that the two clocks are still synchronous relative to his system. It is sad that ignorants wrongly are damaging the reputation of this fanastic book. There is only one other comparable book in the World: Introduction to general relativity and its mathematics by Oyvind Gron and Arne Naess, at Oslo College, Norway ([...]).

Nils K. Oeijord, retired assistant professor / high school teacher, author of The Very Basics of Tensors

2-0 out of 5 stars Page 5 (a long explanation...)
Update 13-04-2010:
Today I get by a paper :
A Paradox of Two Space Ships in Special Relativity
Professor Takuya Matsuda
Dr. Atsuya Kinoshita
The paper discuss a similar case to the one of the page 5 -except that ships ARE NOT linked.
According to the paper It would be necessary to synchronize clocks IF the ships aren't linked by rigid rod as asserted in the text (remember that the text says that the ships were linked by a rigid rod or string so to keep distance constant.
The point to consider is that when they apply an acceleration to get the new speed everything get wrong including time.
Old analysis:
After reading the previously mentioned page 5 which you can preview also. It seems to me that the author couldn't explain the real phenomenon or that I didn't understand a word (possible but that also says something about the book.
It is interesting to see that the conclusions at the end of the page are right but the previous digression is totally wrong!
The problem: 2 astronauts move at constant speed (inertial frame fr) with respect a third one-not mentioned in the text but referred as the empty space (ether revisited?)-keeping a constant distance between them (according to the moving astronauts only!). The fact is that all 3 see the same speed of light and equal to c, no matter how each one moves with respect to the others.
In the text is suggested that if the two astronauts change theirs speed referred to the third one, but keep their distance according to them by hypothesis, their clocks (the moving ones) would get out of synchrony one from the other. That assertion is wrong!! that would suppose that one could detect an absolute speed just looking at your clock and seeing the time difference between two observers in the same inertial frame which according to the relativity theory is impossible. First of all there is no such a thing as an absolute speed, speed is always referred to an observer. Second when they instantaneously change their speed, the distance between them -according to the observer- is reduced (Lorentz transform).Third the time is delayed-again according to the observer that didn't change his speed- by Lorentz transform. So finally all converge to show that they still are in synchrony.
The best way to see it is with a minkowski diagram (see wikipedia for more information ).
The crucial point here is that for the astronauts in movement the distance between them has not changed, neither has the speed of light. So the time the light takes to travel between both astronauts doesn't change either (according to them). Hence there is no such a delay for the astronauts in their inertial frame.
what about the astronaut not moving (according to his own frame of reference)?
Well, in that case is necessary to do some math.
For those of you who want a math explanation, here it is:
Let's see that the distance and time were contracted to certain values x and t for the 2 moving astronauts (referred to the frame of the lonely astronaut-"not moving"). So if according to the text, time were not synchronised for the moving astronauts, then there would be a difference in the speed of light measure among the 2 inertial frames.( Remember they had a delay according to the text)

To prove that there is no delay in the arriving of the light of the second astronaut It suffices to show that the new time between the 2 astronauts is equal to the new distance divided by c, because that is the way to synchronize clocks.So (new time) = (new distance)/c or what is the same (new distance)/(new time) = c.
Lorentz transform between the 2 astronauts in the moving frame referred to the lonely astronaut.:
Let's @= 1/sqrt(1 - v^2/c^2) then

x' = @*(x +v*t)
t' = @*(t +v*x/c^2)

One should do {x(1)' - x(0)'}/{t(1)'-t(0)'} and prove that is equal to c
But the x(0)'=0 and t(0)'=0 (the origin in both frame coincide) so the problem is reduced to x(1)'/t(1)'or simply:

x'/t'= (x + v*t)/(t+v*x/c^2)but x/t = c (by hypothesis the light speed is equal to c and must be the quotient between distance x on time t)

thenx'/t' = t*(x/t+ v)/(t*(1+v/c^2*x/t)) simplifying
x'/t' =t/t*(c+v)/(1+v/c) = 1*(c+v)/[(c+v)/c] then
x'/t' = c

I give 2 stars as a warning, after the reading I have serious doubts about the book..
I rather would consider a book written by a physic not a Dr. in M.D.
Please correct me if I'm wrong.

4-0 out of 5 stars Very readable and detailed (yes page 5 is correct)
This 450 page book covers Special Relativity in ~50 pages and the remainder of the book is devoted to General Relativity.Some of the chapters have very little math and their point is to give a verbal description of the key points of SR and GR.However, the bulk of the book is devoted to developing the math of General Relativity in all of its gory details.

It's been said that Special Relativity can be understood, using only High School Math, but that's certainly not true for GR.So this book will be highly useful for those who are trying to tackle the "heights" of GR because there isn't any other book (i.e. non-textbook) that attempts to do that for the general reader.For those, looking only to understand SR, another book like Mermin's "It's About Time" is probably much better.

There's a number of reviews that discuss page 5 and whether or not it's a big blunder on the part of the author.To be honest- I'm not sure myself esp. after the previous review.The question is whether the author is incorrectly saying time dilation can occur in the case of two spaceships which are NOT "moving" wrt each other.(My take is the author is talking about simultaneity and NOT time dilation.)

He covers time dilation explicity on page 17, and does it correctly I believe.Either way, the book is really devoted to GR, so for those readers interested in that topic, it may not matter much.

The book truly does cover all the math of GR, but I'm not qualified to say if his coverage is correct.However, it's definitely much more user-friendly than a real physics textbook, and the author writes well.

Update:Page 5 is correct.The other 2 reviewers below are confused- check out the relativity book by Lillian Lieber (one of Jagerman's references), which was favorably reviewed by Einstein.It has the same thought experiment with more detail.

5-0 out of 5 stars Mr One Star is wrong!
The thought experiment is not wrong,the whole point being made was that the ships A & B although at rest "relative" to each other were not at rest "relative" to the vacuum and hence the invariance in the "propagation" velocity of em radiation caused "relative" errors in time of reception. Remember they were in rectilinear motion, say they were moving at .5c relative to the vacuum, then you cant have the forward moving pulse moving at 1.5c through the vacuum and the responding pulse moving backwards at .5c just to keep the timing right! thats the whole point of this. The speed of light is "invariant" to the inertial frame. please reread and retract. oh yeah by the way the book is GREAT buy it! Regards.
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5-0 out of 5 stars Informative and intersting
Although initially it did not appear to follow an easy step by step guide but as you progress through the pages this becomes more and more apparent. This is perhaps because the nature of the topic is as such that makes it difficult to know where to start with.The book deals with problems in a fascinating and informative way and makes it fun for the reader. It is a type of book that you do not want to put down. This is a wonderful book providing the reader has a secondary school mathematical background. I strongly recommend this book to be taught to the undergraduate students of relativity and cosmology. This is to make them have a better feel for the subject area and appreciate the subject more and recognise the beauty of the topic and not think of it merely a set of lifeless equations. ... Read more

9. General Relativity
by Robert M. Wald
Paperback: 506 Pages (1984-06-15)
list price: US$48.00 -- used & new: US$41.71
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Asin: 0226870332
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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"Wald's book is clearly the first textbook on general relativity with a totally modern point of view; and it succeeds very well where others are only partially successful.The book includes full discussions of many problems of current interest which are not treated in any extant book, and all these matters are considered with perception and understanding."--S. Chandrasekhar

"A tour de force: lucid, straightforward, mathematically rigorous, exacting in the analysis of the theory in its physical aspect."--L. P. Hughston, Times Higher Education Supplement

"Truly excellent. . . . A sophisticated text of manageable size that will probably be read by every student of relativity, astrophysics, and field theory for years to come."--James W. York, Physics Today ... Read more

Customer Reviews (22)

5-0 out of 5 stars Can be used for self-study as a solid introduction to GR
I bought this book mainly because of its description at the MIT OpenCourseWare webpage, which is the following:

"The GR überbuch; typically the final arbiter of right and wrong in this subject. Quite mathematically sophisticated, and rather terse."

My experience with it consists of working through the first six chapters (Part I. Fundamentals) plus apendices B and C. This amounts to the material covered in most standard first courses on General Relativity. Wald's presentation is very readable, while elegant and concise. The above mentioned chapters and apendices add up to 175 pages. It took me one third of my study time during five months to work through these pages. I found this very rewarding.

About self-study and the background necessary to read this book.

I did not use this book for self-study, but as text for the GR course I was taking. It seems to me that the book is adequate for self-study, because I got a lot out of it even though the lectures differed greatly from Wald's presentation and choice of topics.

There aren't many specific prerequisites for reading this book, since General Relativity doesn't build up on (almost) anything - it is (in some sense) fundamental. Freshmen Calculus, Physics and Linear Algebra plus some Mathematical/Physical maturity are all that is needed. Maturity is the most serious requirement. I took General Relativity as a fourth year Mathematics undergraduate. I had no preparation in Special Relativity and at some point it felt like I had a logical but lacked a physical understanding of some formulas. My way around this was refering to the more conversational, introductory book on Special Relativity by Taylor and Wheeler Spacetime Physics.

4-0 out of 5 stars One more time through General Relativity
A couple of months ago I decided to carry out some research in quantum gravity, mainly in connection with the model recently proposed by Petr Horava. A brief review of General Relativity was, then, in order. My old books on the subject, "Gravitation and Cosmology" (S. Weinberg) and "The Classical Theory of Fields" (L. D. Landau and E. M. Lifshitz), are OK but I felt I should read another book. The recommendation from my colleagues was almost unanimous: General Relativity by Robert Wald. I really like it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Bob Wald's book
I am probably a bit biased being that Bob Wald is friend of mine and I am a former student but here it goes.

Wald's book (based on Bob Geroch's lectures) is a wonderfully concise and intuitive book for any inspiring relativist.The cosmology is certainly a bit dated and some comments are correct for the time but no longer apply with the advent of modern computing.Despite these draw backs, his treatment of linearized gravity (ala perturbation theory) as well as the Action Appendix are pure gems.He discusses the Palatini approach and shows that with the Einstein-Hilbert Action that they are one and the same.However, this little section was part of the inspiration to develop modified gravity theories in the Palatini Formalism and to show that they are different than the Einstein Formalism.I particularly enjoyed the Conformal transformation appendix and the Chapters 7 and 9 from his book.As for being an Introduction to GR, I would not recommend it for astrophysics students or classes that are hybrid graduate/undergraduate.It is for serious students of GR.Combined with John Friedman's lecture notes and De Carmo's Differential Geometry text, the student can with what passes for ease begin work in General Relativity.

5-0 out of 5 stars A beautiful book

Something that seems to seldom be addressed in recommended textbooks for university courses is the degree to which different books suit different people. I own two other General Relativity books: MTW and Dirac's book. Additionally I have often used Weinberg's book. Wald's book again and again has been the book that I have got the most out of when seeking to understand some particular facet of the subject more.

I suppose that the book may appeal to more geometrically and mathematically minded people (the emphasis on geometry being in stark contrast to Weinberg's book). One may argue that other textbooks are superior for giving an intuition about the most familiar consequences of general relativity but I think this book is amongst the very best in terms of providing a solid mathematical toolkit with which one can use to approach an arbitrary problem. I guess this is one definition of understanding General Relativity!

5-0 out of 5 stars excellent but beware of small books on large and complex topics
Wald is excellent, but realize what you're purchasing.Wald is a very compact book for such a large and complex topic.IMHO it is a monograph of MTW's Gravity - that is, it assumes you already know General Relativity and attempts to build upon that.

Allow me to ramble and digress.If you're coming in from the cold (ie. college sophmore level physics and math), be prepared to invest in a few other books.In my case, I bought Wald a couple of years ago.I plowed through Part I. Fundamentals and after honest reflection, realized the book was raising more questions than answers.If you find yourself going to google more than reading, that's a sign it's happenning to you!

Wald may seem like a bargain (<$50) but here's the cash outlay from supplemental books:
1. Hartle, Gravity, ~$50.Provides problem solving mechanics of applying einstein's equation.
2. Carroll, Spacetime and Geometry, ~$50.Provides a few derivations which Hartle leaves out.
3. MTW, Gravitation, ~$125.Provides intuition and visualization to Einstein's equation.
4. Schutz, A First Course, ~$30.This book is optional.I only read this because alot of other people did.It's essentially an attempt to dumb down general relativity at the undergraduate college level.

So why do I rank this text 5 stars.After reading the texts above Wald's purpose became immediately clear - to modernize MTW from a mathematical perspective.Wald succeeds with flying colors.For example, I was especially excited discovering and realizing after re-reading Wald that the proof of theorem 2.2 was a detailed answer to one of my homework problems in my differential topology class! ... Read more

10. Albert Einstein and the Theory of Relativity (Barrons Solution Series)
by Robert Cwiklik
Paperback: 192 Pages (1987-10-26)
list price: US$6.99 -- used & new: US$2.99
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Asin: 0812039211
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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This series introduces young, inquisitive readers to the world's greatest science thinkers and the challenges they faced. Einstein's astonishing theory of relativity transformed every aspect of physics--from the study of atoms to the study of stars. Here his "Theory of Relativity" is explained in simple, accurate language that young readers can comprehend. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

2-0 out of 5 stars Patronizing And Verbose
This book is patronizing and verbose.For example, there is a passage in which Einstein reflects upon his appearance as he stands before a mirror.Surely this entire episode was invented to fill space since no historian would ever record such mundane private thoughts.This wasted space might have been used to discuss the physics that made Einstein famous.Instead, this book contains long passages on history and politics but only limited discussion of science.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good bio of America's favorite wacky scientist
I read this book in elementary school and fully understood it.This book provides a good biography of Albert Einstein, a good introduction to the world of physics at the beginning of the 20th century, and how Einstein's theory of relativity changed it.The book traces Einstein's life from birth in Germany, his move to Switzerland where he made a name for himself while moonlighting as a patent office clerk, and his move to the USA to escape the Nazis.

The book balances both Einstein's scientific achievements and his political ones too.The latter include his letter to the US president on the possibilities of nuclear weapons, and his later stance of pacificism and nuclear disarmament.Another plus of this text is its willingness to address Einstein's Jewishness, how this affected his life and career, and how he dealt with bigotry and prejudice due to his faith and heritage.The book does leave out Einstein's marital problems, which is probably the best for a book addressed to pre high school students.Overall a good book.

3-0 out of 5 stars My views on Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein and the Theory of Relativity is a pretty good book but I had a little bit of hard time under standing some of it. This Bibliography was on Albert Einstein who is know for his many theories and thoughts like E=mc2. Albert Einstein was born on March 14, 1879 in Ulm Germany. He was the son of Hermann and Pauline Koch Einstein. He had a younger sister, Maria, whom he called Maja born in 1881 Hermann moved the family to Munich when Einstein was two. When he was five he was given a compass and he started to become curious about how things work. Albert wasunhappy early on in school because he had been told it was a place to learn about ideas and far -away places. But it was a place to memorize and repeat lessons. A lot of his learning came on his own. He won the noble pirze in 1921 and was named TIME magazine's "Person of the Century." He was a very inspiring and impressive scientist. He did not just work as a scientist for Germany, but in many countries. It was very interesting to learn about all he accomplished and what his discoveries meant to our world.

4-0 out of 5 stars Einstein and the Theory of Relativity
In 1879 Albert Einstein was born in Ulm, Germany. He moved to Munich, Germany when he was a baby. When Einstein was a child, he witnessed the town theater being lighted up by his father and uncle's D.C. generator. In that time his town did not have electricity. Later that night he was marveled by the power of light. He was determined to find the secret behind light and the way it worked.
As a child Einstein did not enjoy school at all. He usually daydreamed in class and was not interested in what the rest of the class was doing.He also hated the teachers and the way they taught.He thought they were like the military, strict and very unimaginative. Soon his family left for Italy and left Einstein behind to finish school. He became the class clown and was later expelled from school. The author tells all the things that Einstein went through as a child, as a young adult, and as a man.
What I liked about the book was all the theories, experiments, and the way the author describes everything so thoroughly. I recommend this book for people who are interested in famous American heroes or are just interested in Albert Einstein. I really hope you read this book.

4-0 out of 5 stars My Science Students Say "This book is really cool"
I am a 5th grade science teacher and require my students to read and report on a scientist biography each semester.This book does an excellent job of retelling the story of Einstein's life, including his lifechallanges (personal and academic).The book deals with the Nazi rise topower of the 30's and its effects of the scienctific community.This isall done while still giving a accurate and understandable explaiation ofEinstein's work.And, most importantly, my students really enjoy it. ... Read more

11. Introduction to Tensor Calculus, Relativity and Cosmology
by D. F. Lawden
Paperback: 224 Pages (2003-01-27)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$10.29
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0486425401
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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This elementary introduction pays special attention to aspects of tensor calculus and relativity that students tend to find most difficult. Its use of relatively unsophisticated mathematics in the early chapters allows readers to develop their confidence within the framework of Cartesian coordinates before undertaking the theory of tensors in curved spaces and its application to general relativity theory. Additional topics include black holes, gravitational waves, and a sound background in applying the principles of general relativity to cosmology. Numerous exercises advance the theoretical developments of the main text, thus enhancing this volume's appeal to students of applied mathematics and physics at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. 1982 ed.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Tensors and Relativity for high-functioning amateurs
As a writer and philosopher I have tried to get a genuine scientific understanding of topics like quantum physics and relativity. Treatments tend to be either over-simplified (no math) or presume you are very competent at graduate-level math. My past efforts have raised my math competence to the point where this book, for me, is at a near-perfect level. I found the explanation and use of tensors tied to physics in a way that helped me with both subjects.

I was also pleased with the treatment of general relativity. Many books give good accounts of special relativity, but this is the best presentation of general relativity that includes the mathematics involved.

I would recommend this to anyone who is willing to do the math. But without at least a basic understanding of vectors and partial derivatives, you will not be able to follow the text.

3-0 out of 5 stars Good but dated, only for beginners
This book provides a good introduction to the basics of both the special and the general Theory of Relativity. I do not, however, like its style entirely. It is a little dated, too. For example, for the special part of the theory, the author sticks to Cartesian tensors only, which is advantageous only from the vintage of a student interested in... Special Relativity! This wastes time; moreover, I regard the choice of x_4 = ict unfortunate. Finally, despite the book being only 205 pages long and covering a reasonable amount of basic stuff, the style is wordy.

Study elsewhere (the book by D'Inverno is OK, the ones by Schutz and Wald rock), and if you feel the need for practice with some elementary point, go for the exercises in this book.

3-0 out of 5 stars A reasonable introduction, but outdated and superceded
I bought this work years ago as an undergraduate and worked through most of it. It does a decent job of presenting the basics, though generally in an old-fashioned approach to the subject. I have never found occasion to return to it (except to write this review). There are quite a few texts that do a better job. For example, at the undergraduate level there is Hartle's excellent text and for the more serious student Carroll's and Wald's books are the solid standard texts. In short, I advise bypassing this little volume, despite its tempting price.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent book for self learners
I'm really impressed with the clarity of the material.
I've worked through 21 problems in chapter 2, and the answers to the exercies do not have a single mistake in them yet.

The publisher will also email you a .pdf file of all of the chapter problems worked out in detail. I've found the solutions to the problems to be a good supplement to the text itself.

I would buy other titles from this author and publisher.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good introduction to the topic
This book is very good for those seeking an introduction to Tensor Calculus, Relativity and Cosmology. Nothing more than a basic and fundamental know-how of physics is required, atleast for the first few chapters. If you're comfortable with the simple basics of linear algebra, classical mechanics, electromagnetics and calculus, you should have no problem with this book.

The book starts out with a basic review of classical physics and very quickly progresses to the Lorentz Transformation, and then to Cartesian Tensors and Special Relativity. Lawden handles the flow quite well, and covers the basic Special Relativity mechanics & electrodynamics as well as general Tensor Calculus & Riemann Spaces. Finally, he proceeds to discuss the General Theory of Relativity with a strong focus on Black Holes & Gravitational waves and analyzes elements of Cosmology in the light of the General Theory of Relativity.

However, I would not recommend this book in and of itself for learning Tensor Calculus. Unfortunately, Lawden does not have any relevant references to Quantum Mechanics, either, which would have proven to be immensely useful to the novice reader. You'd also do well to brush up on your physics fundamentals before jumping head-on.

This book primarily acts as a very basic introduction to those that are not familiar with some aspects of elementary modern physics such as Tensor Calculus and Relativity, and does an extremely good job of that.

Personally, I'd highly recommend this book if you're looking to read up on Relativity & related areas. ... Read more

12. An Illustrated Guide to Relativity
by Tatsu Takeuchi
Paperback: 266 Pages (2010-10-18)
list price: US$28.99 -- used & new: US$26.09
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0521141001
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Aimed at both physics students and non-science majors, this unique book explains Einstein's special theory of relativity pictorially, using diagrams rather than equations. The diagrams guide the reader, step-by-step, from the basics of relativity to advanced topics including the addition of velocities, Lorentz contraction, time dilation, the twin paradox, Doppler shift, and Einstein's famous equation E=mc². The distinctive figures throughout the book enable the reader to visualize the theory in a way that cannot be fully conveyed through equations alone. The illustrative explanations in this book maintain the logic and rigour necessary for physics students, yet are simple enough to be understood by non-scientists. The book also contains entertaining problems which challenge the reader's understanding of the materials covered. ... Read more

13. Inside Relativity
by Delo E. Mook, Thomas Vargish
Paperback: 322 Pages (1991-03-01)
list price: US$30.95 -- used & new: US$14.00
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Asin: 0691025207
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Here a physicist and a professor of literature guide general readers through the ideas that revolutionized our conception of the physical universe. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Good book
I am reading this book as part of the required/recommended reading for Einstein's Relativity and the Quantum Revolution: Modern Physics for Non-Scientists course by The Teaching Company. I find that this book is easy to follow, the examples and illustrations are quite good. It also does well serving mathematics "on the side", if you want it.It has helped my understanding of classical physics concepts and will help me with modern physics as I continue reading, I'm sure.

P.S. If you're taking this Teaching Company course, I would suggest reading all the required and recommended material to get the most out of the course.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Unique Expose of Einstein's Relativity
There are hundreds of books that claim to simplify the theory of relativity for the general public. "Inside Relativity" is among the few that actually achieve this goal without loosing the beauty of Einstein's theories. The strength of the book comes from the structure as well as its cogent language. Many others fail to set the context for Einstein's entrance into the scientific scene but Mook & Vargish do this quite masterfully. There are many valuable references sprinkled throughout the book. I did consult few of them before finishing the book and that may have biased my opinion. This book should be on your bookshlef even if you think you know what Relativity is all about.

4-0 out of 5 stars Inside Relativity
Well written so the person not a professional scientist can understand.

5-0 out of 5 stars Inside Inside Relativity
This book is an OUTSTANDING expose of Einstein's Special and General theories of Relativity.It explains by way of analogy (which relativity lends itself to) in a way that is extremely accesable while remaining veryinformative.The book helps clearly underscore many of the fascinatingconsequences of Einstein's theory. ... Read more

14. Relativity Visualized
by Lewis Carroll Epstein
Paperback: 206 Pages (1985)
list price: US$26.95 -- used & new: US$99.95
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Asin: 093521805X
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Perfect for those interested in physics but who are not physicists or mathematicians, this book makes relativity so simple that a child can understand it. By replacing equations with diagrams, the book allows non-specialist readers to fully understand the concepts in relativity without the slow, painful progress so often associated with a complicated scientific subject. It allows readers not only to know how relativity works, but also to intuitively understand it.
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Customer Reviews (30)

3-0 out of 5 stars This book isn't worth that much
Frankly, I have no idea why this book is valued at $150 new.It simply isn't worth that much.It's an OK book, with lots of illustrations, but the illustrations are just illustrations and do not form an integral part of the narrative.The narrative itself is not particularly original and similar expositions can be found by many other authors, What Is the Theory of Relativity by Landau and Rumer for example which costs only $14.50.If you buy this book hoping that it will provide you with a revelation about relativity, it will disappoint you.

5-0 out of 5 stars Not Enough Stars for This One
In attempting to learn Einstein's theories of relativity (both special and general) I've accumulated pounds of books and DVD's, and no kidding, this is the best one yet. Not only is this book better than all of the others combined, but it's really all you need. As the title implies, the author uses primarily a visual approach to explain these theories.

Most of the book deals with special relativity (linear-moving frames of reference with no forces at all acting on them), and I already had a pretty good handle on that. My motive in buying this book was that it also deals with general relativity (gravity) and none - absolutely none - of my other books or DVD's covered that in any detail whatsoever.

Now, just because this book seems (to me) to be complete and understandable, this does not mean it's an easy ride - Mr. Epstein is excellent trail guide, but the trail is rough. There are equations, which means you'll have to remember your high school algebra-I, but the equations are not all that bad. If my 66-year-old brain, over a half-century removed from high school, can make sense of these equations, I'm sure you'll be fine.

More importantly, many things that you have found intuitive and common-sense to this point are going to be significantly challenged as speeds become relativistic (i.e. a significant percentage of the speed of light). Don't be surprised if you have to re-read chapters until you get the picture. Relativity is not intuitive and takes a lot of getting used to, but it's achievable.

In the arena of general relativity, this book really shines. Explaining general relativity on a two-dimensional page is next to impossible, so the author gives you some home experiments (paper, pen and scissors) where you can demonstrate the principles to yourself. The author's explanations of this not-at-all-easy subject borders on genius. On your first read, you may bypass the experiments, but I'll bet you get to them eventually. These experiments and explations are so clear, a high school senior could use them to build a legitimate science-fair project.

As I went through the book, I checked to see if a) the author covered all the ground that my other media did and if b) he added to my knowledge. The author passed with flying colors for special relativity, and for general relativity this author provided almost ALL my knowledge.

But there's bad news. This book is no longer in print, and as of the time of this posting, not an awful lot of used copies are being offered. If you want to learn the concepts of relativity, or know someone who does, I'd get a copy fast, because I don't think many owners of this book are going to be parting with it. In my case, this book will become part of my estate.

5-0 out of 5 stars The principle of relativity
The special theory of relativity was published in 1905, the general theory in 1915, though you wouldn't know it from the general ignorance of their most basic statements. Relativity Visualized is my favorite introduction to the subject, in a field crowded with good work, including what was written by Einstein.

If you would like to know why time passes more slowly for a moving object, you need only consult the light-clock diagram in Chapter 4. This illustration alone is worth the price of the book.

Why can we not travel faster than light? You'll find the answer in Chapter 5. "The reason you can't go faster than the speed of light is that you can't go slower. There is only one speed. Everything, including you, is always moving at the speed of light. How can you be moving if you are at rest in a chair? You are moving through time." An object moving through space must divert some of the speed it should be using for traveling through time. At the speed of light, there is no speed left for traveling through time. Photons do not age.

Those who want a little mathematics with their exposition might try Spacetime Physics, by Taylor and Wheeler. I prefer the first edition to the current one; the hardcover is nice, but the paperback edition with the maroon cover has the answers to the problems at the back of the book.

If you want a look at Einstein's papers, they're available in paperback from Dover, The Principle of Relativity. In closing, I will mention The Einstein Theory of Relativity: A Trip to the Fourth Dimension by Lillian Lieber.

5-0 out of 5 stars The title says it all
This is the best and easiest to understand explanation of relativity theory that I have come across. If you would like to to understand relativity try this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Anyone can understand this complex phenomena
You do not have to be a physics major to understand the nature of Einstein's theory of relativity.This book provides a natural progression of easily-understood examples that cover all the core concepts.It really gets your mind thinking about the nature of space and time.If you ever wanted to know more about physics and these previously elusive and seemingly convoluted areas of science, this is the book to get. ... Read more

15. Relativity A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
by Russell Stannard
Paperback: 144 Pages (2008-08-15)
list price: US$11.95 -- used & new: US$5.75
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Asin: 0199236224
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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If you move at high speed, time slows down, space squashes up and you get heavier. Travel fast enough and you could weigh as much as a jumbo jet, be flattened thinner than a CD without feeling a thing-and live forever! As for the angles of a triangle, they do not always have to add up to 180 degrees. And then, of course, there are black holes. These are but a few of the extraordinary consequences of Einstein's theory of relativity. It is now over a hundred years since he made these discoveries, and yet the general public is still largely unaware of them.Filled with illuminating anecdotes and fascinating accounts of experiments, this book aims to introduce the interested lay person to the subject of relativity in a way which is accessible and engaging and at the same time scientifically rigorous. With relatively few mathematical equations--nothing more complicated than the Pythagoras's Theorem--this VSI packs a lot time into very little space, and for anyone who has felt intimidated by Einstein's groundbreaking theory, it offers the perfect place to start. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars An absolutely great introduction
Many years ago, Stannard was a tutor on my physics course and gave lectures on Special Relativity.He was very good, with an obvious love of his subject and a genuine desire to communicate the ideas to others.

It's quite surprising how many physicists never go beyond the Special theory to get a firm grasp of the General theory.Stannard is a notable exception.

Returning to the subject many years later, I naturally chose a book by him.And in any case, I'm gradually working my way through the entire VSI series.

I really do think that this is the best book with which to start if you want to tackle Relativity, and an excellent refresher if you have already studied the subject.It clarified many things for me and introduced a few completely new ideas.

The math is fairly simple, certainly nothing beyond high school level, although the square root symbol written as a V had me puzzled for a moment.

The Amazon product description says the book has 144 pages.In fact its 114, about par for this series.

Also, the Look Inside feature here will reveal some typos, like the '3/5 = 0.67' error on page 7, pointed out by another reviewer.In the copy I bought (from Amazon) these errors are corrected.

5-0 out of 5 stars Compact and very readable book
This book is only 109-pages long, with a small 4x6 inch text area, yet it manages to pack quite a bit into such a small package. In my opinion it provides a very good introduction to Special and General Relativity with a bit on the cosmological implications of these theories.There are numerous very helpful illustrations, a few equations, and a little simple math. I would have liked to have had a bit more in the way of explanations of some of the ideas that are presented, but that would have been beyond the goal of the books in the "Very Short Introduction" series that have been prepared by Oxford University Press.

I would recommend this book to someone who wants a very brief introduction.It is however a bit more complex than Martin Gardner's classic "Relativity Simply Explained", but much more accessible than many other "Introductory Relativity" books.I have read many of these book and I still found that this book clarified several things for me.

5-0 out of 5 stars Relatively short introduction
When "Time" magazine chose Albert Einstein as the person of the century for the 20th century it was due to his incredible intellectual achievements. Among those, two stand as particularly remarkable, becoming forever uniquely associated with their inventor, in minds of general public and professional scientists alike. These are the special and general theories of relativity. Their reputation is fully deserved. The two theories of relativity forever changed the way that we look at the space, time and matter. They touch upon our deepest understanding of physical reality and their core principles have stood the test of time, a remarkable achievement after a century full of usurpations of some of our most cherished notions.

The special and general relativity also have a reputation of being incredibly complex and hard to understand. In the case of special relativity this has primarily to do with the non-intuitive way that the world of four dimensions appears to us. In the case of general relativity, however, the complexity is substantially increased by the use of very advanced mathematical structures that it requires. And yet, all of the mathematical and conceptual implications of relativity stem from a few very simple ideas: the relativity of all reference frames, the constancy of the speed of light, and the equivalence of acceleration and gravitational field. It is a remarkable achievement of Russell Stannard's book to explain so much with just a very basic application of those principles. This makes it possible for a general reader to appreciate these beautiful theories without having to get bogged down in heavy mathematics. All examples in the book are intuitive and accessible. The illustrations are clear and serve to reinforce the main points in the text. One of the particularly remarkable features of this thin book is that it gives a full treatment of the "Twins Paradox" taking into the account the principles of general relativity - something that is usually brushed over in many other treatments.

The only problem with the book that I have concerns a few math examples that are used. The math notation is not quite clear, and even as simple a math symbol as a square root is printed in a very inadequate way. Also, there are a few glaring math mistakes (3/5 is not .67), but overall these are minor points that don't distract too much from the main content of the book.

I would strongly recommend this book as a good starting point for learning about relativity. ... Read more

16. Geometry, Relativity and the Fourth Dimension
by Rudolf v.B. Rucker
Paperback: 133 Pages (1977-06-01)
list price: US$7.95 -- used & new: US$4.23
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Asin: 0486234002
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Exposition of fourth dimension, concepts of relativity as Flatland characters continue adventures. Popular, easily followed yet accurate, profound. Topics include curved space time as a higher dimension, special relativity and shape of space-time. Accessible to layman but also of interest to specialist. 141 illustrations.
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Customer Reviews (22)

2-0 out of 5 stars geometry, relativity and the fourth dimemsion
too abstract. Didn't touch on relativity until the 4th chapter and had trouble following the book til then.

5-0 out of 5 stars Well Written Introduction to the Fourth Dimension
A great mathematical read! Fascinating diagrams. Begins with accessible concepts for all who love geometry. Gets into spacetime later in the book. Considers some philosophical/spiritual elements too, but mostly geared toward math and physics. A classic read. Highly recommend!

5-0 out of 5 stars Good intro to related topics to Special Relativity
I found this work to be quite readable and something I can introduce to people with less math background.However, reading the book raises more questions than answers in my mind regarding the history of mathematics.For example, non-Euclidean geometry has been around for a long time and is the basis for ancient systems of navigation.

Similarly, for those who have studied the history of astrology (and its initimate relationship in the ancient world to navigation and agriculture), a great number of things (for example, the divisions of the houses) are all based on spherical geometry and many go back nearly two thousand years.For anyone who has ever known that the earth was a sphere, many of these problems were largely taken for granted.The only real problem with disproving Euclid's 5th postulate has been defining parallel lines on a sphere.I am not entirely sure that Rucker answers this in looking at the flattened sphere because the sphere could be rotated to make any two lines parallel.

Otherwise, I think this is a decent beginner book relating to the subjects in question.It is a useful work and I would generally highly recommend it as an introduction.

4-0 out of 5 stars Instructive, and interesting
I found the book to be both educational, in that I learned great deal about geomtery and the history of diemsions from this book, as well as being fun to read. Both interesting and intellectually stimulating--I find this combination rare. I recommend ths book to anyone interested in the field.

4-0 out of 5 stars With few exceptions, it is a readable, stepwise explanation of how the universe is structured
To understand relativity, it is necessary to understand geometry, specifically how a straight line can be curved. For nearly everyone, any attempt to understand four-dimensional space begins with understanding how a three-dimensional creature would appear to a two-dimensional one. One of the earliest and still the greatest of all introductions to going up a dimension is "Flatland" by Edwin A. Abbott. Quite naturally and sensibly, Rucker starts with Abbott's rendition of the properties of Flatland.
Rucker then moves on to the idea of curved space, where the shortest distance between two points is a "straight line", which is curved by the properties of the space. The space that we occupy is curved by the presence of matter, as Einstein claimed in his relativity theories. Furthermore, movement causes shrinkage in the direction of the movement and the slowing of time, which causes time to become just another dimension of space. As counterintuitive as this may appear, Einstein's relativity theory has been verified over and over again to a large number of significant figures.
One of the best things about this book is that Rucker has included problems at the end of each chapter. These problems reinforce the concepts of the chapter; it is unfortunate that no solutions were included.
In this book, Rucker steps the reader through all of the background material necessary to understand relativity and four-dimensional space. With few exceptions, the accounts are understandable to anyone with an understanding of college algebra.
... Read more

17. Relativity and Its Roots
by Banesh Hoffmann
Paperback: 176 Pages (1998-12-23)
list price: US$9.95 -- used & new: US$6.18
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Asin: 0486406768
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Using simple examples from everyday life, an Einstein scholar offers entertaining, nontechnical demonstrations of the meaning of relativity theory. Starting with the geometrical and cosmological ideas of the ancient Greeks, the author traces the theory’s development from its basis in work by Kepler, Galileo, Newton, Faraday, Maxwell, and other scientists. Easily understood analogies and numerous instructive diagrams make this volume ideal for those with no math or science background. 1983 edition. Index.
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Customer Reviews (4)

3-0 out of 5 stars Some interesting history but with clarity problems
Some interesting information from the history of science here, but this book suffers from trying to give technical explanations of scientific laws and phenomena without having the proper space to devote to those technical explanations.Also, in many places the writing is just unclear -- I've seen a lot of these things explained a lot more clearly elsewhere.

5-0 out of 5 stars Relativity in Perspective
Relativity and Its Roots straddles the line between physics and history of science. It explores the development of an idea. You'd expect a book with "Relativity" in its title to concentrate on Einstein, especially as it is written by one of his colleagues. In fact Einstein does not enter the picture till the penultimate chapter. The story of Relativity starts with the Greeks and takes time to tell.

What I found most useful was Hoffmann's exploration of the thought processes of the scientists who advanced the theory. They often do not follow the standard stories of scientific discovery. Maxwell developed his theory of Electromagnetism not by thinking of mathematical symmetry but by following a mechanistic explanation of phenomena. He then removed this mechanistic scaffolding leaving us with the elegant mathematical theory. You come away from the book with new insights into both the way the universe works and the way great minds think.

Both the scientifically trained and the layman can learn from the book. It is written without equations in the main body. They can be found in the notes for those who appreciate them.

5-0 out of 5 stars On Hoffmann's "Relativity and its Roots"
Many books attempt to expound the complexities of modern thinking in physics, but few achieve their objective as well as Hoffmann's "Relativity and its Roots." Hoffmann gives a superb overview of the history of thought in physics. He also gives vibrant descriptions of difficult concepts, leading the reader in the most natural way toward a solid understanding of Relativity theory and the foundations upon which it is built. In my opinion, this book ranks with the best of popular expositions both on the history of scientific thought in physics, and on modern physics itself. I recommend it for the non-initiated as well as for the seasoned scientist.

4-0 out of 5 stars fascinating and approachable
Relativity and its Roots is more than an assembly of Einstein's work, it'sa rich volume of scientific history leading up to hisdiscoveries.Thebook starts with the early philosophical and geometrical ideas of thegreeks and guides the reader up to and beyond the breakthroughs made in themiddle ages.Complete with dozens of explanitory diagrams, it's one readthat will change your perception of our universe. ... Read more

18. Relativity, Gravitation and Cosmology: A Basic Introduction (Oxford Master Series in Physics)
by Ta-Pei Cheng
Paperback: 400 Pages (2010-01-11)
list price: US$49.95 -- used & new: US$39.50
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Asin: 0199573646
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Einstein's general theory of relativity is introduced in this advanced undergraduate and beginning graduate level textbook. Topics include special relativity, in the formalism of Minkowski's four-dimensional space-time, the principle of equivalence, Riemannian geometry and tensor analysis, Einstein field equation, as well as many modern cosmological subjects, from primordial inflation and cosmic microwave anisotropy to the dark energy that propels an accelerating universe.

The author presents the subject with an emphasis on physical examples and simple applications without the full tensor apparatus. The reader first learns how to describe curved spacetime. At this mathematically more accessible level, the reader can already study the many interesting phenomena such as gravitational lensing, precession of Mercury's perihelion, black holes, and cosmology. The full tensor formulation is presented later, when the Einstein equation is solved for a few symmetric cases. Many modern topics in cosmology are discussed in this book: from inflation, cosmic microwave anisotropy to the "dark energy" that propels an accelerating universe.

Mathematical accessibility, together with the various pedagogical devices (e.g., worked-out solutions of chapter-end problems), make it practical for interested readers to use the book to study general relativity and cosmology on their own. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Best book for self-study
Learning general relativity has always been a dream of mine.This book made it possible for me to learn GR on my own.A dream come true!

5-0 out of 5 stars The Fundamentals
Excellent overview text.Enough detail for people with a physics background; an alternative to an exhaustive course on general relativity.

5-0 out of 5 stars This book is a gem
Intermediate level, with clear presentation, lots of graphics and exercises, ideal for self-study. In one word, excellent.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Material to begin with and test yourself.
I'm a second year astrophysics student from Ireland.
Recently I've tried to learn the Mathematics of General Relativity in detail, outside of my course and have bought numerous books in the process.

In my opinion this book and "A First Course in General Relativity by Bernard F. Schutz" are perfect complementary texts to learn the main basis of General Relativity on your own.

The author has provided an unbelievable amount of questions and not a single one of them is pointless exercise.

The book is Divided into three sections:

Part 1: Metric description of Space-Time
Very well written intro to General Relativity which delves into Black Holes and Mercury's Orbit, without the full on Field Equation and Tensors.

Part 2: Cosmology
Still keeping to the metric description of space-time, cosmology is introduced. The mathematics of concepts like the closed and open universes are explained really well.

Part 3: Full Tensor Formulism
I was able to learn Tensors from this, using Chapter 3 from Schutz's book as a companion.

The questions at the end of each chapter really test your knowledge and after reading this you will be able to manipulate the field equation for simple cases and move onto more advanced books if you wish.
... Read more

19. Special Relativity (Mit Introductory Physics Series)
by A.P. French
Paperback: 296 Pages (1968-09-30)
list price: US$75.95 -- used & new: US$49.99
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Asin: 0748764224
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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The book opens with a description of the smooth transition from Newtonian to Einsteinian behaviour from electrons as their energy is progressively increased, and this leads directly to the relativistic expressions for mass, momentum and energy of a particle. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (9)

4-0 out of 5 stars Yep, it's a relativity textbook
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 angsty relativity specialists disagreeing with me - the math is the math is the math).I highly doubt anyone is buying this for any reason other than for a physics class, but on the off chance that someone is, here's some actual thoughts:it seems to be relatively well written and straightforward (if you can ever say relativity is straightforward).A bit dry, but it is a textbook.My copy is more than a bit faded since, well, it's from 1968, but it's still in good enough shape.I guess I would recommend it if you want to read a special relativity textbook for fun?

5-0 out of 5 stars Just Great
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.

3-0 out of 5 stars review
not for self study. a very good book for those who already have a grasp of relativity and wish to further their abilities. luckily, it has most of the answers in the back so you can use it to learn relativity for the first time if you so choose.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great!
This book was in good condition, and is very easy to follow.Recommended for anyone wanting to learn university level modern physics but not wanting to go cross-eyed or get lost!

5-0 out of 5 stars A Classic
I purchased this classic work at MIT, circa 1972, and have referenced it too times to remember.When I bought it, the book was part of the M.I.T. INTRODUCTORY PHYSICS SERIES.It contains about everything one could wish for on the subject matter.The derived transformations for acceleration and force (i.e. of d(mv)/dt) have been especially useful, and are not often included in other books.It is truly a gem, created by a world class physics instructor at the top of his game.G.R.Dixon. ... Read more

20. General Relativity from A to B
by Robert Geroch
Paperback: 233 Pages (1981-03-15)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$9.33
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Asin: 0226288641
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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"This beautiful little book is certainly suitable for anyone who has had an introductory course in physics and even for some who have not."--Joshua N. Goldberg, Physics Today

"An imaginative and convincing new presentation of Einstein's theory of general relativity. . . . The treatment is masterful, continual emphasis being placed on careful discussion and motivation, with the aim of showing how physicists think and develop their ideas."--Choice ... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

3-0 out of 5 stars interesting nonmathematical take; sometimes poor motivation and contact with experiment
This is a quirky book with an interesting idiosyncratic take on general relativity. It has a good, intelligible story-line that starts with the Aristotelian view of space and time, then moves on to Galileo and then to Einstein.

The heart of the book is the following construction. Suppose we have two events in spacetime, p and q. Define something called the "interval" between p and q by the following measurement procedure. (What I'll give is just one of the five cases he describes, the one in which no light ray can get from p to q or from q to p.) Let observer O, who has a clock, emit a photon that can be received at q. Let O then visit p, recording the elapsed time t2. O then resets his clock to zero. Meanwhile, the photon received at q is re-emitted back toward O. Finally, after an additional time t1, O receives the second photon. Define the interval as the product t2t1.

The definition of the interval is cute because it's extremely spartan. It requires almost no preliminary mathematical apparatus such as coordinate systems. On the other hand, I felt that Geroch didn't properly motivate the definition. He just pulls it out of his hat, says that nobody can ever know why this particular definition is appropriate for our universe, and only much later provides any reasoning that would allow the reader to see why it should be that way. He also has to introduce some approximations which are kind of ugly and not very clear (about p and q being sufficiently nearby). There's a lot of ugly case-splitting (five different cases, depending on whether p is in q's timelike lightcone, etc.).

The contact with experiment is very weak. You can tell that Geroch is a theorist.

5-0 out of 5 stars astonishing
For the last month, this book has been a great lunch-time companion.My favorite aspect of this book is not the fact that it explains relativity at a very deep level, but that it explains, at a very deep level, how a scientist thinks.I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys concentrated thinking (this book demands it!) I'm going to try to get my own son to read it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book
This really is a great book on general relativity. While it is not mathematically intensive, it is not just a simple introduction as one of the reviews here stated. While it's not a college course on the subject, I believe this book would enlighten many who have studied general relativity and give them some insights they didn't have before. Physics, after all, does translate to real concepts in the physical world. I never accepted the notion that certain things could only be known if you have a mathematical background (which I do have.) Ultimately, the math must mean something in the physical world and it's just a matter of teaching it properly, using the right metaphors, etc. This book does that very very well. I've read it a few times and will read it again in the future. There are certainly other aspects of general relativity that you can expand on, and there it certainly gets much more involved and complicated than what's presented here, but this is really a gem.

4-0 out of 5 stars Verbal Description of General Relativity
The author presents fundamental ideas of theory of relativity in a non-mathematical form using conversation approach to readers with little science background. The book is highly descriptive and the reader is bound to get bored since this is a discussion of about basic ideas about space and time using two-dimensional space-time diagrams. The first part of the book describes the notion of space and time in terms of Aristotelian and Galilean view points. The second half describes how the idea of spatial distance and elapsed time (interval) are incorporated into space time as geometrical entity. The author uses a general framework in this book for explaining general relativity. This is done by describing an event and assemble them into space-time (in a space-time diagram) and describe what is going-on in the physical world in terms of collection of events, and relationships between events is evaluated using measuring instruments such as light pulses and clocks. The intrinsic relationship between two events is described by interval (measured by physical experiences of observers). From the interval, one determines how light goes and how clock move and tick. The author eventually explains how equating intervals leads to relationship between `real' physical measurements. The interval is a sort of misty thing that stands in the background and integrates into space-time. In the final chapter the author discusses an application of general relativity to understand the properties of blackholes: It is here that the readers appreciate the importance relativity.The reader must have patience to read this book and he/she must be prepared to read chapters 5 and 6 second and perhaps third time to understand the underlying concept. If you do not have patience you will be lost and you will dislike this book

5-0 out of 5 stars A Grand First Step.Well, maybe a quarter step..
This still ranks as one of my favorite relativity books.There is virtually no math to speak of.Yet, the author in a very descriptive way, will take you from Aristotelian view to the Galilean view and finally to the relativistic paradigm.Concepts such as events, event horizons, interval etc. are explained quite beautifully.The idea of the interval and the physics and geometry of the same is shown in a most interesting way.

The chapters are organized very well and the writing is very good.To follow the text a certain degree of concentration is required because the diagrams need to be checked as one proceeds.

This text is quite suitable for junior high and high school students not to mention college graduates who wish to know something beyond the cursory in relativity theory.

I happened to come across this book at a used bookstore in 1979.Very few of my friends were even aware of this book.It was one of those sleepers so much so that a while back this volume had gone out of publication.However, now it's back, thank God. If you want a non-technical but quite thorough peek into Special Relativity get this book.If you are one of those who would prefer a tad more math and a less wordy introduction go with James A. Smith'sAn Introduction To Special Relativity, published by Dover. ... Read more

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