Item description for Relativity: The Special and the General Theory by Albert Einstein...
Outline ReviewHow better to learn the Special Theory of Relativity and the General Theory of Relativity than directly from their creator, Albert Einstein himself? In Relativity: The Special and the General Theory, 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 is not casual reading, but for those who appreciate his work without diving into the arcana of theoretical physics, Relativity will prove a stimulating read.
Product Description The Nobel Prize-winning scientists presentation of his landmark theory
According to Einstein himself, this book is intended "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 of theoretical physics." When he wrote the book in 1916, Einsteins name was scarcely known outside the physics institutes. Having just completed his masterpiece, The General Theory of Relativitywhich provided a brand-new theory of gravity and promised a new perspective on the cosmos as a wholehe set out at once to share his excitement with as wide a public as possible in this popular and accessible book.
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Albert Einstein (1879 1955), one of the greatest thinkers of the twentieth century, was born in Ulm, Germany, to German-Jewish parents. He published his first great theories in Switzerland in the early 1900s while working as a patent clerk.
Nigel Calder, educated as a physicist at Cambridge University, began his full-time writing career on the original staff of New Scientist magazine. His most recent book is thebestselling Einstein's Universe.
Albert Einstein lived in Munich. Albert Einstein was born in 1879 and died in 1955.
Albert Einstein has published or released items in the following series...
Reviews - What do customers think about Relativity: The Special and the General Theory?
It's Einstein. what would you expect? Jul 4, 2008
Actually, it's easier to understand than you might think. The math is minimal and very straight forward. The intro by Nigel Calder is neat reading in itself. If you don't want to wade into the gory details, this is a great overview written by the man himself.
Excellent edition of Einstein's Relativity Nov 6, 2007
This edition of Einstein's Theory of Relativity is excellent. It provides a streamlined organization of the parts of his concepts, and has tasteful and helpful styling.
A qualified recommendation Sep 18, 2007
As at least one reviewer has noted there are several editions of this book. (This exact edition is also available in paperback.) Definitely get this one (or another 15th edition) because it is the 1952, fifteenth edition, which is the last one that Einstein prepared and is the one that contains all five of his appendices. My local bookstore has several editions put out by different publishers. Side by side were two, one was a 1916, third edition, that contained only three appendices and the other was the complete 1952, fifteenth edition, which actually cost a dollar LESS than the incomplete version. The 1916 version is in public domain, so the publisher does not have to pay anything to the Einstein estate. Thus, the publisher makes more money from purchasers who are not savvy enough to realize that they are getting an inferior edition for the same or even a higher price than a complete one. Caveat emptor.
The four stars do not in any way refer to my view of Einstein or his work. Were they the basis of the review I would have given it five stars. I am qualifying my recommendation because I believe that only some readers will find the book to be suitable for their needs. Thus, I am giving it only four stars because this book is too elementary for someone studying relativity in a graduate course but too complex for someone with little or no physics background. Thus, the readership is somewhat limited.
Pros: 1) This book is Einstein's classic presentation of his special and general theories of relativity, prepared for a general audience. As such, it has interesting historical value as well as being illuminating for some readers. The fifteenth edition contains all of Einstein's corrections and all of his appendices. 2) A reasonably good presentation of the special theory. 3) Good for someone with a physics background (engineers, physicists at the BS or MS level, chemists, etc.) It is, however, too elementary for someone studying relativity at a graduate level. For them, it is primarily useful as a historical document. They would probably get more from Einstein's papers than from this book, which was written for the general public. Cons: 1) The bulk of this book was written in 1916, in German, and then translated into English. As such, it is somewhat convoluted in places and generally has the typical flavor of 19th century prose. 2) I feel that while the special theory is presented in a reasonably straightforward manner the general theory is not. Einstein uses a little math here, but it is insufficient for a physicist and is probably incomprehensible for someone with little or no math or physics background. I believe that Martin Gardner's book "Relativity Simply Explained" is a better choice for someone with little or no science background. It does a very much better job of explaining the general theory for a general audience. 3) While Einstein explains how the basic assumptions of his theories differ from those of classical physics, these differences are not, in my opinion, highlighted sufficiently. I recommend Isaacson's recent biography of Einstein for those who want these differences more clearly delineated. Isaacson clearly shows why Einstein's theories were so radical a departure from those of Newton.
All in all, this is a good book for the right audience.
Still The Best Aug 11, 2007
After reading books by Hawking, Kaku, Greene, and others on the topic, none are more lucid as Einstein himself in describing relativity to the non-physicist.
Worthwhile Read Jul 12, 2007
This is a very short book and is quick reading. I have read other books with better explainations of relativity. I didn't like the writing style -- it was translated by an Englishman in the early 20th century so the sentence structure doesn't flow like normal reading.