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Relativity, The Special And General Theory

by Albert Einstein and Nigel Calder

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About Book

How 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.

From Scientific American
"The present book is intended," Einstein wrote in 1916, "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 of theoretical physics.... 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." But it is elegant, in part because of the 1920 translation, by Robert W. Lawson, a British physicist who had polished his German while a prisoner of war in Austria. The introduction, by science writer Nigel Calder, guides the reader through the work section by section, even giving advice on which sections to skip, or at least not to worry about, if you can't "accompany Einstein through the forest of tricky ideas contained in this slim volume." Okay, this book isn't easy--again, in the master's elegant words, it "lays no small claims on the patience and on the power of abstraction of the reader"--but it is well worth the try.

Editors of Scientific American

From AudioFile
This version of Einstein's The Meaning of Relativity epitomizes the key difficulty with abridgments: The work becomes a slave to the format. Rather than an alluring example of literature or scholarship, this pivotal scientific work disintegrates into watered-down, cut-and-pasted facts and hypotheses. However, narrator Lopez-Morillas is excellent. With firm pacing and vocal confidence, he eases the listener through the jarring textual splices. His clarity of expression and diction are guiding lights that enable the listener to complete this audio journey. The technical quality of this audiobook is above average, and the choice of both topic and reader are solid. Perhaps this would be a better choice in unabridged form. J.S.G. (c)AudioFile, Portland, Maine

"He was...the genius among geniuses who discovered, merely by thinking about it, that the universe was not as it seemed."

Book Description
The Nobel Prize-winning scientist’s 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, Einstein’s name was scarcely known outside the physics institutes. Having just completed his masterpiece, The General Theory of Relativity—which provided a brand-new theory of gravity and promised a new perspective on the cosmos as a whole—he set out at once to share his excitement with as wide a public as possible in this popular and accessible book.

Language Notes
Text: English (translation)
Original Language: German

Inside Flap Copy
Redesigned inside and out to have a fresh, appealing look, this new edition of a classic Crown Trade Paperback is a collection of Einstein's own popular writings on his work and describes the meaning of his main theories in a way virtually everyone can understand.

About the Author
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 the bestselling Einstein’s Universe.



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