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Relativity: The Special and General Theory [Hardcover]

Albert Einstein
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 10 2009 1103842579 978-1103842575 Reprint
This is a pre-1923 historical reproduction that was curated for quality. Quality assurance was conducted on each of these books in an attempt to remove books with imperfections introduced by the digitization process. Though we have made best efforts - the books may have occasional errors that do not impede the reading experience. We believe this work is culturally important and have elected to bring the book back into print as part of our continuing commitment to the preservation of printed works worldwide.

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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. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Review

'He was unfathomably profound - the genius among geniuses who discovered, merely by thinking about it, that the universe was not as it seemed.' - Time

'Much of the book is a delight.' - Stephen Battersby, New Scientist

'[Einstein] is a far better populariser of science than Stephen Hawking ... you'll feel as though you have a ringside seat at a revolution in human understanding.' - Guardian --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I hate to be the only one to not give the book "5 stars", but this is simply not the best book to buy if you want to learn the theory of relativity. The book is certainly worthwhile if you want something simply because it was written by Einstein, but God bless him, the old guy just couldn't put the idea accross as well as many modern authors. Maybe something is just lost in the translation, I don't know...
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3.0 out of 5 stars Great advance in the field of Science June 30 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I will begin with saying that this book deserves its spot on the list of top 25 science books of all time. The ground that Albert Einstein gained in relativity is well demonstrated in this book. Einstein does a reasonably good job of communicating the postulates and impacts of special and general relativity. However, this is not a textbook and it is extremely difficult to follow as a 21st century reader.

The language is of the early 20th century and to those practiced in reading such language this novel shall not prove challenging. However, the only reason that I myself was able to follow along was because I had already studied relativity first. The novel furthered my knowledge of the field of relativity and of Albert Einstein.

I would recommend this novel to those who are already familiar with this field, I would not recommend this as an introductory to relativity.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Relativity: The Special and the General Theory May 22 2013
By Sean
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Relativity: The Special and the General Theory by Albert Einstein

2010 Reprint of 1920 First English Edition. First English translation of Einstein's theory of relativity. In this work Einstein intended, as far as possible, to give an exact insight into the theory of Relativity to those readers who, from a general and scientific philosophical point of view, are interested in the theory, but who are not conversant with the mathematical apparatus of theoretical physics. The theory of relativity enriched physics and astronomy during the 20th century. When first published, relativity superseded a 200-year-old theory of mechanics elucidated by Isaac Newton. It changed perceptions. For example, it overturned the concept of motion from Newton's day, into all motion is relative. Time was no longer uniform and absolute, as related to everyday experience. Furthermore, no longer could physics be understood as space by itself, and time by itself. Instead, an added dimension had to be taken into account with curved space-time. Time now depended on velocity, and contraction became a fundamental consequence at appropriate speeds.
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5.0 out of 5 stars very well presented March 12 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
einsteins presents his theory very well. Easy to understand with many "ah-has!" in it. Not a very big book. Worth the read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Compact read. April 10 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book quickly gets to the issue of why there even needs to be a theory of special relativity. It clearly explains what postulates are unwavering and why and then proceeds to show how the other generally accepted physics concepts, which appear at first to be at odds with each other, can in fact co-exist. Remarkable. Readable by anyone with even a bit of physics knowledge.
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5.0 out of 5 stars mastermind at work June 20 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
The reviewer of April 13 from Moscow, Idaho says this is not the book to read unless you already understand the theory. Maybe fair enough. It was written when Einstein had achieved youthful fame, though, not in his dotage, if he had such a thing. It may be a little more difficult for the translation, but not much. Contrary to some reviewers, it is not that easy to follow, and if it seems like an easy read, you probably haven't understood it. There are many books written since where it is probably easier to learn about special relativity, to say nothing of the basic ideas of general relativity. But once you have started to get the hang of things, this book is a masterpiece of exposition! It allows one to follow Einstein's actual thought process in arriving at these theories -- pretty much by a process of pure thought -- more or less in the steps he probably took himself. There is not a word in the exposition that was not carefully thought out. So, learn the theory somewhere else and then read this book -- you'll understand the theory better for reading Einstein's book -- or read this book first, keep going back to it 'til it starts to make sense, and maybe consult some other, more "user-friendly" textbook at the same time. Einstein claims his book allows a lay reader with only high school math to understand relativity. To which a friend of mine replied "Yeah, if you have an IQ of 800". To which I say, have patience, keep thinking about it and going back to it.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Classic book; horrible print. July 8 2009
Format:Hardcover
My 1 star is for this particular printing of the book, and has nothing to do with Einstein's book, which is fantastic.

The copy I received has the following "features":

- Unnumbered sections (both in the Table of Contents, and in the heading for each section).
- Formulae which (for no good reason) appear in superscript (e.g. notes on page 51).
- The use of the number 1 instead of ' (as in prime, e.g. K1 instead of K', page 24). At least they put the 1 in superscript (though that makes it seem like a footnote).
- Double words (e.g. "the the" on page 34).
- Over-inked, smeared text (e.g. page 32).
- Non-italicized variables.
- Footnotes demarcated by an asterisk (*) instead of superscript numbers (countless examples).
- Non-matching double quotes (they all face one way, usually).
- Tacky cover.
- Inexplicable, unnecessary spaces.

This list isn't exhaustive; there is probably plenty more wrong with it. Shameful. I've since downloaded a free PDF of the book from [...]
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars His best was yet to come!
This book is not an easy read. It is not his best attempt at explaining his theories of special and general relativity. Read more
Published on Jan. 17 2011 by Bookynerd
4.0 out of 5 stars Addressing Some Misconceptions
Much has been said about Einstein's poor ability to write, namely with respect to this particular book. Read more
Published on March 10 2008 by Walty Rainham
4.0 out of 5 stars Straight from the horse's mouth
What better person to here about relativity than Einstein himself? This is a great book for anyone interested in relativity. Read more
Published on June 9 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars Requires a Mature Reader
I've used this book with my high school students - very slow going. You can definitely understand the issues involved in relativity, even as a layman, from reading this book, but... Read more
Published on Jan. 19 2004 by Christian Moulton
5.0 out of 5 stars Not Just science
I won't lie to you, the theory of relativity is not simple. The special relativty is easily understood, yet it is a topic covered in university as an speciality in majors more... Read more
Published on Nov. 29 2003 by Roberto Macías
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book
How better to learn and appreciate Einsteins theory's of relativity than from his own words. I read this book senior year of Highschool and found it quite engaging. Read more
Published on Oct. 19 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Einstein, to humble for his own good.
This book is very interesting glimpse of where einstein was coming from. this is a book that is still interesting if you understand relativity, because einsein gives a very... Read more
Published on Aug. 25 2003 by J. Schneiderwind
5.0 out of 5 stars What I think
I do not have this Edition , I have Princenton's Edition , but this is the most spectacular book I have ever read.
ps' The first time took to me 3 and 1/2 years, to read it.
Published on July 1 2003
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