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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Do you want to learn about Modern Physics? Begin here!
There is no doubt that Albert Einstein has been one of the most brilliant minds of the past century. His major contribution to science was the special and the general theory of relativity, which gave a new dimension to that we call today "Modern Physics". Many people feel frustrated because when they try to understand relativity, they find some authors that expound in...
Published on March 9 2000 by Reinaldo Olivares

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars If you don't already know the theory, don't bother...
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...
Published on April 13 1999


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars If you don't already know the theory, don't bother..., April 13 1999
By A Customer
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Do you want to learn about Modern Physics? Begin here!, March 9 2000
This review is from: Relativity (Hardcover)
There is no doubt that Albert Einstein has been one of the most brilliant minds of the past century. His major contribution to science was the special and the general theory of relativity, which gave a new dimension to that we call today "Modern Physics". Many people feel frustrated because when they try to understand relativity, they find some authors that expound in their books a complex arrangement of equations referring to the mathematical part of the theory, namely, the books are accessible for people with certain levels of knowledge (that is the case of engineers, physicists, mathematicians, among others). Nevertheless, perceiving and anticipating this situation, Albert Einstein wrote this book (more than fifty years ago) whit the purpose of exposing the special and the general theory of relativity in such a way that anyone can understand it. I this sense, I think, Einstein succeeded because despite the shortness of the book, the same covers the most important aspects of relativity in a clear and concise form. Moreover, the book has appendixes where the author makes reference to some interesting subjects like the problem of space and relativity, the experimental confirmation of the theory, to name a few. If you have decided to learn something about relativity, and you do not have vast knowledge in physics and mathematics, I sincerely recommend you this book. On the other hand, if you were a reader looking for more technical information (mathematical foundation of general relativity), I would choose the book "Gravitation" written by Misner, Wheeler y Thorne. This text represents an encyclopedia about general relativity.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Scientific Gem From the World's Greatest Genius, Feb. 2 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Relativity (Paperback)
This book is truly a scientific gem. Not only did the brilliant Einstein envision the theory of relativity, but he also felt compelled to inform non-scientists by writing this "less" technical explanation of his theory. The book's section on Special Relativity is not too difficult to grasp. However, having some basic understanding of algebra and classical mechanics is helpful. On the other hand, the section on General Relativity is quite profound, requiring the reader to imagine new concepts of space and time that are alien to one's sense of reality. Indeed, I had to read this section several times and I'm still not sure if I completely understand it. However, this is more of a function of my imagination skills rather than Einstein's literary abilities. For he uses an abundance of familiar terms and analogies to simplify the understanding of some of the more "unusual" implications of General Relativity. I would not recommend this book to someone averse to technical subjects. However, I do recommend it to those wishing to learn the basics of relativity theory.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Not Just science, Nov. 29 2003
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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 involved with physics, and general relativity is coverd in masters. Both topics can be quite esoteric, and the mathematical explanation for the relativistic deformation of the time-space due to speed uses Fourier's transforms, so most people will have to just have faith in what Einstein is trying to explain. However, he does simplify the subject enough, so anyone with a basis of physics could grasp some of the most important ideas behind his theory.
Furthermore, this book is important in the fact that by proving that relativity was a real fact in physics, the shape of the world in the twentieth century took a great change. I believe that without Einstein's work, the nihilism porfethized by Nietzsche, toghether with the despotic regimes that the will of power would create guided by deviations of the "übermensch" might not have com in such strenght as it did.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Relativity for the layman? Explained by its creator., May 1 2003
By 
Jeremy Borden "Jeremy" (Seattle) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
In Relativity, Einstein trys to bring his theory of relativity to the masses. When the special and general theorys of relativity were concieved of by Einstein, they revolutionized our perception of space and time. This revolution was so complete that many of the most significant physicists of the time believed that it was nonsense. When Einstein won the Nobel prize for his work on the photoelectric effect, his certificate unequivocally stated that the award was NOT given for his theory of relativity. For much of his life, even Einstein was unwilling to accept some of the predictions of his own work such as black holes.
This is all very good, interesting science and history which should be read and understood by everyone. The problem is, though, that Einstein was not a particularly good writer. Einstein is too brilliant for his own good and it shows through frequently in this attempt to stoop to our level. His explanations are usually hard to follow and unintuitive(and I study physics even!). This book exists on an uncomfortable middle ground between rigor and easy reading.
If you would like to read this book simply because of its (and its author's) historical significance then I couldn't discourage that. If you know little physics and want to try to understand relativity, however, read Kip Thorne's Black Holes and Time Warps or the first few chapters of Brian Greene's The Elegant Universe.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Relativity for the layman? Explained by its creator., May 1 2003
By 
Jeremy Borden "Jeremy" (Seattle) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
In Relativity, Einstein trys to bring his theory of relativity to the masses. When the special and general theorys of relativity were concieved of by Einstein, they revolutionized our perception of space and time. This revolution was so complete that many of the most significant physicists of the time believed that it was nonsense. When Einstein won the Nobel prize for his work on the photoelectric effect, his certificate unequivocally stated that the award was NOT given for his theory of relativity. For much of his life, even Einstein was unwilling to accept some of the predictions of his own work such as black holes.
This is all very good, interesting science and history which should be read and understood by everyone. The problem is, though, that Einstein was not a particularly good writer. Einstein is too brilliant for his own good and it shows through frequently in this attempt to stoop to our level. His explanations are usually hard to follow and unintuitive(and I study physics even!). This book exists on an uncomfortable middle ground between rigor and easy reading.
If you would like to read this book simply because of its (and its author's) historical significance then I couldn't discourage that. If you know little physics and want to try to understand relativity, read Kip Thorne's Black Holes and Time Warps or the first few chapters of Brian Greene's The Elegant Universe.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Relativity for the layman? Explained by its creator., May 1 2003
By 
Jeremy Borden "Jeremy" (Seattle) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
In Relativity, Einstein trys to bring his theory of relativity to the masses. When the special and general theorys of relativity were concieved of by Einstein, they revolutionized our perception of space and time. This revolution was so complete that many of the most significant physicists of the time believed that it was nonsense. When Einstein won the Nobel prize for his work on the photoelectric effect, his certificate unequivocally stated that the award was NOT given for his theory of relativity. For much of his life, even Einstein was unwilling to accept some of the predictions of his own work such as black holes.
This is all very good, interesting science and history which should be read and understood by everyone. The problem is, though, that Einstein was not a particularly good writer. Einstein is too brilliant for his own good and it shows through frequently in this attempt to stoop to our level. His explanations are usually hard to follow and unintuitive(and I study physics even!). This book exists on an uncomfortable middle ground between rigor and easy reading.
If you would like to read this book simply because of its (and its author's) historical significance then I couldn't discourage that. If you know little physics and want to try to understand relativity, read Kip Thorne's Black Holes and Time Warps or the first few chapters of Brian Greene's The Elegant Universe.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Einstein is also a genius at teaching, Dec 23 2002
By A Customer
Most scientific genius' are poor at communicating their ideas to lay people who aren't versed in their high level math and vocabulary. Einstein, on the other hand, is superb at explaining the complex in simple, non scientific, non mathematical, and NON CONDESCENDING terms! While, obviously, I am against any government forced reading list, if there were one, I'd put this one at or near number one on any such list. It should certainly be required reading for all colledge graduates, regardless of their major.
Park your preconceived ideas of what you *used to* think what the universe was and prepare to be blown away at this incredible "theory" (It should no longer be called a theory as it has been proven over and over in real world experiment after emperiment)! It will certainly open your mind to new possibilities and to new ideas of what the universe is (or at least, what it *isn't*).
After reading this, go get "Quantum Electro Dynamics", a colleciton of lectures by Richard P. Feynman, to continue your maddening journey through wacky, but true, insights into what's *really* going on and what this universe really is about. It really is a quantum leap forward in thinking. You'll just have to read it to believe it (possibly several times).
After that, search Amazon.com for information about faster than light transmission for even more mind blowing ideas that are becoming a reality.
If you thought science fiction was way out there, wait til you learn about science fact! Science truly is stranger than fiction.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Einstein: Lorentz plus Gauss equals Relativity., Nov. 27 2002
By 
Wesley L. Janssen (San Diego, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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Measuring-rods and clocks in a continuum of non-rigid reference-bodies. This is how Einstein explains his theories of relativity to those "who are not conversant with the mathematical apparatus of theoretical physics." No offense to Einstein, but others have published more readily comprehensible descriptions of relativity. Einstein's accounts are rather belabored compared to those of physicists like Brian Greene. However, if you have a basic appreciation of geometry, you will soon attain a foggy glimpse of Einstein's two great theories in this small volume. Read this book as a curiosity, to encounter Newton's intellectual heir, and his vision of the universe, in his own words.
As the author promises, the book is well organized, moving through Relativity's essential aspects in a systematic progression and examining the difficulties he had to overcome in its development. In his preface Einstein says, "despite the shortness of the book, a fair amount of patience and force of will on the part of the reader" will be demanded. If you are curious, strap on your thinking-cap and enjoy this read in Einstein's finite but perhaps unbounded universe.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Informative and Accessible, Feb. 20 2002
By 
Daniel Graf "Daniel Graf" (Tuscaloosa, Alabama) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Relativity (Hardcover)
Albert Einstein is the eidos of the Smart Guy. I chose to read Robert W. Lawson's authorized translation of Einstein's popular exposition of the topic of Relativity because I didn't think I knew anything about it. Well, that isn't true. That was why I chose to buy it; I have a whole special collection of uncracked literature in my library relating to my personal ignorance. I chose to read it because of both the above stated reason and because it was small enough to tote with me on the train to and from work. I enjoyed it thoroughly.
Although I got a big fat B in my undergraduate physics course, all I understood about Relativity was 1) it has something to do with Energy being equal to the product of Mass and the speed of light squared, and 2) there is something wrong with Newtonian mechanics when one is trying to explain the orbit of Mercury. Relativity turns out to be a good chunk more interesting than that. By spelling it out using simple examples like trains, Euclidian geometry and math no fancier than algebra, Einstein seemed to make a pretty good case for the over-simplicity of the good old laws of inertia and momentum. Sure, my clock is at rest with respect to me and will remain so until something moves it, but observed from a distant star, it is accelerating through four-dimensional space-time quite rapidly. Moreover, the perception of my clock (and time) from that remote reference point is influenced by the finite yet constant speed of light. That guy was really thinking.
In summation, spending 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes in the evening with this book made me feel like I had the gist of Relativity. Now back to my stack of ignorance.
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Relativity: The Special and the General Theory
Relativity: The Special and the General Theory by Albert Einstein (Paperback - Dec 1 2010)
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