e-book Relativity: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)

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Buy It Now. Add to cart. Be the first to write a review About this product. About this product Product Information years ago, Einstein's theory of relativity shattered the world of physics. Our comforting Newtonian ideas of space and time were replaced by bizarre and counterintuitive conclusions: 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 squashed thinner than a CD without feeling a thing - and live for ever.

And that was just the Special Theory. 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.

I would strongly recommend this book as a good starting point for learning about relativity. View 1 comment. Dec 29, Sundararaman R rated it liked it.

Russell Stannard

Not bad, but kind of a disappointment compared to the other Very Short Introduction books I've read. Usually in this series, the short length forces the authors to consider and extract the true essence of the subject and present that clearly, with some indications towards where there are nuances and complexities involved. But this book feels like it was shortened the high school student's way - a large piece of text "shortened" by the removal of sentences and paragraphs here and there, without r Not bad, but kind of a disappointment compared to the other Very Short Introduction books I've read.

But this book feels like it was shortened the high school student's way - a large piece of text "shortened" by the removal of sentences and paragraphs here and there, without really considering how that affects the flow an readability of the result. The book is informative, in that it contains a lot of information, but not educational, in that it's poorly organized and lacking in structure.

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Sep 05, Jawher rated it really liked it. Provides a pretty thorough "introduction" to the subject matter while offering lots of "pause and google" moments. Unlike the preface states, some basic grasp of mathematics and physics is necessary to get the most out of it, i'd say high school grad.

Russell Stannard

All in all, clear and fluid explanations with on point illustrations. Jun 30, Austin rated it it was amazing Shelves: science , non-fiction , physics. About as good an introduction to a complex topic as one could hope for in a mere pages. Mostly conceptual, contains very little math. Looking forward to reading Wolfgang Rindler's more mathematical treatment. Nov 07, Jesse Coker rated it it was amazing.

Fascinating and approachable--I picked this up after being confused by parts of "A Brief History of Time", but after finishing Stannard's book I felt confident in a general understanding of relativity. Quick to get through as well--definitely recommended.

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Nov 03, Michael Flick rated it really liked it. Of course it's complicated, but this book doesn't try to make it any more difficult than it has to be. And the absolutely required math is minimal.

Relativity: A Very Short Introduction

May 29, Joseph Sverker rated it liked it Shelves: science-stuff. I finished this so long ago that I can't really remember it, but if I remember it correctly I think it was a little too technical and difficult for being an introduction. Jul 02, Robin Friedman rated it really liked it. The Very Short Introductions Series of Oxford University Press offers a gateway to the broad scope of knowledge in books usually slightly more than pages in length written by distinguished scholars. I have learned a great deal from the series, both about subjects that I know and about subjects that I don't.

Relativity falls easily into the latter category. I wanted to give "Relativity: A Very Short Introduction" a try after enjoying other works in the VSI series on scientific subjects The Very Short Introductions Series of Oxford University Press offers a gateway to the broad scope of knowledge in books usually slightly more than pages in length written by distinguished scholars.

Stannard has written many books for both children and adults which attempt to explain scientific concepts in an accessible way. Stannard has also written several books on the relationship between science and religion. Stannard's book consists of two sections covering, in turn, special relativity and general relativity. Einstein developed the theory of special relativity in Stannard defines it as dealing "with the effects on space and time of uniform motion.

Stannard shows how relativity revolutionized scientific thinking and how it runs contrary to a number of ideas considered part of common sense. The book is clearly and engagingly written given the complexity of the subject. Stannard shows how Einstein developed his theories by thinking about seemingly commonplace observations together with the work of earlier scientists.

Relativity: A Very Short Introduction - Russell Stannard - Google Libros

Stannard offers effective illustrations and examples showing the development and content of relativity. His diagrams also are clear and useful. For both special and general relativity, the book works from the relatively simple to the extraordinarily complex. The book does not require a knowledge of mathematics but it makes, for me, a substantial use of mathematical formulas which I couldn't follow.

I found it easier to understand the verbal discussions of a point rather that the formulas, regardless of how elementary the formulas might be to some readers. The book gave me, a reader with no mathematics and little background, a better understanding of relativity than I probably had a right to expect. Reading the book proved a humbling experience as well. For all Stannard's skill in writing for lay readers, this book is difficult to understand. Making readers aware of the difficulty undoubtedly is part of the purpose of the book. There is little chance that any reader will consider him or herself an instant expert after reading this VSI.

I became more fascinated with the book as I continued to read. The final pages show how general relativity forms part of broad questions about the nature of the universe. It explores matters such as black holes, gravitational waves, dark matter and dark energy. Stannard offers a strong sense of the sheer enormity of the universe and its mystery. I was reminded again about how little I know and more importantly how little scientists know even with astonishing accomplishments such as the theory of relativity.

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The book includes a short three-tiered bibliography based upon the reader's level of mathematical knowledge. This VSI is an excellent choice for readers wanting a basic understanding of a complex and profound scientific theory. Contents: view spoiler [Preface List of illustrations — Ripples sent out by a boat — The astronaut's experiment with a pulse of light — The experiment as seen by mission control on earth — The distance travelled by the pulse according to the astronaut — Length contraction — Two pulses emitted at the same time from the centre of the spacecraft — Loss of simultaneity — Space-time diagram showing the passage of the two light pulses from the centre of the craft — Space-time diagram with axes corresponding to the mission controller's coordinate system — Space-time diagram illustrating the three regions in which events may be found relative to an event O — Differing perceptions of a pencil — Length expressed in terms of components — The paths of objects falling under gravity — Pulses of light in a spacecraft — Pulses of light in a gravitational field — Two clocks in the twin paradox — Bending of light in a spacecraft undergoing free fall and acceleration — Eddington's experiment — The curvature of space caused by the sun — Geometry on the surface of a sphere — The saddle — The cylinder — World lines for the two twins — Precession of Mercury's perihelion — Shapiro's test of general relativity — Curvature of space and planetary orbits — Diminishing curvature within the sun — The curvature of space caused by a black hole — Detecting gravitational waves — The size of the universe plotted against time 1.

General relativity — The equivalence principle — The effects on time of acceleration and gravity — The twin paradox revisited — The bending of light — Curved space — Black holes — Gravitational waves — The universe Further reading Index hide spoiler ] It's all about the theories of relativity without the math! Well, there are simple equations that anyone can handle, but not any of those that only mathematicians and physicists can stomach. Russell Stannard unfolds the concepts clearly, a step at a time, with easy-to-understand examples, diagrams and analogies. The first part of the book deals with Special Relativity.

The first phenomenon introduced is time dilation - time slowing down at speeds close to that of light.

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  • Currently, a number of land-based gravitational wave detectors are in operation, and a mission to launch a space-based detector, LISA , is currently under development, with a precursor mission LISA Pathfinder which was launched in Gravitational wave observations can be used to obtain information about compact objects such as neutron stars and black holes , and also to probe the state of the early universe fractions of a second after the Big Bang.

    Certain types of black holes are thought to be the final state in the evolution of massive stars. On the other hand, supermassive black holes with the mass of millions or billions of Suns are assumed to reside in the cores of most galaxies , and they play a key role in current models of how galaxies have formed over the past billions of years.