Relativity Simply Explained

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Overview

Since the publication of Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity in 1905, the discovery of such astronomical phenomena as quasars, pulsars, and black holes — all intimately connected to relativity — has provoked a tremendous upsurge of interest in the subject.
This volume, a revised version of Martin Gardner's earlier Relativity for the Million, brings this fascinating topic up to date. Witty, perceptive, and easily accessible to the general reader, it is one of the clearest and most entertaining introductions to relativity ever written.
Mr. Gardner offers lucid explanations of not only the special and general theories of relativity, but of the Michelson-Morley experiment, gravity and spacetime, Mach's principle, the twin paradox, models of the universe, and other topics. A new Postscript, examining the latest developments in the field, and specially written for this edition, is also included.
The clarity of the text is especially enhanced by the brilliant graphics of Anthony Ravielli, making this "by far the best layman's account of this difficult subject." — Christian Science Monitor.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780486293158
  • Publisher: Dover Publications
  • Publication date: 3/6/1997
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 341,982
  • Product dimensions: 5.42 (w) x 8.54 (h) x 0.48 (d)

Meet the Author

Martin Gardner was a renowned author who published over 70 books on subjects from science and math to poetry and religion. He also had a lifelong passion for magic tricks and puzzles. Well known for his mathematical games column in Scientific American and his "Trick of the Month" in Physics Teacher magazine, Gardner attracted a loyal following with his intelligence, wit, and imagination.

Martin Gardner: A Remembrance
The worldwide mathematical community was saddened by the death of Martin Gardner on May 22, 2010. Martin was 95 years old when he died, and had written 70 or 80 books during his long lifetime as an author. Martin's first Dover books were published in 1956 and 1957: Mathematics, Magic and Mystery, one of the first popular books on the intellectual excitement of mathematics to reach a wide audience, and Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science, certainly one of the first popular books to cast a devastatingly skeptical eye on the claims of pseudoscience and the many guises in which the modern world has given rise to it. Both of these pioneering books are still in print with Dover today along with more than a dozen other titles of Martin's books. They run the gamut from his elementary Codes, Ciphers and Secret Writing, which has been enjoyed by generations of younger readers since the 1980s, to the more demanding The New Ambidextrous Universe: Symmetry and Asymmetry from Mirror Reflections to Superstrings, which Dover published in its final revised form in 2005.

To those of us who have been associated with Dover for a long time, however, Martin was more than an author, albeit a remarkably popular and successful one. As a member of the small group of long-time advisors and consultants, which included NYU's Morris Kline in mathematics, Harvard's I. Bernard Cohen in the history of science, and MIT's J. P. Den Hartog in engineering, Martin's advice and editorial suggestions in the formative 1950s helped to define the Dover publishing program and give it the point of view which — despite many changes, new directions, and the consequences of evolution — continues to be operative today.

In the Author's Own Words:
"Politicians, real-estate agents, used-car salesmen, and advertising copy-writers are expected to stretch facts in self-serving directions, but scientists who falsify their results are regarded by their peers as committing an inexcusable crime. Yet the sad fact is that the history of science swarms with cases of outright fakery and instances of scientists who unconsciously distorted their work by seeing it through lenses of passionately held beliefs."

"A surprising proportion of mathematicians are accomplished musicians. Is it because music and mathematics share patterns that are beautiful?" — Martin Gardner

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Table of Contents

Introduction to the Dover Edition
Introduction to the 1976 Edition
1 Absolute or Relative?
2 The Michelson-Morley Experiment
3 "The Special Theory of Relativity, PART I"
4 "The Special Theory of Relativity, PART II"
5 The General Theory of Relativity
6 Gravity and Spacetime
7 Test of General Relativity
8 Mach's Principle
9 The Twin Paradox
10 Models of the Universe
11 "Quasars, Pulsars, and Black Holes"
12 Beginning and End
"Postscript, 1996"
Index

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