A Stubbornly Persistent Illusion: The Essential Scientific Works of Albert Einstein

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Philadelphia, PA 2007 Hard cover New. Glued binding. Cloth over boards. With dust jacket. 468 p. Contains: Figures. *****PLEASE NOTE: This item is shipping from an authorized ... seller in Europe. In the event that a return is necessary, you will be able to return your item within the US. To learn more about our European sellers and policies see the BookQuest FAQ section***** Read more Show Less

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Overview


Best-selling author and physicist Stephen Hawking assembles the most groundbreaking works by Albert Einstein together into one volume. From the text that revealed the famous “Theory of Relativity”-renowned as the most important scientific discovery of the 20th Century-to his significant works on quantum theory, statistical mechanics, and the photoelectric effect, here are the writings that changed physics, and subsequently, the way we view the world. Einstein also thought deeply on both political issues and religious thought, so many of Einstein’s philosophical essays are included. Hawking provides introductions to each work, which provides both historical and scientific perspective. From the papers that shaped modern scientific thought to Einstein’s later musings on his landmark findings, A Stubbornly Persistent Illusion is a collection of Einstein’s most important work, with commentary from our greatest living physicist.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Stephen Hawking's 1,200-page compendium of Einstein's writings is literally nonpareil: It not only contains Einstein's major scientific works on the theory of relativity, quantum theory, statistical mechanics, and photoelectric effect but also includes philosophical, political, and autobiographical writings. Hawking is, of course, a leading theoretical physicist himself, so he is eminently qualified to select and provide commentary on the theories of this seminal thinker. This is the most extensive Einstein anthology on the market.\
Publishers Weekly

It's hard to imagine a better guide to the work of Albert Einstein than Hawking, one of the world's most renowned physicists and popular science writers, whose own A Brief History of Timehas sold more than nine million copies. Though there are plenty of popular books about Einstein's theories, Hawking is right when he insists that the "most lucid, not to mention entertaining proponent of Einstein's ideas has always been Einstein himself." Even those with a minimal background in math and science will come away with a keen understanding of the towering genius and his transformative work on the nature of space, time and light. Included are Einstein's seminal papers on special and general relativity, and his 1916 Relativity, the Special and General Theory, which explains the theory in simple, straightforward terms accessible to any high-school graduate with a knowledge of basic algebra. Einstein's pioneering work in modern quantum theory, from his 1905 discovery of photons to his later, critical opinions of the generally accepted quantum theory (in excerpts from his 1950 book, Out of My Later Years), is also considered. Hawking adds a brief but effective introduction to each section, making this gem of a collection really shine. (Dec.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information\
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780762430031
  • Publisher: Running Press Book Publishers
  • Publication date: 11/26/2007
  • Pages: 496
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking’s ability to make science understandable and compelling to a lay audience was established with the publication of his first book, A Brief History of Time, which has sold nearly 10 million copies in 40 languages. Hawking has authored or participated in the creation of numerous other popular science books, including On the Shoulders of Giants and The Illustrated On the Shoulders of Giants.

Biography

In the universe as a whole, the nature of black holes may be one of the most puzzling mysteries. No less puzzling, in the slightly smaller universe of book publishing, is the astounding popular success of Stephen Hawking's 1988 book on the matter, or anti-matter, as it were: A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes.

Clocking in at just over 200 pages, it was, indeed, brief, but it was hardly the easy read its marketers promised. Nor did it stray much beyond the tone of a scholarly lecture, though at times it did take quick autobiographical peeks into Hawking's personal life. Still, it is just the author's persona that may have been the selling point prompting more than 10 million people worldwide to pick up a copy -- and to have it translated into more than 40 languages in the 10 years since its release.

For Stephen Hawking is an instantly recognizable public figure -- even for those who haven't delved into his so far unprovable theories about black holes. Stricken by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) -- or Lou Gehrig's disease, as it is called in the States -- while he was working toward his doctorate at Cambridge University, this Englishman is known for the keen wit and intellect that reside within his severely disabled body. He uses a motorized wheelchair to get around and a voice synthesizer to communicate -- a development, he complains, that has given him an American accent. He has guest-starred, in cartoon form, on an episode of The Simpsons and has appeared in the flesh on Star Trek: The Next Generation, using the benefits of time travel to play poker with Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton. (He has said he doesn't believe in the theory himself, noting that the most powerful evidence of its impossibility is the present-day dearth of time-traveling tourists from the future.)

The son of a research biologist, Hawking resisted familial urging that he major in biology and instead studied physics and chemistry -- as a nod to his father -- when he went to Oxford University as a 17-year-old. In academic writing, Hawking had an extensive career pre-History, starting with The Large Scale Structure of Space-Time, coauthored with G.F.R. Ellis in 1973. But in the late 1980s, faced with the expenses incurred by his illness, he took up Bantam Books' offer to explain the mysteries of the universe to the lay public.

"This is one of the best books for laymen on this subject that has appeared in recent years," The Christian Science Monitor wrote in 1988. "Hawking is one of the greatest theoretical cosmologists of our time. He is greater, by consensus among his colleagues, than other expert authors who have written good popular books on the subject recently. And he is greater, by far, than the ‘experts' who have ‘explained' quantum physics and cosmology in terms that support a religious agenda." And The New York Times in April 1988 said, "Through his cerebral journeys, Mr. Hawking is bravely taking some of the first, though tentative, steps toward quantizing the early universe, and he offers us a provocative glimpse of the work in progress."

Since then, A Brief History of Time has been republished in an illustrated edition (1996) and as an updated and expanded 10th anniversary edition (1998). In Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays, a collection of 13 essays and the transcript of an extended interview with the BBC, Hawking turned more autobiographical, mixing stories about his studies in college and the beginning of his awareness that he had ALS with thoughts on how black holes can spawn baby universes and on the scientific community's efforts to create a unified theory that will explain everything in the universe. And in The Universe in a Nutshell, his sequel to A Brief History of Time, Hawking takes the same approach as he did in his first bestseller, explaining to the lay reader such ideas as the superstring theory, supergravity, time travel, and quantum theory.

A common current in Hawking's writing -- aside from his grasp of the complexities of the universe -- is a sharp wit. In one of the rare personal reflections in A Brief History of Time, he said he began thinking about black holes in the early 1970s in the evenings as he was getting ready for bed: "My disability makes this rather a slow process, so I had plenty of time." In life, he has a reputation for quickly turning his wheelchair away of a conversation that displeases him, even running his wheels over the toes of the offending conversant.

Even questions about his muse are likely to draw an answer tinged with pointed humor. When Time asked Hawking why he decided to add explaining the universe to a schedule already taxed by his scholarly writing and lecture tours, he answered, "I have to pay for my nurses."

Good To Know

Hawking worked 1,000 hours in his three years at Oxford, roughly an hour a day. "I'm not proud of this lack of work," he said in Stephen Hawking's a Brief History of Time: A Reader's Companion. "I'm just describing my attitude at the time, which I shared with most of my fellow students: an attitude of complete boredom and feeling that nothing was worth making an effort for."

Despite his science degrees, Hawking has no formal training in math and has said he had to pick up what he knows as he went along.

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    1. Hometown:
      Cambridge, England
    1. Date of Birth:
      January 8, 1942
    2. Place of Birth:
      Oxford, England

Table of Contents


Introduction   Stephen Hawking     ix
The Principle of Relativity     1
Relativity, the Special and General Theory     125
Sidelights on Relativity     235
Selection from The Meaning of Relativity, "Space and Time in Pre-Relativity Physics"     263
Selections from The Evolution of Physics, "Relativity, Field" and "Quanta"     283
Autobiographical Notes     337
Selections from Out of My Later Years     383
Index     457\
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