The Curious History of Relativity: How Einstein's Theory of Gravity Was Lost and Found Again

The Curious History of Relativity: How Einstein's Theory of Gravity Was Lost and Found Again

by Jean Eisenstaedt
     
 

ISBN-10: 0691118655

ISBN-13: 9780691118659

Pub. Date: 09/18/2006

Publisher: Princeton University Press

Black holes may obliterate most things that come near them, but they saved the theory of general relativity. Einstein's theory was quickly accepted as the true theory of gravity after its publication in 1915, but soon took a back seat in physics to quantum mechanics and languished for decades on the blackboards of mathematicians. Not until the existence of black

Overview

Black holes may obliterate most things that come near them, but they saved the theory of general relativity. Einstein's theory was quickly accepted as the true theory of gravity after its publication in 1915, but soon took a back seat in physics to quantum mechanics and languished for decades on the blackboards of mathematicians. Not until the existence of black holes by Stephen Hawking and Roger Penrose in the 1960s, after Einstein's death, was the theory revived.

Almost one hundred years after general relativity replaced Newton's theory of gravitation, The Curious History of Relativity tells the story of both events surrounding general relativity and the techniques employed by Einstein and the relativists to construct, develop, and understand his almost impenetrable theory. Jean Eisenstaedt, one of the world's leading experts on the subject, also discusses the theory's place in the evolution of twentieth-century physics. He describes the main stages in the development of general relativity: its beginnings, its strange crossing of the desert during Einstein's lifetime while under heated criticism, and its new life from the 1960s on, when it became vital to the understanding of black holes and the observation of exotic objects, and, eventually, to the discovery of the accelerating universe. We witness Einstein's construction of his theory, as well as the work of his fascinated, discouraged, and enthusiastic colleagues--physicists, mathematicians, and astronomers.

Written with flair, The Curious History of Relativity poses--and answers--the difficult questions raised by Einstein's magnificent intellectual feat.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691118659
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
09/18/2006
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
366,356
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.30(d)

Table of Contents


Foreword vii
INTRODUCTION: A Difficult Theory 1
CHAPTER ONE: The Speed of Light and Classical Physics 4
CHAPTER TWO: Light and the Structure of Space-Time 24
CHAPTER THREE: Toward a New Theory of Gravitation 58
CHAPTER FOUR: Einstein's Principles 76
CHAPTER FIVE: The Birth of General Relativity 103
CHAPTER SIX: General Relativity: A Physical Geometry 138
CHAPTER SEVEN: Relativity Verified: Mercury's Anomaly 149
CHAPTER EIGHT: Relativity Verified: The Deflection of Light Rays 167
CHAPTER NINE: Relativity Verified: The Line Shift 196
CHAPTER TEN: The Crossing of the Desert 213
CHAPTER ELEVEN: An Unpopular Theory 244
CHAPTER TWELVE: The Rejection of Black Holes 255
CHAPTER THIRTEEN: Paths in Schwarzschild's Space-Time 284
CHAPTER FOURTEEN: No Ordinary Stars 310
CHAPTER FIFTEEN: Gravitation, Astrophysics, and Cosmology 325
AFTERWORD: The Paths of General Relativity 346
Bibliography 349
Name Index 361

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