Very Special Relativity: An Illustrated Guide

Hardcover (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $1.99
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 90%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (55) from $1.99   
  • New (13) from $4.55   
  • Used (42) from $1.99   

Overview

Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity, first published in 1905, radically changed our understanding of the world. Familiar notions of space and time and energy were turned on their head, and our struggle with Einstein's counterintuitive explanation of these concepts was under way. The task is no easier today than it was a hundred years ago, but in this book Sander Bais has found an original and uniquely effective way to convey the fundamental ideas of Einstein's Special Theory.

Bais's previous book, The Equations, was widely read and roundly praised for its clear and commonsense explanation of the math in physics. Very Special Relativity brings the same accessible approach to Einstein's theory. Using a series of easy-to-follow diagrams and employing only elementary high school geometry, Bais conducts readers through the quirks and quandaries of such fundamental concepts as simultaneity, causality, and time dilation. The diagrams also illustrate the difference between the Newtonian view, in which time was universal, and the Einsteinian, in which the speed of light is universal.

Following Bais's straightforward sequence of simple, commonsense arguments, readers can tinker with the theory and its great paradoxes and, finally, arrive at a truly deep understanding of Einstein's interpretation of space and time. An intellectual journey into the heart of the Special Theory, the book offers an intimate look at the terms and ideas that define our reality.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Science News
Einstein’s theory of special relativity charmed some physicists immediately, and the general public soon after. More than a century later, guides to the topic are still in demand. This attractive little book mirrors Einstein’s theory in simplicity and design. Like a user manual for nonexperts seeking to understand the counterintuitive predictions of relativity, every page of concise text is paired with a space-time diagram. Bais, a theoretical physicist at the University of Amsterdam, chose a geometric approach intentionally, as it was the theories of relativity that drove physics back into the arena of geometry in the early 20th century. Visual learners will appreciate the pictorial language and lack of algebraic equations.
Los Angeles Times

A valiant attempt to visually depict the counterintuitive truths in Einstein's 1905 theory. Bais' vocabulary is friendly (to a point), and his spacetime grids, with their red, yellow and blue arrows, are certainly tantalizing. Staring at these grids long enough may well provide a flash of insight.
— Sara Lippincott

Seed
None of us will ever have the opportunity to travel at the speed of light. We will therefore never directly experience the malleability of a world governed by Einstein's special theory of relativity. But spending time with this elegantly designed little book is a great way to try. With its fantastic visual aids and concise explanations, we get a glimpse of what it's like to live in a world of flexible time and pliable objects.
New Scientist
When space shrivels and time slows, the world according to Einstein's special theory of relativity can be a confusing place. Luckily, Sander Bais's new book is here to help...Pages of diagrams accompanied by concise explanations illuminate all the oddities of relativity, from the twin paradox to E=mc2. For visual learners looking for a substantial, no-frills tour of Einstein's universe, this little book is a trusty guide.
Nature

The elegant illustrations help Bais lead the reader from Einstein's postulates through the ideas of simultaneity, inertial frames, time dilation and relativistic energy and momentum, eschewing the usual admonitions against equations. The author's clever idea of pairing every page of text with a space-time diagram (a graphical tool actually used by relativists) to illustrate the concepts and mathematics suits the geometrical basis of its subject perfectly...It is rare for science books to rate as objects in their own right, but Very Special Relativity is a lovely little object. You could easily imagine a web-based version of it, with a bit of animation to serve its pedagogical needs. Still, there is some quality about the hard covers and high resolution that even my 26-inch screen wouldn't be able to capture. No longer is there an excuse for physics textbooks to be expensive, boring, thick or stuffed with equations in order to qualify as good teaching material.
— Andrew Jaffe

Choice

This is an absolutely delightful little book...A work that is pleasing to the eye and to the mind.
— A. Spero

Los Angeles Times - Sara Lippincott
A valiant attempt to visually depict the counterintuitive truths in Einstein's 1905 theory. Bais' vocabulary is friendly (to a point), and his spacetime grids, with their red, yellow and blue arrows, are certainly tantalizing. Staring at these grids long enough may well provide a flash of insight.
Nature - Andrew Jaffe
The elegant illustrations help Bais lead the reader from Einstein's postulates through the ideas of simultaneity, inertial frames, time dilation and relativistic energy and momentum, eschewing the usual admonitions against equations. The author's clever idea of pairing every page of text with a space-time diagram (a graphical tool actually used by relativists) to illustrate the concepts and mathematics suits the geometrical basis of its subject perfectly...It is rare for science books to rate as objects in their own right, but Very Special Relativity is a lovely little object. You could easily imagine a web-based version of it, with a bit of animation to serve its pedagogical needs. Still, there is some quality about the hard covers and high resolution that even my 26-inch screen wouldn't be able to capture. No longer is there an excuse for physics textbooks to be expensive, boring, thick or stuffed with equations in order to qualify as good teaching material.
Choice - A. Spero
This is an absolutely delightful little book...A work that is pleasing to the eye and to the mind.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674026117
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 10/15/2007
  • Pages: 144
  • Sales rank: 1,022,576
  • Product dimensions: 7.60 (w) x 6.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Sander Bais is a theoretical physicist at the University of Amsterdam.
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Rise and fall The logistic equation
  • Mechanics and gravity Newton's dynamical equations and universal law of gravity
  • The electromagnetic force on a charge The Lorentz force law
  • A local conservation law The continuity equation
  • Electrodynamics The Maxwell equations
  • Electromagnetic waves The wave equations
  • Solitary waves The Korteweg-De Vries equation
  • ThermodynamicsThe three laws of thermodynamics
  • Kinetic theoryThe Bolzmann equation
  • HydrodynamicsThe Navier-Stokes equations
  • Special relativityRelativistic kinematics
  • General relativityThe Einstein equations
  • Quantum mechanicsThe Schrödinger equation
  • The relativistic electronThe Dirac equation
  • The strong forceQuantum chromodynamics
  • Electro-weak Interactions The Gashow–Weinberg–Salam model
  • String theory The superstring action
  • Back to the future A final perspective

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)