Relativity: The Special and the General Theory

Relativity: The Special and the General Theory

by Albert Einstein
Relativity: The Special and the General Theory

Relativity: The Special and the General Theory

by Albert Einstein

Paperback(2nd ed)

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An easy to understand collection of the ideas of one of the greatest scientists of the twentieth century including the idea he is most known for, the theory of relativity

Redesigned inside and out to have a fresh, appealing look, this new edition of a classic Crown Trade Paperback is a collection of Einstein's own popular writings on his work and describes the meaning of his main theories in a way virtually everyone can understand.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780517884416
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/06/1995
Edition description: 2nd ed
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 269,165
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Albert Einstein (1879-1955), one of the greatest thinkers of the twentieth century, was born in Ulm, Germany, to German-Jewish parents. He published his first great theories in Switzerland in the early 1900s while working as a patent clerk.

Table of Contents

Part IThe Special Theory of Relativity
1Physical Meaning of Geometrical Propositions3
2The System of Co-ordinates6
3Space and Time in Classical Mechanics10
4The Galileian System of Co-ordinates12
5The Principle of Relativity (in the Restricted Sense)14
6The Theorem of the Addition of Velocities Employed in Classical Mechanics18
7The Apparent Incompatibility of the Law of Propagation of Light with the Principle of Relativity20
8On the Idea of Time in Physics23
9The Relativity of Simultaneity27
10On the Relativity of the Conception of Distance30
11The Lorentz Transformation32
12The Behaviour of Measuring-Rods and Clocks in Motion37
13Theorem of the Addition of Velocities. The Experiment of Fizeau40
14The Heuristic Value of the Theory of Relativity44
15General Results of the Theory46
16Experience and the Special Theory of Relativity51
17Minkowski's Four-dimensional Space56
Part IIThe General Theory of Relativity
18Special and General Principle of Relativity61
19The Gravitational Field65
20The Equality of Inertial and Gravitational Mass as an Argument for the General Postulate of Relativity68
21In what Respects are the Foundations of Classical Mechanics and of the Special Theory of Relativity Unsatisfactory?72
22A Few Inferences from the General Principle of Relativity75
23Behaviour of Clocks and Measuring-Rods on a Rotating Body of Reference79
24Euclidean and non-Euclidean Continuum83
25Gaussian Co-ordinates87
26The Space-Time Continuum of the Special Theory of Relativity Considered as a Euclidean Continuum91
27The Space-Time Continuum of the General Theory of Relativity is not a Euclidean Continuum94
28Exact Formulation of the General Principle of Relativity97
29The Solution of the Problem of Gravitation on the Basis of the General Principle of Relativity100
Part IIIConsiderations on the Universe as a Whole
30Cosmological Difficulties of Newton's Theory107
31The Possibility of a "Finite" and yet "Unbounded" Universe110
32The Structure of Space according to the General Theory of Relativity115
1Simple Derivation of the Lorentz Transformation [Supplementary to Section 11]117
2Minkowski's Four-dimensional Space ("World") [Supplementary to Section 17]124
3The Experimental Confirmation of the General Theory of Relativity126
(a)Motion of the Perihelion of Mercury127
(b)Deflection of Light by a Gravitational Field129
(c)Displacement of Spectral Lines towards the Red132
4The Structure of Space according to the General Theory of Relativity [Supplementary to Section 32]136
5Relativity and the Problem of Space139




The present book is intended, as far as possible, to give an exact insight into the theory of Relativity to those readers who, from a general scientific and philosophical point of view, are interested in the theory, but who are not conversant with the mathematical apparatus of theoretical physics. The work presumes a standard of education corresponding to that of a university matriculation examination, and, despite the shortness of the book, a fair amount of patience and force of will on the part of the reader. The author has spared himself no pains in his endeavour to present the main ideas in the simplest and most intelligible form, and on the whole, in the sequence and connection in which they actually originated. In the interest of clearness, it appeared to me inevitable that I should repeat myself frequently, without paying the slightest attention to the elegance of the presentation. I adhered scrupulously to the precept of that brilliant theoretical physicist, L. Boltzmann, according to whom matters of elegance ought to be left to the tailor and to the cobbler. I make no pretence of having with-held from the reader difficulties which are inherent to the subject. On the other hand, I have purposely treated the empirical physical foundations of the theory in a "step-motherly" fashion, so that readers unfamiliar with physics may not feel like the wanderer who was unable to see the forest for trees. May the book bring some one a few happy hours of suggestive thought!


December, 1916

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