Relativity: The Special and the General Theory

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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.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Penguin
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Published on
Jul 25, 2006
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Pages
208
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ISBN
9781440627125
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Science / Cosmology
Science / History
Science / Physics / Relativity
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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This book is a treatise on time and on background independence in physics. It first considers how time is conceived of in each accepted paradigm of physics: Newtonian, special relativity, quantum mechanics (QM) and general relativity (GR). Substantial differences are moreover uncovered between what is meant by time in QM and in GR. These differences jointly source the Problem of Time: Nine interlinked facets which arise upon attempting concurrent treatment of the QM and GR paradigms, as is required in particular for a background independent theory of quantum gravity. A sizeable proportion of current quantum gravity programs - e.g. geometrodynamical and loop quantum gravity approaches to quantum GR, quantum cosmology, supergravity and M-theory - are background independent in this sense. This book's foundational topic is thus furthermore of practical relevance in the ongoing development of quantum gravity programs.

This book shows moreover that eight of the nine facets of the Problem of Time already occur upon entertaining background independence in classical (rather than quantum) physics. By this development, and interpreting shape theory as modelling background independence, this book further establishes background independence as a field of study. Background independent mechanics, as well as minisuperspace (spatially homogeneous) models of GR and perturbations thereabout are used to illustrate these points. As hitherto formulated, the different facets of the Problem of Time greatly interfere with each others' attempted resolutions. This book explains how, none the less, a local resolution of the Problem of Time can be arrived at after various reconceptualizations of the facets and reformulations of their mathematical implementation. Self-contained appendices on mathematical methods for basic and foundational quantum gravity are included. Finally, this book outlines how supergravity is refreshingly different from GR as a realization of background independence, and what background independence entails at the topological level and beyond.


"Stanley is a storyteller par excellence."--The Washington Post
Kirkus Review starred review; Publishers Weekly starred review; Booklist starred review

The birth of a world-changing idea in the middle of a bloodbath
Einstein’s War is a riveting exploration of both the beauty of scientific creativity and enduring horrors of human nature. These two great forces battle in a story that culminates with a victory now a century old, the mind-bending theory of general relativity.
 
Few recognize how the Great War, the industrialized slaughter that bled Europe from 1914 to 1918, shaped Einstein’s life and work. While Einstein never held a rifle, he formulated general relativity blockaded in Berlin, literally starving. He lost fifty pounds in three months, unable to communicate with his most important colleagues. Some of those colleagues fought against rabid nationalism; others were busy inventing chemical warfare—being a scientist trapped you in the power plays of empire. Meanwhile, Einstein struggled to craft relativity and persuade the world that it was correct. This was, after all, the first complete revision of our conception of the universe since Isaac Newton, and its victory was far from sure.
 
Scientists seeking to confirm Einstein’s ideas were arrested as spies. Technical journals were banned as enemy propaganda. Colleagues died in the trenches. Einstein was separated from his most crucial ally by barbed wire and U-boats. This ally was the Quaker astronomer and Cambridge don A. S. Eddington, who would go on to convince the world of the truth of relativity and the greatness of Einstein.
 
In May of 1919, when Europe was still in chaos from the war, Eddington led a globe-spanning expedition to catch a fleeting solar eclipse for a rare opportunity to confirm Einstein’s bold prediction that light has weight. It was the result of this expedition—the proof of relativity, as many saw it—that put Einstein on front pages around the world. Matthew Stanley’s epic tale is a celebration of how bigotry and nationalism can be defeated and of what science can offer when they are.
First published in 1973, Gravitation is a landmark graduate-level textbook that presents Einstein’s general theory of relativity and offers a rigorous, full-year course on the physics of gravitation. Upon publication, Science called it “a pedagogic masterpiece,” and it has since become a classic, considered essential reading for every serious student and researcher in the field of relativity. This authoritative text has shaped the research of generations of physicists and astronomers, and the book continues to influence the way experts think about the subject.

With an emphasis on geometric interpretation, this masterful and comprehensive book introduces the theory of relativity; describes physical applications, from stars to black holes and gravitational waves; and portrays the field’s frontiers. The book also offers a unique, alternating, two-track pathway through the subject. Material focusing on basic physical ideas is designated as Track 1 and formulates an appropriate one-semester graduate-level course. The remaining Track 2 material provides a wealth of advanced topics instructors can draw on for a two-semester course, with Track 1 sections serving as prerequisites.

This must-have reference for students and scholars of relativity includes a new preface by David Kaiser, reflecting on the history of the book’s publication and reception, and a new introduction by Charles Misner and Kip Thorne, discussing exciting developments in the field since the book’s original publication.

The book teaches students to:Grasp the laws of physics in flat and curved spacetimePredict orders of magnitudeCalculate using the principal tools of modern geometryUnderstand Einstein's geometric framework for physicsExplore applications, including neutron stars, Schwarzschild and Kerr black holes, gravitational collapse, gravitational waves, cosmology, and so much more
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