Einstein's Theories of Relativity and Gravitation

Front Cover
Scientific American Publishing Company, 1921 - Relativity (Physics) - 345 pages
153 Reviews
Einstein's theory of relativity confounded and excited both professional and amateur scientists with its explanation of the intricacies of how the world and the universe truly work, rather than how people wished or believed they worked. His view of relativity dismantled Newton's theory of space and time as absolutes, adding the concept of curved space-time, which deals with the velocity of motion. Einstein explains his theory of physics in a way that was designed not only for scientists with a knowledge of the complicated math involved but for the general reader as well.

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

Brings a foreign subject matter to most people and tries to make ti understadable and readable. I was able to follow the general theory and i think this book is for the non-physics general public. But it is a bit dated in the terms. Mainly the fact that ether is still in this book is annoying 

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

Read this book if you want to go to sleep. Seriously though i was falling asleep reading this boring book. this dude describes these stupid essays written in 1920 like Tom Clancy describes how a bullet got shot and hit nothing in 3 chapters.

All 10 reviews »


Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page 70 - The second is that the velocity of light in free space appears the same to all observers regardless of the relative motion of the source of light and the observer.
Page 288 - K' provided that K and K' are in uniform movement of translation." The second principle on which the special relativity theory rests is that of the constancy of the velocity of light in a vacuum. Light in a vacuum has a definite and constant velocity, independent of the velocity of its source. Physicists owe their confidence in this proposition to the Maxwell-Lorentz theory of electro-dynamics.
Page 107 - Getting along without drugs may seem as preposterous as did the theory that the earth rotates on its axis and revolves around the sun, to the ancient astronomers.
Page 35 - ... absolute, true, and mathematical, time flows in virtue of its own nature, uniformly, and without reference to any external object; absolute space, by virtue of its own nature, and without reference to any external object, always remains the same and is immovable.
Page 228 - ... principle of relativity states that those relations, and those alone, which persist unchanged in form for all possible space-time reference frameworks are the inherent laws of nature. To find such relations Einstein has applied a mathematical method of great power — the calculus of tensors — with extraordinary success. This calculus threshes out the laws of nature, separating the observer's eccentricities from what is independent of him, with the superb efficiency of a modern harvester.
Page 223 - To exhibit this, we must recall a familiar proposition of geometry: the square on the longest side of a right-angled triangle is equal to the sum of the squares on the other two sides.
Page 248 - The laws of physical phenomena, or rather the mathematical expressions for these laws, are covariant (unchanged in form) when we apply the Lorentz transformation to them. The deductions from the Michelson-Morley experiment now seem to have reached their ultimate conclusion. One discordant fact in this new theory remained, however. That same precession of the perihelion of Mercury which had first lead Einstein to his theory remained unsettled. When the new approximations were applied to the formula...
Page 47 - ... position of an object can only be determined with reference to other objects: in order to describe the place of a material thing we must, for example state its distances from other things. If there were no such bodies of reference, the words "position in space" would have no definite meaning for us.]2* [The number of such external bodies of reference which it is necessary to cite in order to define completely the position of a given body in space depends upon the character of the space dealt...
Page 206 - They exhibit the difference by acquiring an acceleration; and we explain the acceleration by alleging the existence of a force, which we call the force of gravitation. But their motions can in fact be perfectly predicted if we know the geometry of the space through which they are traveling. The predictions so based have in fact proved more accurate than those based on the law of gravitation. SPACE, TIME AND GRAVITATION AN OUTLINE OF EINSTEIN'S THEORY OF GENERAL RELATIVITY BY W. DE SITTER PROFESSOR...
Page 28 - ... verified. If new facts are discovered that are not in agreement with one of these generalized statements, the assumptions on which the latter is based are examined, those which are not in accordance with the -new facts are given up, and the statement is modified so as to include the new facts.]10 [And if one remembers that the laws of physics were formerly based on a range of observations much narrower than at present available, it seems natural that in the light of this widening knowledge one...

About the author (1921)

Born in Germany, Albert Einstein devised his general theory of relativity while he worked at the Patent Office in Bern, Switzerland. It has since become the bedrock of modern physics. Einstein was educated as a physicist and taught at several universities in Europe before renouncing his German citizenship and immigrating to the United States after the rise of Nazism. He taught at Princeton until 1945 and died a decade later. His theories continue to influence generations of physicists.

Bibliographic information