The Riddle of Gravitation
In this thought-provoking book, written for the layman, a noted physicist offers a fresh, nonmathematical introduction to the conceptual foundations of both Newton's and Einstein's theories of gravitation. Since Einstein's general relativity theory, which deals with gravitation, requires some acquaintance with the ideas of the special theory of relativity (not in itself concerned with gravitation), the first part of the book is devoted primarily to the special theory. This section ranges from Newtonian physics through Einstein's discovery of the relativity of time and space, to the fusion of time and space into a four-dimensional whole by Hermann Minkowski.
Part Two is concerned with the general theory of relativity proper. General relativity is based on the hypothesis that, under the influence of gravity, space and time are curved, rather than flat, and that all aspects of gravity can be understood in terms of geometry. Part Three is devoted to recent developments, including the search for gravitational waves, the quantum theory of gravitation, particle motion, and other topics. Five appendixes contain mathematical derivations for the reader who desires a more technical treatment of the subject.
For this new edition, Professor Bergmann has also added updated material on gravitational radiation detectors, current problems in cosmology, the significance of singularities of the gravitational field, and more. The result is a fascinating excursion into the rarefied world of theoretical physics, yet one that is well within the grasp of the nonphysicist. Indeed, any intelligent layman, curious about relativity theory and its relation to current astronomical knowledge, will welcome this eloquent and cogent presentation of the subject.
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astronomical atoms axis called Cartesian components conﬁrmed continuum coordinate system cosmological covariance curvature curve deﬁned deﬁnite density depends direction distance earth Einstein electric charge electromagnetic ﬁeld energy equal equations ﬁgure ﬁnd ﬁnite ﬁrst ﬁxed ﬂat ﬂux four-dimensional frame of reference free-falling frame galaxies geometry gravitational acceleration gravitational ﬁeld gravitational radiation gravitational waves hence identiﬁed illustrations inertial frame inﬁnity inﬂuence instance interactions interior large mass light cone light signal lightlike linear momentum Lorentz frame magnetic magnitude manifold mathematical matter Maxwell’s Minkowski universe motion Newton’s objects observer orbit original parallel transport particles planet principle of equivalence propagation pulsars quantities quantum quasars redshift region relationship relativistic represent respect result rotation Schwarzschild radius space space-time spacelike spatial special theory speed of light sphere spherical straight lines structure surface tensor test bodies theory of gravitation theory of relativity timelike trajectory unaccelerated values vector velocity world points