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Relativity: The Special and General Theory

Relativity: The Special and General Theory Lowest new price: $5.73
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Author: Albert Einstein
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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 text is divided into three parts which deal respectively with the special theory of relativity, with the general theory of relativity, and with considerations on the universe as a whole. The special theory deals with the physics of elementary particles while the general theory is concerned with the force of gravity and its effect on the other forces of nature. These two theories, while exceptional in their explanations of their particular focus, are inconsistent with each other, and it has long been an aim of the science of physics to help resolve these inconsistencies. Einstein proposed that, rather than discarding these two principles for being conflicting, the rules of time and space should be completely revamped and rethought in order to find a way to make these two principles work in harmony. It is Einstein’s work on relativity which would earn him the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics and establish his legacy as one of the most famous scientists of all time. This edition is translated by Robert W. Lawson and is printed on premium acid-free paper.

How better to learn the Special Theory of Relativity and the General Theory of Relativity than directly from their creator, Albert Einstein himself? In Relativity: The Special and the General Theory, Einstein describes the theories that made him famous, illuminating his case with numerous examples and a smattering of math (nothing more complex than high-school algebra). Einstein's book is not casual reading, but for those who appreciate his work without diving into the arcana of theoretical physics, Relativity will prove a stimulating read.


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Ripples in Spacetime: Einstein, Gravitational Waves, and the Future of Astronomy

Ripples in Spacetime: Einstein, Gravitational Waves, and the Future of Astronomy Lowest new price: $19.92
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Author: Govert Schilling

"The detection of gravitational waves - ripples in spacetime - by the Ligo-Virgo observatories has already been called the scientific coup of this century and lead to the scientists responsible being awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize for Physics. Govert Schilling recounts the struggles that threatened to derail the quest and describes the detector's astounding precision, weaving far-reaching discoveries about the universe into a gripping story of ambition and perseverance."

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A Most Incomprehensible Thing: Notes Towards a Very Gentle Introduction to the Mathematics of Relativity

A Most Incomprehensible Thing: Notes Towards a Very Gentle Introduction to the Mathematics of Relativity Lowest new price: $13.49
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Author: Peter Collier

A clear and enjoyable guide to the mathematics of relativity – THE AMAZON BESTSELLER
To really understand relativity – one of the cornerstones of modern physics – you have to get to grips with the mathematics. This user-friendly self-study guide is aimed at the general reader who is motivated to tackle that not insignificant challenge. The book is written using straightforward and accessible language, with clear derivations and explanations as well as numerous fully solved problems. For those with minimal mathematical background, the first chapter provides a crash course in foundation mathematics. The reader is then taken gently by the hand and guided through a wide range of fundamental topics, including Newtonian mechanics; the Lorentz transformations; tensor calculus; the Einstein field equations; the Schwarzschild solution (which gives a good approximation of the spacetime of our Solar System); simple black holes and relativistic cosmology. Following the historic 2015 LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) detection, there is now an additional chapter on gravitational waves, ripples in the fabric of spacetime that potentially provide a revolutionary new way to study the universe.

Special relativity helps explain a huge range of non-gravitational physical phenomena and has some strangely counter-intuitive consequences. These include time dilation, length contraction, the relativity of simultaneity, mass-energy equivalence and an absolute speed limit. General relativity, the leading theory of gravity, is at the heart of our understanding of cosmology and black holes.

Understand even the basics of Einstein's amazing theory and the world will never seem the same again.

Reader reviews
" ... do not be put off by the title! This is a great book on relativity which nicely bridges the gap between those books catering for readers who know little or nothing about relativity and those texts intended for physics mathematical specialists." –

"Long story made short ... it is a gem. It works through the essential material and concepts carefully and patiently, and you would have a hard time not tracking the text, it is so clear. I highly recommend this book." –

"Well done – a magnificent achievement" –

"Highly recommended for anyone willing to invest some time and effort." –

1 Foundation mathematics
2 Newtonian mechanics
3 Special relativity
4 Introducing the manifold
5 Scalars, vectors, one-forms and tensors
6 More on curvature
7 General relativity
8 The Newtonian limit
9 The Schwarzschild metric
10 Schwarzschild black holes
11 Cosmology
12 Gravitational waves
Appendix: The Riemann curvature tensor

March 2017. This third edition has been revised to make the material even more accessible to the enthusiastic general reader who seeks to understand the mathematics of relativity.

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Lectures on Gravitation

Lectures on Gravitation Lowest new price: $107.37
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Author: Ashok Das
Brand: Brand: World Scientific Publishing Company

This book is a compilation of the lectures for a one-semester course on gravitation at the University of Rochester. Starting from a simple description of geometry, the topics are systematically developed to the big bang theory with a simple derivation of the cosmic background temperature. Several informative examples are worked out in detail as well.


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Dancing Wu Li Masters: An Overview of the New Physics

Dancing Wu Li Masters: An Overview of the New Physics Lowest new price: $6.59
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Author: Gary Zukav
Brand: Gary Zukav

“The most exciting intellectual adventure I've been on since reading Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.”
Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, New York Times

Gary Zukav’s timeless, humorous, New York Times bestselling masterpiece, The Dancing Wu Li Masters, is arguably the most widely acclaimed introduction to quantum physics ever written. Scientific American raves: “Zukav is such a skilled expositor, with such an amiable style, that it is hard to imagine a layman who would not find his book enjoyable and informative.” Accessible, edifying, and endlessly entertaining, The Dancing Wu Li Masters is back in a beautiful new edition—and the doors to the fascinating, dazzling, remarkable world of quantum physics are opened to all once again, no previous mathematical or technical expertise required.

At an Esalen Institute meeting in 1976, tai chi master Al Huang said that the Chinese word for physics is Wu Li, "patterns of organic energy." Journalist Gary Zukav and the others present developed the idea of physics as the dance of the Wu Li Masters--the teachers of physical essence. Zukav explains the concept further:

The Wu Li Master dances with his student. The Wu Li Master does not teach, but the student learns. The Wu Li Master always begins at the center, the heart of the matter.... This book deals not with knowledge, which is always past tense anyway, but with imagination, which is physics come alive, which is Wu Li.... Most people believe that physicists are explaining the world. Some physicists even believe that, but the Wu Li Masters know that they are only dancing with it.

The "new physics" of Zukav's 1979 book comprises quantum theory, particle physics, and relativity. Even as these theories age they haven't percolated all that far into the collective consciousness; they're too far removed from mundane human experience not to need introduction. The Dancing Wu Li Masters remains an engaging, accessible way to meet the most profound and mind-altering insights of 20th-century science. --Mary Ellen Curtin


  • Dancing Wu Li Masters An Overview of the New Physics

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Time Travel: A History

Time Travel: A History Lowest new price: $10.11
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Author: James Gleick

Best Books of 2016

From the acclaimed bestselling author of The Information and Chaos comes this enthralling history of time travel—a concept that has preoccupied physicists and storytellers over the course of the last century.

James Gleick delivers a mind-bending exploration of time travel—from its origins in literature and science to its influence on our understanding of time itself. Gleick vividly explores physics, technology, philosophy, and art as each relates to time travel and tells the story of the concept's cultural evolutions—from H.G. Wells to Doctor Who, from Proust to Woody Allen. He takes a close look at the porous boundary between science fiction and modern physics, and, finally, delves into what it all means in our own moment in time—the world of the instantaneous, with its all-consuming present and vanishing future.

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The Little Book of Black Holes (Science Essentials)

The Little Book of Black Holes (Science Essentials) Lowest new price: $8.39
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Author: Steven S. Gubser

Dive into a mind-bending exploration of the physics of black holes

Black holes, predicted by Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity more than a century ago, have long intrigued scientists and the public with their bizarre and fantastical properties. Although Einstein understood that black holes were mathematical solutions to his equations, he never accepted their physical reality―a viewpoint many shared. This all changed in the 1960s and 1970s, when a deeper conceptual understanding of black holes developed just as new observations revealed the existence of quasars and X-ray binary star systems, whose mysterious properties could be explained by the presence of black holes. Black holes have since been the subject of intense research―and the physics governing how they behave and affect their surroundings is stranger and more mind-bending than any fiction.

After introducing the basics of the special and general theories of relativity, this book describes black holes both as astrophysical objects and theoretical “laboratories” in which physicists can test their understanding of gravitational, quantum, and thermal physics. From Schwarzschild black holes to rotating and colliding black holes, and from gravitational radiation to Hawking radiation and information loss, Steven Gubser and Frans Pretorius use creative thought experiments and analogies to explain their subject accessibly. They also describe the decades-long quest to observe the universe in gravitational waves, which recently resulted in the LIGO observatories’ detection of the distinctive gravitational wave “chirp” of two colliding black holes―the first direct observation of black holes’ existence.

The Little Book of Black Holes takes readers deep into the mysterious heart of the subject, offering rare clarity of insight into the physics that makes black holes simple yet destructive manifestations of geometric destiny.

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Now: The Physics of Time

Now: The Physics of Time Lowest new price: $11.25
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Author: Richard A. Muller

From the celebrated author of the best-selling Physics for Future Presidents comes “a provocative, strongly argued book on the fundamental nature of time” (Lee Smolin).

You are reading the word “now” right now. But what does that mean? What makes the ephemeral moment “now” so special? Its enigmatic character has bedeviled philosophers, priests, and modern-day physicists from Augustine to Einstein and beyond. Einstein showed that the flow of time is affected by both velocity and gravity, yet he despaired at his failure to explain the meaning of “now.” Equally puzzling: why does time flow? Some physicists have given up trying to understand, and call the flow of time an illusion, but the eminent experimentalist physicist Richard A. Muller protests. He says physics should explain reality, not deny it.

In Now, Muller does more than poke holes in past ideas; he crafts his own revolutionary theory, one that makes testable predictions. He begins by laying out―with the refreshing clarity that made Physics for Future Presidents so successful―a firm and remarkably clear explanation of the physics building blocks of his theory: relativity, entropy, entanglement, antimatter, and the Big Bang. With the stage then set, he reveals a startling way forward.

Muller’s monumental work will spark major debate about the most fundamental assumptions of our universe, and may crack one of physics’s longest-standing enigmas.

42 illustrations

An Amazon Best Book of September 2016: Are you ready to have your mind blown? The topic of time and the theory of relativity sounds, well, merely theoretical until you realize upon reading Now that our GPS satellites have to compensate for time dilation constantly—otherwise they’d send us a location that’s inaccurate by almost a mile and a half. Muller’s enthusiasm for physics propels the reader through complex ideas such as space-time, entropy, the flexibility of space, lightspeed loopholes, and his dislike of string theory. Calvin and Hobbes cartoons and Terminator references sit side by side with equations such as Entropy = k log W—but don’t let that alarm you. The best nonfiction books expand your knowledge, and Now takes that effort one step further by expanding how you actually think about so-called reality. Muller’s love of physics will charm even those who want nothing to do with the subject, and even more engaging is his humility about the extent of our current understanding of how the universe works: “I think we can take joy in the speculation that we are not running out of important things to discover.” With Now, readers will find plenty that will expand their brains and prepare them for that next amazing discovery. --Adrian Liang, The Amazon Book Review

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The Formative Years of Relativity: The History and Meaning of Einstein's Princeton Lectures

The Formative Years of Relativity: The History and Meaning of Einstein's Princeton Lectures Lowest new price: $26.77
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Author: Hanoch Gutfreund

First published in 1922 and based on lectures delivered in May 1921, Albert Einstein’s The Meaning of Relativity offered an overview and explanation of the then new and controversial theory of relativity. The work would go on to become a monumental classic, printed in numerous editions and translations worldwide. Now, The Formative Years of Relativity introduces Einstein’s masterpiece to new audiences. This beautiful volume contains Einstein’s insightful text, accompanied by important historical materials and commentary looking at the origins and development of general relativity. Hanoch Gutfreund and Jürgen Renn provide fresh, original perspectives, placing Einstein’s achievements into a broader context for all readers.

In this book, Gutfreund and Renn tell the rich story behind the early reception, spread, and consequences of Einstein’s ideas during the formative years of general relativity in the late 1910s and 1920s. They show that relativity’s meaning changed radically throughout the nascent years of its development, and they describe in detail the transformation of Einstein’s work from the esoteric pursuit of one individual communicating with a handful of colleagues into the preoccupation of a growing community of physicists, astronomers, mathematicians, and philosophers.

This handsome edition quotes extensively from Einstein’s correspondence and reproduces historical documents such as newspaper articles and letters. Inserts are featured in the main text giving concise explanations of basic concepts, and short biographical notes and photographs of some of Einstein’s contemporaries are included. The first-ever English translations of two of Einstein’s popular Princeton lectures are featured at the book’s end.

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Spacetime and Geometry: An Introduction to General Relativity

Spacetime and Geometry: An Introduction to General Relativity Lowest new price: $122.10
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Author: Sean Carroll
Brand: Brand: Addison-Wesley

Spacetime and Geometry: An Introduction to General Relativity provides a lucid and thoroughly modern introduction to general relativity. With an accessible and lively writing style, it introduces modern techniques to what can often be a formal and intimidating subject. Readers are led from the physics of flat spacetime (special relativity), through the intricacies of differential geometry and Einstein's equations, and on to exciting applications such as black holes, gravitational radiation, and cosmology.


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