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Relativity


Time Travel: A History

Time Travel: A History Lowest new price: $11.09
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Author: James Gleick

Best Books of 2016
BOSTON GLOBE * THE ATLANTIC


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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Dancing Wu Li Masters: An Overview of the New Physics

Dancing Wu Li Masters: An Overview of the New Physics Lowest new price: $6.20
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Author: Gary Zukav
Brand: HarperOne

“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

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Now: The Physics of Time

Now: The Physics of Time Lowest new price: $9.83
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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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Black Holes and Time Warps: Einstein's Outrageous Legacy (Commonwealth Fund Book Program)

Black Holes and Time Warps: Einstein's Outrageous Legacy (Commonwealth Fund Book Program) Lowest new price: $11.88
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Author: Kip S. Thorne
Brand: Kip S Thorne

Winner of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics

Ever since Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity burst upon the world in 1915 some of the most brilliant minds of our century have sought to decipher the mysteries bequeathed by that theory, a legacy so unthinkable in some respects that even Einstein himself rejected them.

Which of these bizarre phenomena, if any, can really exist in our universe? Black holes, down which anything can fall but from which nothing can return; wormholes, short spacewarps connecting regions of the cosmos; singularities, where space and time are so violently warped that time ceases to exist and space becomes a kind of foam; gravitational waves, which carry symphonic accounts of collisions of black holes billions of years ago; and time machines, for traveling backward and forward in time.

Kip Thorne, along with fellow theorists Stephen Hawking and Roger Penrose, a cadre of Russians, and earlier scientists such as Oppenheimer, Wheeler and Chandrasekhar, has been in the thick of the quest to secure answers. In this masterfully written and brilliantly informed work of scientific history and explanation, Dr. Thorne, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist and the Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics Emeritus at Caltech, leads his readers through an elegant, always human, tapestry of interlocking themes, coming finally to a uniquely informed answer to the great question: what principles control our universe and why do physicists think they know the things they think they know? Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time has been one of the greatest best-sellers in publishing history. Anyone who struggled with that book will find here a more slowly paced but equally mind-stretching experience, with the added fascination of a rich historical and human component.

Winner of the Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science.

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  • Black Holes and Time Warps Einstein s Outrageous Legacy

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The Jazz of Physics: The Secret Link Between Music and the Structure of the Universe

The Jazz of Physics: The Secret Link Between Music and the Structure of the Universe Lowest new price: $12.00
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Author: Stephon Alexander

"Music lovers are at high risk of being inspired by this exploration of the connections between music and physics." --Wall Street Journal

More than fifty years ago, John Coltrane drew the twelve musical notes in a circle and connected them by straight lines, forming a five-pointed star. Inspired by Einstein, Coltrane put physics and geometry at the core of his music.

Physicist and jazz musician Stephon Alexander follows suit, using jazz to answer physics' most vexing questions about the past and future of the universe. Following the great minds that first drew the links between music and physics-a list including Pythagoras, Kepler, Newton, Einstein, and Rakim-The Jazz of Physics reveals that the ancient poetic idea of the Music of the Spheres," taken seriously, clarifies confounding issues in physics.

The Jazz of Physics
will fascinate and inspire anyone interested in the mysteries of our universe, music, and life itself.

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Relativity: The Special and General Theory

Relativity: The Special and General Theory Lowest new price: $5.43
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Author: Albert Einstein
Brand: Brand: Digireads.com

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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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: $14.99
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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." – Amazon.co.uk

"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." – Amazon.com

"Well done – a magnificent achievement" – Amazon.co.uk

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

Contents
Preface
Introduction
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
Bibliography
Acknowledgements

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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Six Not-So-Easy Pieces: Einstein’s Relativity, Symmetry, and Space-Time

Six Not-So-Easy Pieces: Einstein’s Relativity, Symmetry, and Space-Time Lowest new price: $8.27
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Author: Richard P. Feynman
Brand: Feynman Richard P Leighton Robert B Sands Matthew

It was Feynman's outrageous and scintillating method of teaching that earned him legendary status among students and professors of physics. From 1961 to 1963, Feynman delivered a series of lectures at the California Institute of Technology that revolutionized the teaching of physics. In Six Not-So-Easy Pieces, taken from these famous lectures, Feynman delves into one of the most revolutionary discoveries in twentieth-century physics: Einstein's theory of relativity. The idea that the flow of time is not constant, that the mass of an object depends on its velocity, and that the speed of light is a constant no matter what the motion of the observer, at first seemed shocking to scientists and laymen alike. But as Feynman shows, these tricky ideas are not merely dry principles of physics, but things of beauty and elegance.

No one—not even Einstein himself—explained these difficult, anti-intuitive concepts more clearly, or with more verve and gusto, than Richard Feynman. Filled with wonderful examples and clever illustrations, Six Not-So-Easy Pieces is the ideal introduction to fundamentals of physics by one of the most admired and accessible physicists of all times.

“There is no better explanation for the scientifically literate layman.”—The Washington Post Book World

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The Physics of Everyday Things: The Extraordinary Science Behind an Ordinary Day

The Physics of Everyday Things: The Extraordinary Science Behind an Ordinary Day Lowest new price: $9.89
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Author: James Kakalios
Brand: CROWN

Physics professor, bestselling author, and dynamic storyteller James Kakalios reveals the mind-bending science behind the seemingly basic things that keep our daily lives running, from our smart phones and digital “clouds” to x-ray machines and hybrid vehicles.
 
Most of us are clueless when it comes to the physics that makes our modern world so convenient. What’s the simple science behind motion sensors, touch screens, and toasters? How do we glide through tolls using an E-Z Pass, or find our way to new places using GPS?  In The Physics of Everyday Things, James Kakalios takes us on an amazing journey into the subatomic marvels that underlie so much of what we use and take for granted.
 
Breaking down the world of things into a single day, Kakalios engages our curiosity about how our refrigerators keep food cool, how a plane manages to remain airborne, and how our wrist fitness monitors keep track of our steps. Each explanation is coupled with a story revealing the interplay of the astonishing invisible forces that surround us. Through this “narrative physics,” The Physics of Everyday Things demonstrates that—far from the abstractions conjured by terms like the Higgs Boson, black holes, and gravity waves—sophisticated science is also quite practical. With his signature clarity and inventiveness, Kakalios ignites our imaginations and enthralls us with the principles that make up our lives. 

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  • CROWN

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One Two Three . . . Infinity: Facts and Speculations of Science (Dover Books on Mathematics)

One Two Three . . . Infinity: Facts and Speculations of Science (Dover Books on Mathematics) Lowest new price: $7.70
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Author: George Gamow
Brand: Dover Publications

". . . full of intellectual treats and tricks, of whimsy and deep scientific philosophy. It is highbrow entertainment at its best, a teasing challenge to all who aspire to think about the universe." — New York Herald Tribune
One of the world's foremost nuclear physicists (celebrated for his theory of radioactive decay, among other accomplishments), George Gamow possessed the unique ability of making the world of science accessible to the general reader.
He brings that ability to bear in this delightful expedition through the problems, pleasures, and puzzles of modern science. Among the topics scrutinized with the author's celebrated good humor and pedagogical prowess are the macrocosm and the microcosm, theory of numbers, relativity of space and time, entropy, genes, atomic structure, nuclear fission, and the origin of the solar system.
In the pages of this book readers grapple with such crucial matters as whether it is possible to bend space, why a rocket shrinks, the "end of the world problem," excursions into the fourth dimension, and a host of other tantalizing topics for the scientifically curious. Brimming with amusing anecdotes and provocative problems, One Two Three . . . Infinity also includes over 120 delightful pen-and-ink illustrations by the author, adding another dimension of good-natured charm to these wide-ranging explorations.
Whatever your level of scientific expertise, chances are you'll derive a great deal of pleasure, stimulation, and information from this unusual and imaginative book. It belongs in the library of anyone curious about the wonders of the scientific universe. "In One Two Three . . . Infinity, as in his other books, George Gamow succeeds where others fail because of his remarkable ability to combine technical accuracy, choice of material, dignity of expression, and readability." — Saturday Review of Literature

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