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The Wonderful World of Relativity: A Precise Guide for the General Reader

Popular Science

By: Andrew Steane

248 pages, 4 b/w photos, 66 b/w line drawings

Oxford University Press

Hardback | Oct 2011 | #195132 | ISBN-13: 9780199694617
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £19.99 $26/€22 approx

About this book

This book provides a lively and visual introduction to Einstein's theory of relativity. It brings to life the excitement of this fascinating subject, for an audience including young people at school (post-16) and the general public with an interest in modern physics. It is different from existing books in that is uses many diagrams and simple equations (the reader is carefully guided through them), and richly rewards the reader with beautiful mathematical and physical insights. It begins by introducing spacetime, in the familiar context of low velocities. It then shows how Einstein's theory forces us to understand time in a new way. Paradoxes and puzzles are introduced and resolved, and the book culminates in a thorough unfolding of the relation between mass and energy. The book draws on the author's many years of experience in writing articles and reviews for a non-expert readership, and presenting physics to school pupils.

Steane's book is original - it really starts with a level accessible to gifted schoolchildren and then guides the reader in a step-by-step manner and without much formalism to the central concepts of the theory. The book is perhaps as elementary as it can be without making undue oversimplifications. - Claus Kiefer, University of Cologne, Germany


1: Introduction
2: A preview: the Laws of Motion
3: Something odd is happening all around us
4: Spacetime
5: Reference frames and coordinates
6: The basic principles of Relativity
7: Foundations re-explored.
8: Navigating in spacetime
9: Faster than light
10: Introduction to momentum and energy
11: Conclusion

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Andrew M. Steane was born in Bath, England (1965) and educated at Christ's Hospital school and Oxford University. He has been Professor of Physics at the University of Oxford since 2002 and has been a Visiting Professor at various institutes. Steane was awarded the Maxwell Medal and Prize of the Institute of Physics in 2000 for his work on quantum error correction. He has given numerous public lectures and school demonstrations in physics.

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