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Very Special Relativity: An Illustrated Guide

Popular ScienceOut of Print

By: Sander Bais

120 pages, 150 col illus

Harvard University Press

Hardback | Oct 2007 | #182175 | ISBN-13: 9780674026117
Out of Print Details

About this book

Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity, first published in 1905, radically changed our understanding of the world. Familiar notions of space and time and energy were turned on their head, and our struggle with Einstein's counterintuitive explanation of these concepts was under way. The task is no easier today than it was a hundred years ago, but in this book Sander Bais has found an original and uniquely effective way to convey the fundamental ideas of Einstein's Special Theory.Bais' previous book, "The Equations", was widely read and roundly praised for its clear and commonsense explanation of the math in physics. "Very Special Relativity" brings the same accessible approach to Einstein's theory.

Using a series of easy-to-follow diagrams and employing only elementary high school geometry, Bais conducts readers through the quirks and quandaries of such fundamental concepts as simultaneity, causality, and time dilation. The diagrams also illustrate the difference between the Newtonian view, in which time was universal, and the Einsteinian, in which the speed of light is universal.Following Bais' straightforward sequence of simple, commonsense arguments, readers can tinker with the theory and its great paradoxes and, finally, arrive at a truly deep understanding of Einstein's interpretation of space and time. An intellectual journey into the heart of the Special Theory, the book offers an intimate look at the terms and ideas that define our reality.

This is an absolutely delightful little book...A work that is pleasing to the eye and to the mind. -- A. Spero "Choice" (05/01/2008)

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Sander Bais is a physicist at the University of Amsterdam. He is the author of The Equations: Icons of Knowledge (Harvard).

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