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Books on Relativity

  1. Apr 23, 2005 #1
    I'm looking for a book that explains Special and General Relativity without the math (my math isn't up to par yet).
     
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  3. Apr 23, 2005 #2

    robphy

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  4. Apr 23, 2005 #3

    mathwonk

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    my favorite first book, and still favorite, just to find out why "time dilates", and "lengths contract", was "the universe and Dr. Einstein" by lincoln barnett. it was a small cheap paperback, and i still have a copy. I enjoyed this at the age of 15 and still do.

    The first idea explained there, is the problem of how to verify that two events happening at different places, happened at the same time. As I recall, (from 1957), it turns out it cannot be done! So the first paradox is to appreciate that "simultaneity" makes no sense except for events happening at the same place. This is a lovely elementary book. The author is a journalist.

    Another well liked work is "Spacetime Physics" by Mark? Taylor and John Archibald Wheeler, from about 1967. It has some delightful illustrations from the works of Jules Verne. At least read the first paragraph, on the parable of the surveyor. Wheeler, was among, or even the, foremost expert on relativity.

    Einstein himself also wrote some non mathematical introductions, which are of course excellent, and make the ideas very clear.

    As I recall, in my search for explanations of relativity in the 1970's, I happened upon a "Golden Book of Physics" at a rest stop on the turnpike, intended maybe for 6 and 7 year olds. It seemed to me then that even this book did a good job!
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2005
  5. Apr 23, 2005 #4
    'yet'..? That looks very promising :rolleyes:

    The elegant universe by brian greene is a absolute must for a watered-down reltaivity introduction.
     
  6. Apr 23, 2005 #5

    Gokul43201

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    Try Bertrand Russell's ABC of Relativity
     
  7. Apr 23, 2005 #6
    anything that explains special and general relativity without math can at best be a pop science book. if you want something that gets you started with no more than high school alzebra, look at relativity by resnick. my favourite is the book by taylor and wheeler. both deal with special relativity, mostly.
     
  8. Apr 24, 2005 #7

    Gokul43201

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    If pop science it must be, then pop science it shall. There's no way you'll get very much further than a pop science understanding with just high school algebra. Resnick has partial derivatives right in the first chapter. And even if you skip past the worked problems, you can not understand forces, energy or electrodynamics without (vector) calculus. Nevertheless, the first 2 chapters of Resnick are quite illuminating by themselves, and the supplements at the end of the book are fairly readable too.
     
  9. Apr 24, 2005 #8

    mathwonk

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    i'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that probably the book by einstein is the best place to start. you can probably guess why.

    try this for a bargain:

    Albert Einstein
    Relativity: The Special and the General Theory
    Three Rivers Press*Used - Good. May have some hi-lighting/marking and wear. Your purchase benefits Books For Africa!
    ISBN: 0517025302
    Bookseller Inventory #Z0-004-784
    *Price:*US$*1.00 (Convert Currency) Shipping:*Rates & Speed
    Bookseller:*Better World Books, 3702 W. Sample St., South Bend, IN, U.S.A., 46619
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2005
  10. Apr 28, 2005 #9
    I like Spacetime Physics by Taylor & Wheeler, very beginner friendly.

    edit: Though it does have math, but the math is VERY basic. If you can add/subtract/divide/multiply you can do it.
     
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