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Paper discussing the mathematics of relativity

  1. Nov 5, 2007 #1

    I am looking for a paper that discusses the mathematics behind the special/general theories of relativity. The majority of the papers I have come across so far discuss the principals of relativity and do not support it with mathematical conclusions. One of the papers I am looking for is by H.A. Lorentz, H. Minkowski, and A. Einstein. I think the paper was published under the title Das Relativitdtsprinsip (The Principal of Relativity). Also, if someone could point me toward a link to the original papers that Einstein published c1900 that would be much appreciated. Thanks for all your help.
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  3. Nov 5, 2007 #2


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  4. Nov 5, 2007 #3

    Chris Hillman

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    Question for lvlastermind

    Are you a student of history of physics? If not, why would you ignore the tremendous amount of progress which has been made in understanding relatvistic physics since the book you asked about was first published? The book you asked about is a collection of original papers, none later than 1918, so it is 90 years out of date if you want to learn about relativistic mathematical physics.
  5. Nov 7, 2007 #4
    The paper I am writing is for a history of science class but i am also interested in progress that has been made. Furthermore, I am more interested in the math that accompanies this progress then I am the hypothesis and paradoxes that have resulted. I am not ignoring the progress that has been made. I am simply creating a base for my understanding to further interpret the theory. I believe it is just as important to comprehend how the conclusions of the theory were formulated then the theory itself.

    Thanks for the link robphy
  6. Nov 7, 2007 #5

    Chris Hillman

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    OK, I get it.

    Now I understand your interest in the original papers! :wink:

    Great! Well, I'm sure PF posters will be happy to reccommend more books which might bring you up to date (in fact, try the books I recommended to Yiannis in another current thread).

    Agreed, although those who don't have a good reason for studying the original papers (as you do) will IMO find it more efficient to study modern textbooks first to master how these theories are currently formulated, interpreted, and used, and later look back at the original papers for more historical perspective. One reason for this is that in order to fully understand the context of the original papers, you need to study all kinds of now archaic concepts and even contemporary world history, stuff which is a distraction for those who just want to understand relativistic physics. IOW, in my experience a kind of "cleaned up" and "simplified" faux-history is preferrable for most students to trying to understand the actual twists and turns as they occured in a complex intellectual, social, and political context. In many ways, 1905-1915 was a very different era than our own.
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2007
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