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Simple relativity texts for beginners

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  1. Mar 4, 2016 #1
    I would say that passage is essential reading for anyone contemplating GR for the first time, I had no idea it was publicly available (to some extent). IMO it is rivaled only by Galileo's Ship (for Galilean/Newtonian relativity) in terms of readability and prose.
    I would like to see both recommended more to newbies, can anyone think of other brief and seminal texts (on relativity) to rival these?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 4, 2016 #2

    ProfuselyQuarky

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    As I looked more into the "Parable of the Apple", I found this:
    http://www1.kcn.ne.jp/~h-uchii/apple.html
    It's in layman's terms and I understood it entirely. It’s a shame that I could hardly find anything else about the apple analogy.
     
  4. Mar 4, 2016 #3

    jedishrfu

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    Benjamin Crowell has an excellent set of books on this topic and can be found here:

    http://lightandmatter.com/books.html

    and he also wrote Relativity for Poets which may be comparable to what you've read:

    http://www.lightandmatter.com/poets/

    The notion of the geodesic on the Apple is what drew me to Wheeler's Gravitation book and I like apples (gala / macbooks).
     
  5. Mar 4, 2016 #4

    ProfuselyQuarky

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    Haha! That's funny. What about peaches? I don't know about m4r35n357, but I will definitely read these. Thanks for the links.
     
  6. Mar 4, 2016 #5
    Very good point, I downloaded that a while ago, and I actually mentioned it (in the pub) to a friend who really is a poet (then forgot all about it). Think I'll try to persuade him to read it, then I'll have to! Only joking, I'll read it anyway, even if it fails the brevity clause ;)
     
  7. Mar 23, 2016 #6

    Ssnow

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  8. Mar 23, 2016 #7

    Ssnow

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    Sorry my intention was not to promote amazon, the title is
    ''Relativity: The Special and General Theory''
    the author: Albert Einstein

    it is simple, clear and beautiful ...
     
  9. Mar 23, 2016 #8
    OK, that may be . . . ;)
    To bring things back on topic, what I'm really asking about is short freely available texts (with no mathematics) explaining fundamental concepts, like the examples in the OP.
     
  10. Mar 25, 2016 #9

    vanhees71

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    There is no way to explain the fundamental concepts of relativity (or any other part of physics) without mathematics. You can read some popular-science textbook to get an idea what the science is about, but you can't get it really explained.
     
  11. Mar 25, 2016 #10
    Did you read the OP?
     
  12. Mar 26, 2016 #11

    vanhees71

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    Yep, very nice, but that's math (and not too simple math, I'd say). Many popular-science books say on there cover that they don't use math. That's honest and very nice, because you don't need to waste you time reading them. What one should really do is to try to use as simple math as possible, say at the high-school level, to explain relativity, and that's possible. Already the first part of Einstein's famous paper of 1905 is entirely understandable with some high-school math. One of the best books ever written in this spirit is

    Max Born, Einstein's Theory of Relativity, Dover Publications

    It was written in the early 1920ies when Born was a professor of physics at the University of Frankfurt, and he donated all the income from this book to run his institute for theoretical physics in the bad times of hyperinflation!
     
  13. Mar 26, 2016 #12
    Well now you have me a little puzzled as neither piece I mentioned contains any maths . . .
     
  14. Mar 26, 2016 #13

    FactChecker

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    Requiring "no math" is unnecessarily restrictive. There are a lot of very good books where the math is not essential, but some is there. I don't know if they are free though.
     
  15. Mar 26, 2016 #14

    vanhees71

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