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1. A World Without Time
$10.50 $2.45 list($14.00)
2. E=mc2: A Biography of the World's
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3. The Dancing Wu Li Masters : An
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4. A First Course in General Relativity
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5. Flatland : A Romance of Many Dimensions
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6. The Great Beyond : Higher Dimensions,
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7. Einstein's Cosmos: How Albert
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8. World As I See It
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9. Principle of Relativity (Dover
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10. Relativity : The Special and the
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11. General Relativity
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12. Relativity : The Special and the
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13. Black Holes and Time Warps: Einstein's
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14. Gravity: An Introduction to Einstein's
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15. Einstein's Universe
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16. Einstein's Miraculous Year : Five
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17. Elementary Particles and the Laws
18. Albert Einstein: A Biography
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19. Gravitation and Cosmology : Principles
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20. Encounters with Einstein

1. A World Without Time
by Palle Yourgrau
list price: $24.00
our price: $16.32
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Asin: 0465092934
Catlog: Book (2005-01-01)
Publisher: Basic Books
Sales Rank: 1743655
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Book Description

It is a widely known but insufficiently appreciated fact that Albert Einstein and Kurt Goedel were best friends for the last decade and a half of Einstein's life. They walked home together from Princeton's Institute for Advanced Study every day; they shared ideas about physics, philosophy,politics, and the lost world of German-Austrian science in which they had grown up. What is not widely known is that in 1949 Goedel made a remarkable discovery: there exist possible worlds described by the theory of relativity in which time, as we ordinarily understand it, does notexist.He added a philosophical argument that demonstrates, by Goedel's lights, that as a consequence, time does not exist in our world either.If Goedel is right, Einstein has not just explained time; he has explained it away.

Without committing himself to Goedel's philosophical interpretation of his discovery, Einstein acknowledged that his friend had made an important contribution to the theory of relativity, a contribution that he admitted raised new and disturbing questions about what remains of time in his own theory. Physicists since Einstein have tried without success to find an error in Goedel's physics or a missing element in relativity itself that would rule out the applicability of Goedel's results. Philosophers, for the most part, have been silent.

_A World Without Time_, addressed to experts and non experts alike, brings to life the sheer intellectual drama of the companionship of Goedel and Einstein, and places their discoveries -- which can only be measured on a millennial scale -- in the context of the great and disturbing intellectual movements of the twentieth century -- in physics, mathematics, logic, philosophy, and the arts. It contains, as well, a poignant and intimate account of the friendship between these two thinkers, each put on the shelf by the scientific fashions of their day -- and ours -- and attempts to rescue from undeserved obscurity the work Goedel did, inspired by Einstein, which made clear for the first time the truly revolutionary nature of the theory of relativity, which to this day is hardly recognized. ... Read more

2. E=mc2: A Biography of the World's Most Famous Equation
by David Bodanis
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
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Asin: 0425181642
Catlog: Book (2001-10-09)
Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group
Sales Rank: 20317
Average Customer Review: 4.19 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Already climbing the bestseller lists-and garnering rave reviews-this "little masterpiece"* sheds brilliant light on the equation that changed the world.

"This is not a physics book. It is a history of where the equation [E=mc2] came from and how it has changed the world. After a short chapter on the equation's birth, Bodanis presents its five symbolic ancestors in sequence, each with its own chapter and each with rich human stories of achievement and failure, encouragement and duplicity, love and rivalry, politics and revenge. Readers meet not only famous scientists at their best and worst but also such famous and infamous characters as Voltaire and Marat...Bodanis includes detailed, lively andfascinating back matter...His acknowledgements end, 'I loved writing this book.' It shows." (The Cleveland Plain Dealer)

"E=mc2, focusing on the 1905 theory of special relativity, is just what itssubtitle says it is: a biography of the world's most famous equation, and it succeeds beautifully. For the first time, I really feel that I understand the meaning and implications of that equation, as Bodanis takes us through each symbol separately, including the = sign...there is a great 'aha!' awaiting the lay reader." (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

"'The equation that changed everything' is familiar to even the most physics-challenged, but it remains a fuzzy abstraction to most. Science writer Bodanis makes it a lot more clear." (Discover)

"Excellent...With wit and style, he explains every factor in the world's most famous and least understood equation....Every page is rich with surprising anecdotes about everything from Einstein's youth to the behind-the-scenes workings of the Roosevelt administration. Here's a prediction: E=mc2 is one of those odd, original, and handsomely written books that will prove more popular than even its publisher suspects." (Nashville Scene)

"You'll learn more in these 300 pages about folks like Faraday, Lavoisier, Davy and Rutherford than you will in many a science course...a clearly written, astonishingly understandable book that celebrates human achievement and provides some idea of the underlying scientific orderliness and logic that guides the stars and rules the universe."(Parade )

"Bodanis truly has a gift for bringing his subject matter to life." (Library Journal [starred review] )

"Entertaining...With anecdotes and illustrations, Bodanis effectively opens up E=mc2 to the widest audience." (Booklist )

"Accessible...he seeks, and deserves, many readers who know no physics. They'll learn a handful-more important, they'll enjoy it, and pick up a load of biographical and cultural curios along the way." (Publishers Weekly)

... Read more

Reviews (75)

3-0 out of 5 stars Science is great, history is not
I would give him five stars for his comprehensible explanation of the physics and the time he spent thinking of metaphors for the equation that make its effects understandable. However, his portraits of figures like Oppenheimer and Heisenberg are way off--extreme readings of uncited evidence that is frankly in conflict with both the historical record and the way that contemporary historians interpret it. Heisenberg was NOT a convinced Nazi--he was a German nationalist. There's a difference. Oppenheimer's personality problems were not at the basis of his later exclusion from further government nuclear research--his communist sympathies were the reason. Bodanis makes Teller sound like a crazy and not like the venerable scientist he was. What's sad about all of these misportraits is that they cast doubt on things I want to believe, about Lise Meitner and Celia Payne, for example. Read with care, and compare to a real book about the Manhattan Project (like Richard Rhodes' "Making of the Atomic Bomb") before you swallow this picture whole. For a much more balanced picture of some of the personalities involved that includes a readable account of the science, check out Freeman Dyson's "Disturbing the Universe."

4-0 out of 5 stars A bumpy ride through Relativity
This is a mildly eccentric book on Relativity. David Bodanis claims at the start that he won't be talking about physics and Einstein --- he's just going to tell you about The Famous Equation. But once he's done with the first chapter, which goes through the basic principles of the equation step-by-step, he gets into physics and Einstein. He loses his focus quickly, but he's always entertaining.

Bodanis loves colorful anecdotes about physicists, the art of discovery, contributions by neglected scientists (primarily women), and the prospect of the Nazis building an atomic bomb. It's this last topic that weakens the book. Frankly, the Nazis never came close to building an atomic bomb. Yes, they would have had a Fat Man or a Little Boy if they built reactors and had heavy water and understood the physics and had a team of scientists working on it and they tested it. But they didn't have any of it. "Might have" doesn't cut it.

The second half of this book is made up of biographies of scientists and extensive footnotes. Bodanis makes good use of the notes, giving you plenty of sources and a lot of additional information. His personal interests are on full display here, as he mentions whatever concept or story that the footnoted information triggers in his mind. It's fun to read, although it does tend to wander.

I recommend this book to anyone who's read a little bit about Relativity. It's a useful refresher, an eccentric view of the topic that will keep your interest. If you've never read about Relativity, try Gribbin and White's biography of Einstein first --- or, better yet, Richard Wolfson's book on Relativity (which is still the best).

5-0 out of 5 stars Reading this book requires E.
The simple equation having only 5 symbols is deep in meaning. It took the genious of Einstein to put the equation together way back in 1905 - - - What E found was: Energy equals mass when you accelerate mass to the speed of light squared. That's 670,000,000 mph times itself.
C stands for 'celeritis' in latin and it means, 'swiftness.' C squared is 448,900,000,000,000,000 mph!
No speedometer exists on Earth that can travel that fast! WOW!
Einstein knew that energy could naturally transform itself into mass under specific and unique condtions.
The equation was published in 1905 and essentially remained dormant and untested until the war.
Then it became a horrifying reality that Einstein himself wished he never uncovered all those years ago.
Other scientists converged their great minds together in a think tank called the Manhatten Projet, and the world changed for the worse --- upon their nuclear discoveries.
Did Fat Boy really need to do what he did?
NEVER! THe controversy broils to this day.
It is so strange to contemplate that in the pool of the most intelligent men on Earth, not a one of them was smart enough to forsee the evil that they created.
Like the saying goes, "You can lead a man to wisdom, but you can't make him think."
None of them thought about what this nuclear power could do when left in terrorist grips.
This book tells the story behind the famous little equation.
Einstein did play a part in developing nuclear arsonel, even though he later denied he encouraged it.
Please see his letter to President FDR on pages 117 - 18.
The reader is left to draw thier own conclusions on that.
Regardless of the controversy, I read this book and must give it my highest recommendations to all who ever wondered what this equation means. It's deep but not complex.
It's complex but not inaccessable by average minds.
What's really chilling is reading what is not said in between the lines of this book.
Could we have avoided the discovery of the Atomic bomb?
Imagine our world without it.....and to think, the Germans weren't all that close to uncovering the secret behind the destruction.
This is a good book about E = mc 2.
Read it and learn that all discoveries have a dark side.

4-0 out of 5 stars meandering history of relativity
In this slim and easy-to-read volume, David Bodanis gives us a meandering history of relativity. First, he looks at each of the individual pieces of the equation (even the equals sign gets its own chapter). Then, he builds up a discussion of other relevant work that led to Einstein's famous equation. He next discusses its applications. The book closes with an immense amount of back matter, including the footnotes and suggested further reading on the topic.

This book is not for physics students who are already intimately familiar with the requisite mathematics and physics. It is intended for a general audience that probably can't remember calculus (or was never introduced to it in the first place). Bodanis engages in a bit of handwaving to make the more difficult parts easier to accept; in general, he acknowledges this. I can't fault him for this decision, although the mathematician in me occasionally found it a bit frustrating.

Make sure that you read the footnotes! It's not necessary to flip back and forth between the main text and the footnotes, but at least read them when you've reached the end of the chapter. Scan past the ones that are simply listing the source material, and read the ones that are longer. There's a lot of great information to be found in those footnotes that doesn't quite fit into the main text. Some of it tells you a bit about what was going through the author's mind when he wrote his book, other material elaborates on what is in the book.

Also, read through the list of suggested readings. It's like getting book recommendations from a well-read friend. The suggestions are thorough, insightful, and often entertaining.

5-0 out of 5 stars Transforming human mass into energy for good
It is easy to think of technology in the context of hard science and with the intellect. Bodanis gives lay readers an appropriate level of insight about how math and science evolved through several hundred years to propel our species toward the elegant equation that changed the world. This historical journey enlivens many forgotten but critical thinkers who made it possible for a restive patent clerk to make the essential creative leap into the intellectual unknown. But this book accomplishes something else, even greater. The author's brilliant chapter describing in micro-second details the detonation of the atomic bomb over Hiroshima creates a powerful, sobering perspective of this fearsome technology and dispassionately reminds all of us of the threats looming. The author uses his beloved science to bring into searing perspective the human face of thermonuclear war. The power to manipulate the atom has the capacity for good in medicine and other human advancements, but it is also a power capable of planetary destruction. It is wise for lay readers to understand E=MC2 beyond science. Our survival is at stake. ... Read more

3. The Dancing Wu Li Masters : An Overview of the New Physics
by Gary Zukav
list price: $7.50
our price: $6.75
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Asin: 055326382X
Catlog: Book (1984-09-01)
Publisher: Bantam
Sales Rank: 5905
Average Customer Review: 4.01 out of 5 stars
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At an Esalen Institute meeting in 1976, tai chi master Al Huang said that the Chinese word for physics is Wu Li, "patterns of organic energy." Journalist Gary Zukav and the others present developed the idea of physics as the dance of the Wu Li Masters--the teachers of physical essence. Zukav explains the concept further:

The Wu Li Master dances with his student. The Wu Li Master does not teach, but the student learns. The Wu Li Master always begins at the center, the heart of the matter.... This book deals not with knowledge, which is always past tense anyway, but with imagination, which is physics come alive, which is Wu Li.... Most people believe that physicists are explaining the world. Some physicists even believe that, but the Wu Li Masters know that they are only dancing with it.

The "new physics" of Zukav's 1979 book comprises quantum theory, particle physics, and relativity. Even as these theories age they haven't percolated all that far into the collective consciousness; they're too far removed from mundane human experience not to need introduction. The Dancing Wu Li Masters remains an engaging, accessible way to meet the most profound and mind-altering insights of 20th-century science. --Mary Ellen Curtin ... Read more

Reviews (86)

4-0 out of 5 stars Taught me what a Prof. couldn't...
Let me start simply, by saying this book is no Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, even though a title-reviewer mentions ZMM in passing. It is, however, a discussion of quantum physics that you could have with a knowledgeable friend who lacks a pen and paper (well, perhaps an envelope and a pencil for some sketches).

This book isn't the "definitive" discussion of QPhysics in simplistic terms, but it does do a nice job of introducing how QPhysics came to be from Plank to Einstein through Feynman... [Others have mentioned Feynman's "QED", which I haven't read but plan to.]

What this book did for me was to solidify QM/Qphys after being taught by 3 Physics professors at one of the top universities in the country, as well as an electronics-materials prof. who couldn't seem to explain a single thing about Schrodinger's equation. And, for a book that's kept me reading it, that's quite a bit to say about it.

I kept saying, "Ah! Well, why didn't those sillies [Prof's] ever tell us that?!"

Agreeing with others here, I will admit at times it's slightly difficult to keep the whole particle/wave thing separate. If one stops to think about the book while reading it, it's not difficult in the least.

It also helped me to solidify a thought that's begun for me in past readings... that on the edge of knowledge, all of us are putting faith in our ideas. Science is closer to philosophy than most will admit.

This book, I agree, does not touch much on Eastern philosophies in the least. For that, I suggest reading Alan Watt's "Way of Zen", or perhaps the somewhat silly at times Benjamin Hoff's "Tao of Pooh" and "Te of Piglet", 3 classics for starters. [While you're at it, pick up Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig if you haven't yet - it's not really only about motorcycles.]

5-0 out of 5 stars Another liberal arts convert
Until last fall, I wasn't a science person at all. At college, I majored in English Lit, minored in Music and Philosophy and did my best to avoid anything slightly scientific.

But then one night last October when I couldn't sleep, I stayed up flipping channels and came across Brian Greene's Nova program THE ELEGANT UNIVERSE. I saw it was about Physics, and almost hit the clicker, but something about the presentation made me curious to watch a little more.

Within an hour, I was a new Physics convert. If you interested in language, art, and the disciplines of beauty, you can't help but be mesmerized by Quantum mechanics, string theory, and all of the cutting edge theories of physical world represented in Brian Greene's program.

The next time I was at a bookstore, I tried to pick up a copy of the book the NOVA show was based on, but they were sold out, so I scoured the Physics section and found a copy of Gary Zukav's THE DANCING WU-LI MASTERS, instead.

Written back in the late seventies, Zukav's book is one of the first popular mainstream explications of modern theoretical physics for the lay, non-science person, like myself. I found it fascinating, and for the most part very easy to follow.

Zukav writes in a clear and compelling manner about the wonderful mysteries of the universe. He covers the history of how theoretical Physics got to where it is today (or at least was in the late seventies). He explains Einstein's major contributions to science in a few easy to follow chapters, and then goes on to skillfully explain the inexplicable conundrums of quantum theory.

As Zukav describes probability theory, he makes a convincing case that modern Physics isn't that different from Zen Buddhism. He shows how the steel-and-concrete building blocks that make up our universe are actually a lot more fluid and suggetable than common sense would dictate.

This books really helps you recover any amazement and wonder you might have lost in the everyday world around you.

Check this book out if you think you're not a science person, and if you like it, also get Brian Greene's THE ELEGANT UNIVERSE. Theoretical Physics is pretty literally the stuff dreams are made of.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I have read
There are not too many books that can satisfy everybody. This book is for the whole family- scientists, lay-men, the religious aunt and the rebel teenager can enjoy this book equally.

2-0 out of 5 stars Danger Ahead
I read this book when it was new, and found it entertaining. I didn't think much more about it after that. Then I came upon a reference to it in one of Gardner's books concerning bad science. Looking back at it knowing so much more now, I agree, it's borderline nonsence. E.g. electrons don't "think" about making a choice about which way to go; they enter into superposition.

4-0 out of 5 stars Flow Like a River, Understand Relativity Like an Physicist
Do you want to understand all the mysteries of the universe? Hoping to discover the essence of existence? Well, if you desire to do anything along these lines, there are certainly worse ways to start than through reading The Dancing Wu Li Masters: An Overview of the New Physics by Gary Zukav.

This information-packed book represents the pinnacle of popular science achievement, as it provides a gentle guide for the average reader through the intellectual minefield of modern physics from quantum mechanics to relativity. Rather than bogging down the reader with dozens of equations and complicated graphs, Zukav chooses to demonstrate the concepts of new-age physics through metaphors, diagrams, and an explanation of the thought processes that led to such startling theories as the Theory of General Relativity and Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle. Sure, Zukav may explain the experiments that confirm the viability of a theory, but he doesn't force you to sift through the data; instead, writes in plain English while including lots of easily-followed, pretty pictures. Particularly for a high school student without too much exposure to physics, this style provides an excellent overview of the most interesting, cutting-edge ideas in science.
Zukav's subject-matter couldn't be more interesting: using the backdrop of Eastern philosophies to better link physical concepts to ideas more compatible to the human mindset, he breezes through Newtonian physics, quantum mechanics, and both theories of relativity in just a little over 300 pages. Zukav also admirably presents the problem of the irreconcilability of quantum mechanics with relativity, which bothered Einstein to his dying days. While none of these concepts is dealt with entirely thoroughly (it is a short book), the book is an enjoyable and easily understandable introduction to one of the most difficult fields mankind has to offer

At the same time, Zukav's book is not perfect. For one thing, the book is rather dated; he doesn't even deal with String Theory, which was by and large developed after the publication of this book. At the same time, the absence of String Theory may be advantageous to the reader who knows little about physics, since the five separate String Theories are both difficult to understand and incredibly theoretical (that is, no physicist has been able to design an experiment that actually produces data to prove String Theory, which means that the concept is rather ephemeral and hard to describe in a concrete way; for more on this, see Further, the whole Zen thing seems a little excessive. Sure, Eastern philosophies are generally conducive to modern physics in that Eastern philosophers have always realized that sometimes the human mind can't comprehend everything at once, but the fact is that people reading this book probably aren't doing so to learn about "Wu Li" ("The Way"); they're reading it to learn about "New Physics."

Despite these minor deficiencies, though, this book does a good job of explaining very difficult concepts to a "normal" reader. There was a time when only the very top physicists in the world understood Einstein's theories of relativity, but books like The Dancing Wu Li Masters have helped rectify this problem by making complicated physics accessible to the general public. ... Read more

4. A First Course in General Relativity
by Bernard F. Schutz
list price: $50.00
our price: $39.00
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Asin: 0521277035
Catlog: Book (1985-01-31)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Sales Rank: 59876
Average Customer Review: 4.21 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

General relativity has become one of the central pillars of theoretical physics, with important applications in both astrophysics and high-energy particle physics, and no modern theoretical physicist's education should be regarded as complete without some study of the subject. This textbook, based on the author's own undergraduate teaching, develops general relativity and its associated mathematics from a minimum of prerequisites, leading to a physical understanding of the theory in some depth. It reinforces this understanding by making a detailed study of the theory's most important applications - neutron stars, black holes, gravitational waves, and cosmology - using the most up-to-date astronomical developments. The book is suitable for a one-year course for beginning graduate students or for undergraduates in physics who have studied special relativity, vector calculus, and electrostatics. Graduate students should be able to use the book selectively for half-year courses. ... Read more

Reviews (14)

4-0 out of 5 stars An introductory text well suited for independent study.
A fairly complete presentation commencing with special relativity and concluding with gravitational waves and cosmology. Although intended to be used as a classroom text, the mathematically inclined reader with a firm grasp on differential equations and vector calculus can work through the text on one's own. I recommend Steven Wienberg's book GRAVITATION as a companion text for both a different perspective and to help overcome some of the conceptual hurdles.

You don't need to be satisfied with the poetry of lay books when a mathematical understanding is within your grasp!

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent First Step in Understanding General Relativity
Highly recommended for anyone interested in learning the basics of one of the most important physical theories of all time.

All the key concepts in the theory are clearly explained. Some important consequences of General Relativity are covered in some detail - gravitational waves and black holes for example.

The mathematical level of detail is moderate; a knowledge of basic differential equations will get you through. The mathematical tools of General Relativity: tensors and one-forms, etc, are covered in early chapters.

Problems are provided at the end of each chapter and range in difficulty from straight mechanical computation to challenging. Solutions to selected problems are provided at the end of the book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Good, good, good for passing exams!
This is an introductory book for GR. I read this book two years ago for preparing an exam about GR, while I did never learn anything related to GR before but I passed the exam very well after reading this book. This book doesn't describe GR with the most modern math languages, but who cares if you just wanna learn the ideas of GR, actually this makes the understanding easier. No more preliminary knowledge than college physics is needed for reading this book, even the simple differental geometry has been self-contained very well in this small book. I consider this book a model for all good physics books.

5-0 out of 5 stars Solid start but you'll need Ohanian/wald
This a very readable book that covers a lot of topics nicely. It gives a solid introduction to many of the main topics in the field. The only complaint I have is that it doesn't cover enough material.
My advice if you want a complete understanding of the field is to buy this and the Ohanian text (which is very thorough, pleasantly readable and does covering just about everything you need). Read them side by side and once that is done move on to Wald. Don't bother with MTW, its is a tome of scattered bits and pieces that work as a reference but it is NOT something from which you want to learn the subject.

1-0 out of 5 stars Eh!
Normally I am fascinated with physics, at least in elementary form since the heavy stuff is way over my head. But in this book my fascination fell asleep. What can say but EH! ... Read more

5. Flatland : A Romance of Many Dimensions (Dover Thrift Editions)
by Edwin A. Abbott
list price: $1.50
our price: $3.49
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 048627263X
Catlog: Book (1992-09-21)
Publisher: Dover Publications
Sales Rank: 6382
Average Customer Review: 4.34 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Classic of science (and mathematical) fiction—charmingly illustrated by author—describes the journeys of A. Square, a resident of Flatland, and his adventures in Spaceland (three dimensions), Lineland (one dimension) and Pointland (no dimensions). A Square also entertains thoughts of visiting a land of four dimensions—a revolutionary idea for which he is banished from Spaceland.
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Reviews (115)

4-0 out of 5 stars ...1 dimension, 2 dimensions, 3 dimensions, ... n dimensions
Flatland is Edwin A. Abbott's depiction of A. Square's (the story's narrator) odyssey though the spaces of many dimensions. It was written in Victorian England and is a very stylized piece. The book is divided into two parts. In Part I of the book Abbott describes Flatland and particularly its social structure in a satirical nature (akin to Animal Farm). Part II of the book is where the more mathematical and geometrical concepts are expounded upon. This section of the book is also written in the spirit of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. A. Square (analogous to Alice) ventures back and forth through Pointland (no dimensions), Lineland (one dimension), Flatland (two dimensions), and Spaceland (three dimensions). A. Square even eventually speculates the appearance of the inhabitants of a land composed of four dimensions! Flatland will appeal to both mathematicians and lay people alike. If you are curious about dimensionality and the world in which we live, and would like to see it presented in a playful and charismatic manner, then Flatland is the book for you. Although initially taken at face value, Flatland is very deep and fully of many hidden mathematical and satirical jokes waiting to be discovered by its readers (again similar to Alice in Wonderland). Furthermore, Abbott's style tends to be very wordy. To that end, his sentences are jammed packed with ideas. These final two aspects of the book may deem a reread useful. Nonetheless, Abbott blesses us with phrases such as "dimensionable Dimensionality," "Thoughtland," "Spacious Space," and perfect perfection." Brilliant! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Very Pleasing Speculation
Flatland and Sphereland are very well written books, but for entirely different reasons. Flatland is a fun story that takes you into the 2nd (and 1st, and 0th) dimensions to see what life is like there with its final goal to make you speculate on what the fourth dimension would be like. Flatland, the first book, excels at making you grasp the concepts and has a very good story to go along with it. The story seems to be the main focus, rather than the other aspects.

Sphereland is entirely the opposite. Sphereland deals with ideas such as the expanding universe theory others. This it explains even clearer then flatland did. But Sphereland's focus was not on the story, but rather on the theories that it tried to convey. This may be a good thing in some people's minds, but I enjoyed the story of flatland and didn't like it pushed aside to explain the theories. I also didn't like the fixing of flatland to make it less backwards (Besides giving equality to women) since flatland to me was backwards.

So If you want to learn complex Ideas simply and with fun, these are the books for you.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Book that Introduces the Reader to Strange, New Lands

In order to understand this twenty-two chapter book (first published in the mid-1880s) by Edwin A. Abbot (1838 to 1926), you have to understand what is meant by the word "dimension," a word in the book's subtitle "A Romance of Many Dimensions." A dimension is any measureable distance such as length or width. So something that has one dimension has only one measurable distance, something that has two dimensions has two measurable distances, and so on. You also have to realize that there are geometrical forms that can be drawn in these dimensions. Thus a line is such a form that only has one dimension, a triangle is such a form that has two dimensions that appears flat and non-solid, and a sphere is such a form in three dimensions that appears solid. (Another name for three dimensions is space.)

Part one (twelve chapters) of this book gives us a glimpse of the two-dimensional land where the narrator, Mr. "A. Square," comes from. This place, called "Flatland," is inhabitated by two-dimensional beings of which Square is one. These beings no nothing of "up" and "down." Square tells us details of Flatland society such as its resident's domestic life and its political turmoil. It is a place dominated by such things as a rigid social hierarchy, sexism, and closed-mindedness.

Abbot was a Victorian and his description of Flatland is meant to be a parody (using wry humor and biting satire) of English Victorian society. Abbot seems to have fun mocking the upper classes of the 1880s in his book. I found that much of what Abbot says can be applied to modern society.

As an example, Square tells us of the social hierarchy that exists: "Our women are straight lines. Our soldiers and lowest classes of workmen are Triangles with two equal sides [called an Isosceles triangle]...Our middle class consists of Equilateral or equal sided triangles...Our professional men...are Squares...and five-sided figures, or Hexagons, and thence rising in the number of their sides till they receive the honorable title of Polygonal, or many-sided...Finally when the number of sides becomes so numerous...that the figure cannot be distinguished from a Circle, he is included in the Circular or Priestly order; and this is the highest class of all."

Part two (ten chapters) of this book is very interesting since Square tells us of his visits to "Lineland" (a land of one dimension), "Spaceland" (a land of three dimensions, a land Earthlings are used too), and "Pointland" (a land of no dimensions). Readers will find that they will have to adjust their thinking every time the two-dimensional Square visits a world of different dimensions. For example, when Square meets "Sphere" (of Spaceland), the reader will have to "see" Sphere as Square does--in two dimensions. The end of this part has Square realizing that three (and perhaps more) dimensions exist and trying to tell his fellow close-minded Flatlanders this.

My favorite sentence in part two occurs when Sphere makes an unexpected visit to Square's home (and Square doesn't know who Sphere is, fearing that he is a burglar). Square says, "The thought flashed across me that I might have before me a burglar or cut-throat, some monstrous irregular Isoceles, who by feigning the voice of a Circle, had obtained admission somehow into the house, and was now preparing to stab me with his acute angle."

Abbot, besides being a writer and educator, was also a theologian. So are their any spiritual or metaphysical aspects to this book? The answer is yes but this is not always obvious. For example, when Sphere makes his first unexpected visit to Square's home, he slowly seems to materialize in front of Square. Thus Sphere seems to be a supernatural, supreme being and Square refers to him as "your Lordship." Another example is Sphere sees Square as "a fit apostle for the Gospel of the Three Dimensions."

This book is written in Victorian English that may be difficult (for some) to comprehend at first. But I found that as I progressed further into the book and got used to this type of English, it becomes much easier to comprehend. The sketches found throughout the book also help immensely in getting across what Abbot was attempting to convey.

This book raises a number of questions, some of which are as follows:

(1) Why does our universe have three dimensions and not two or four?
(2) In what ways does our three-dimensional universe affect its physical, chemical, and biological properties?
(3) Do universes that have two, four, five, or more dimensions exist?
(4) If other universes of different dimensions do exist, then are there beings in these other dimensions?

Finally, for those who want a good non-fiction account of possible other dimensions, I recommend Dr. Michio Kaku's book "Hyperspace: A Scientific Odyssey through Parallel Universes, Time Warps, and the 10TH Dimension" (1994).

In conclusion, this is a unique book that sparks your imagination and raises certain questions. Be warned though! By reading this book, you may become one in "a race of rebels who...refuse to be confined to [a] limited dimensionality."


5-0 out of 5 stars Terrific!
This may be the greatest science fiction story of all time. I have read this story at least ten times and I never tire of it. An all time classic that makes a wonderful conversation topic.

4-0 out of 5 stars Expand your mind!
Flatland is a great book for those who have the ability to think in an abstract way. If you appreciate mathematical puzzles, physics, or programming, you'll probably love Flatland. Although I liked it, I expect Flatland would be more popular among men than women.

The book is relatively short and an easy read. It doesn't have much of a plot; instead, the narrator spends time explaining the nature of a two-dimensional universe, and compares it to three-dimensional "Spaceland".

The book opens your mind - if two-dimensional characters can't see or imagine a three-dimensional universe, who is to say we can't see or imagine a four- or five-dimensional one? ... Read more

6. The Great Beyond : Higher Dimensions, Parallel Universes and the Extraordinary Search for a Theory of Everything
by PaulHalpern
list price: $27.95
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Asin: 047146595X
Catlog: Book (2004-06-25)
Publisher: Wiley
Sales Rank: 3542
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Praise for The Great Beyond

"A marvelous book–very clear, very readable.A brilliant introduction to the math and physics of higher dimensions, from Flatland to superstrings.Its greatest strength is a wealth of fascinating historical narrative and anecdote.I enjoyed it enormously."
–Ian Stewart, author of Flatterland

"A remarkable journey from Plato’s cave to the farthest reaches of human thought and scientific knowledge.This mind-boggling book allows readers to dream strange visions of hyperspace, chase lightwaves, explore Klein’s quantum odyssey and Kaluza’s cocoon, leap through parallel universes, and grasp the very essence of conscience and cosmos.Buy this book and feed your head."
–Clifford Pickover, author of Surfing through Hyperspace

"Halpern looks with a bemused eye at the wildest ideas currently afoot in physics. He takes us into the personal world of those who relish and explore seemingly outlandish notions, and does it with a light, engaging style."
–Gregory Benford, author of Timescape ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Adds a new dimension to the subject
This book is more, much more, than the usual treatment of relativity, Kaluza-Klein theory, Yang-Mills and hyperspace that one finds in mass-market publications. It does not assume previous knowledge of these subjects, so the reader is introduced to them in a logical, understandable manner. But the physics itself is only part of what makes this book special.

What Paul Halpern does so well is create a thoughtful, flowing, compelling, easily-digested history of dreams -the dreams of real people with incredible scientific abilities, but also suffering the same human frailties and fateful circumstances as the rest of us. Brilliant theoreticians have had to create original, transcending scientific advancement under conditions that most people would find daunting, from the 1930s, when famous German universities with rich mathematical traditions were decimated overnight, to Islamist Iran which caused at least one future physicist to begin his escape to Canada on horseback.

Physicists have had to contend with all kinds of obstacles in the quest for a Theory of Everything (as Einstein termed it), not least of which were their own internal disagreements that were sometimes based on rather capricious criteria. Einstein, rather famously, was known for dismissing quantum theory on the grounds that God does not play dice, but in his later years he went beyond that, apparently trying to place himself in God's position to decide which direction to pursue. Pretty amazing stuff.

It's not all serious. There are some laughs here as well, such as Klein and Ehrenfest trading messages in Jocular Physics (reflecting the political times) and a supersymmetrical goof on the song "Macarena" (complete with lyrics).

Today, eleven dimensional M-theory is the standard. The book includes a splendid explanation of what this is and how it was derived. Care is taken to clarify difficult concepts, diagrams are offered, and research is neatly summarized. One is struck by how closely the author is plugged in to the current physics community and the breadth of his experience in multiple theoretical pursuits.

For me, the best aspect of the book is the original research that went into it. Dr. Halpern personally interviewed John Wheeler, Peter Bergmann, Stanley Deser, and others intimately connected (or related) to the icons of twentieth-century physics. He not only researched Einstein's letters and papers but tells us what they say about the character of the man and the meaning of his efforts. You are not only reading about the essential structure of the universe but also gaining valuable insight into human perspective and ambition. A great job by a great author.

5-0 out of 5 stars Cruisin' Hyperspace in the Fast Lane
"The Great Beyond" is a wide-ranging study of man's exploration of higher dimensions through the ages.

Author Paul Halpern's style, developed in his earlier books (including Time Journeys, Cosmic Wormholes, and The Pursuit of Destiny), is to weave a tapestry of personalities, stunning scientific breakthroughs, and understandable explanations of concepts of higher physics. He complements this mix with some very original turns of phrase. For instance, in describing the ambivalent qualities of one theory, Halpern describes the theorist as "having made use of its tasty benefits without explicitly adding the weight of extra dimensions . . .until . . .he finally abandoned it like an overstuffed dinner." Such a commonplace metaphor really gave me a feel for the trial-and-error process of scientific conceptualization.

The chapters are divided into a series of easy-to-digest sections with intriguing titles like, "Tesseract Construction Kits," "Chasing a Lightwave," and "Life in Apartment 5-D." I suggest you read two or three a day to allow proper time for savoring these delicate morsels.

Halpern blends tales of physicists' personal lives with explanations of abstruse theories and concepts. His description of wave theory and the paradigm shift from Maxwell and Newton to Einstein was as exciting as the earthshaking consequences of this upheaval.

One of the hardest concepts to understand in human knowledge is Einstein's special theory of relativity. But Halpern makes it look easy with his brilliant metaphor of a Minute waltz concert where the pianist slows down his metronome, a lucid illustration of time dilation. Very clever analogies like these would make the book worth reading even without its other merits. No higher mathematics or quantum physics know-how is required; he's done all of the heavy lifting for you.

If you are an armchair scientist who enjoys reading George Gamow, Stephen Hawking, or Stephen Jay Gould, you'll love this book. ... Read more

7. Einstein's Cosmos: How Albert Einstein's Vision Transformed Our Understanding of Space and Time (Great Discoveries)
by Michio Kaku
list price: $22.95
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Asin: 039305165X
Catlog: Book (2004-04)
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Sales Rank: 7041
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A dazzling tour of the universe as Einstein saw it.

How did Albert Einstein come up with the theories that changed the way we look at the world? By thinking in pictures. Michio Kaku—leading theoretical physicist (a cofounder of string theory) and best-selling science storyteller—shows how Einstein used seemingly simple images to lead a revolution in science. Daydreaming about racing a beam of light led to the special theory of relativity and the equation E = mc². Thinking about a man falling led to the general theory of relativity—giving us black holes and the Big Bang. Einstein's failure to come up with a theory that would unify relativity and quantum mechanics stemmed from his lacking an apt image.

Even in failure, however, Einstein's late insights have led to new avenues of research as well as to the revitalization of the quest for a "Theory of Everything." With originality and expertise, Kaku uncovers the surprising beauty that lies at the heart of Einstein's cosmos. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Concise Review of Einstein's Life and Work
There are many Einstein biographies out there, and I've read a number of them. In my opinion, this is one of the most concise and readable ones. The writing is clear and engaging, thus making the book difficult to put down. Einstein's theories are clearly explained for anyone to understand, amidst the main highlights of his life and times. I recommend this book to a wide audience, from science buffs to Einstein fans to anyone wanting to understand what is was that made Einstein so famous, and why. ... Read more

8. World As I See It
by Albert Einstein
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our price: $8.21
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Asin: 080650711X
Catlog: Book (1993-07-01)
Publisher: Citadel Press
Sales Rank: 14317
Average Customer Review: 3.83 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The Einstein revealed in these writings is witty, keenly perceptive, and deeply concerned for humanity. Einstein believed in the possibility of a peaceful world and in the high mission of science to serve human well-being. As we near the end of a century in which science has come to seem more and more remote from human values, Einstein's perspective is indispensable. ... Read more

Reviews (6)

4-0 out of 5 stars The World As I See It
It still amazes me to think that this book exists at all, and for one very good reason: no one ever mentioned to me that Albert Einstein was a quasi-philosopher-turned-political-activist. I grew up hearing about 'Einstein the Scientist' but knew nothing of the man who spoke out about global disarmament, pacifism, and even the reconstruction of Palestine in spite of persecution at home (think Germany, 1933) and abroad. It wasn't until I stumbled upon a few quotes of his that I realized his mind worked beyond even the limits of science, and it wasn't until I stumbled across an e-book titled "The World As I See It" by Albert Einstein that I realized there were publications in his name beyond his Scientific Journals. When I saw a real copy in one of my favourite used-book shops, of course I had to buy it.

The book is really an incomplete collection of Einstein's articles and writings put together "to give a picture of a man," we are told by the editor, as "his character and opinions are being exhibited to the world in an utterly distorted forestall this fate is the real object of this book." If nothing else, this collection gives a clear picture of the things that Einstein was concerned about, which speaks volumes more about his character than a biography could. Topics within the text vary greatly, though inevitably touch upon religion, personal philosophy (yes, those are two separate categories to me), and world politics.

Of particular interest to me was those articles written in pre-WWII Germany as they absolutely reek of the political turmoil of the times, which remind me greatly of the political bantering surrounding a post-9/11 United States. Specifically, there are a series of letters exchanged between Herr Einstein and the Prussian Academy of Sciences in which Einstein is accused of "atrocity-mongering" after resigning from the Academy due to the Prussian Government's inequities against individual freedom. The Academy essentially twists Einstein's actions and words in an effort to slander his good name, and each retort quid pro quo paints the formulaic picture of an irrational "authority" attacking those who speak out against them. After re-reading the articles just now, I can't help but be reminded of the Bush Administration's attacks on the Dixie Chicks after the attacks on the World Trade Center.

I would like to address each of the ideas presented within this book, but would rather save that for a proper essay as each deserves more merit than a few brief scribbles in a book review. I will say this though: Albert Einstein's theories on disarmament, world peace and global unification seem as attainable as they are idealistic when coming from the pen of such an honest, genuine, intelligent man. He speaks with complete understanding and acceptance of himself, others and the politics in between when touching upon subjects ranging between Good and Evil to The Meaning of Life to Peace, Fascism, Culture and Prosperity, and I found myself with little choice but to listen whole-heartedly and agree with the brilliance captured within these few pages.

I recommend this book to everyone (and I *rarely* recommend books) and believe it should be a mandatory-study in high school for its sheer breadth of scope in understanding the globe we call Earth as it is today, and as it should be tomorrow.

1-0 out of 5 stars A Rip-Off
Readers should be aware that this edition of "The World As I See It" is, in fact, an abridged version of the original publication. Without bothering to mention this on the title page, it has dropped the entire fifth section on "Scientific Questions," including such classic popular expositions of Einstein's basic philosophy as "Geometry and Experience" and "Principles of Research." Editing a book of Einstein's writings which deliberately excludes all mention of science is like publishing a biography of Mozart - without any reference to music.

It is, I think, significant of the dumbing down of American publishing that the German edition of the same book ("Mein Weltbild," published by Ullman) has continuously added new material on politics, fascism, Judaism, peace and science over the years! Readers who want to know what Einstein was really like should obtain a used copy of the original full version.

5-0 out of 5 stars To know Einstein's thoughts, the rest are details
To know Einstein's thoughts is to understand the nature of one of histories finest minds. Beyond all else, Albert Einstein was a man, a man of deep social & moral conscience. As I read this book, I was struck by the thought of George Santayana, "Those who do not study the past are condemned to repeat it." To be able to travel back nearly 100 years and view the world throught the mind and spirit of Einstein is a pleasure indeed. I found myself at odds with some of what Einstein thought. However, what a great experience it was to explore those thoughts and how many still appear true today. Albert Einstein once said "Imagination is more important than knowledge". The man knew what he was talking about.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Humble Mind, Greatest Scientist
The book reveals, the thoughts of the great mind known as Albert Einstein. His social life was as enlightening, as his intellectual mind. He had god given gift of opening god's secrets, and he did it beautifully, and humbly. I have read this book many times, and feel divine about thinking about Albert Eintein.

4-0 out of 5 stars A great book to read, especially if intrested in Einstein
This book was a really interesting to read because I've never read any letters Albert had written, and it tells about events in his life you wouldn't ordinarily know. The only problem for me was the book didn't quite grab my attention in some parts very well. But other than that I loved the cover and the book, I would definitely recommend it. ... Read more

9. Principle of Relativity (Dover Books on Physics)
by Albert Einstein
list price: $8.95
our price: $8.06
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Asin: 0486600815
Catlog: Book (1924-06-01)
Publisher: Dover Publications
Sales Rank: 20788
Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Einstein's essay, On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies, introduces his famous "principle of relativity," one of the twentieth century's most revolutionary concepts. In his introduction to this seminal work, the renowned physicist Stephen Hawking cuts through Einstein's mathematical complexities to explain this revolutionary concept in language that excites and informs the reader. This book features selections from a translation of the original essay, The Principle of Relativity, as well as an insightful biography of Einstein and Hawking's informative summary.

Black-and-white illustrations. ... Read more

Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars A great book writted by the genius himself
This book clearly illustrates the theory of relativity and all of its aspects. I am a junior in high school and I found this book both captivating and easy to understand. I think anyone who is interested in this subject like I am should read this book. It is one of the best books I have ever read.

3-0 out of 5 stars Laypeople: avoid this book! Physicists: Buy this book!
I really do not know how to rate this book. I hope that rating it with three stars could be a neutral point between the opinions of laypeople and the physics' community. This book is a collection of the most important lectures given by Einstein, Lorentz, Minkowski and Weyl that led to the formulation of the theory of relativity in its two parts. The first part is the special theory, which studies the inertial and moving reference frames without considering the effects of gravity. The second part, the general theory, explains the nature of gravity as a consequence of the curvature of Minkowski's four-dimensional space-time. The expositions featured in the book are, of course, the written version of the lectures given decades ago by its authors. Because of this, they are plenty of strange-looking and complex equations to the laypeople but, for any physicist, is a beautiful mathematical symphony that explains with accuracy the principle of relativity. You have to be a physicist to fully understand this book, namely, if you are not a physicist, or, if you are not formally studying physics, please avoid this book!. I am almost sure that you will get tired of reading it after the first lecture if you do not have solid knowledge of physics and mathematics. Try to look somewhere else for less complicated explanations of the relativity. Maybe the book: "Relativity: The Special and the General Theory" could be useful for you, the laypeople. Nevertheless, in the other hand, if you are a physicists or something like that, this book must be in your shelf as one of the richest treasures in all-time physics.

5-0 out of 5 stars How science should be written
Reading the original papers would be best, but if you don't read German then the Dover collection is the next best thing. In the paper on special relativity, the Lorentz transformations are derived via formulating and solving a first order pde, a treatment that no textbook presents (first order pdes aren't taught in math physics, in spite of the fact that every set of first order autonomous odes generates a first order pde). It took my teaching the subject to advanced undergrads in later years to realize what many others have by now noticed, namely, you don't need two postulates for special relativity. "Galilean invariance" is enough. The constancy of the speed of light follows from the requirement that there is no special reference frame.

Einstein's presentation of GR is unsurpassed for conciseness and clarity, is a model for other researchers to follow when writing papers. Here, he introduces the famous misconception (corrected today in the better texts like Misner, Thorne, and Wheeler) that general covariance is a physical principle. Well, even the greatest minds make mistakes.

Feynman wrote well, but no scientist to date has written better than Einstein.

5-0 out of 5 stars An accessible reference book
This compact collection of English translations of the original papers is a cheap and highly accessible reference book.

The book is a chronology of the development of the theory of Relativity. Starting with Lorentz' papers on Michelson's interference experiment and electomagnetic phenomena in moving frames of reference, the book follows the rapid development of the subject from Einstein's ground breaking papers of 1905 on Electrodymanics and Inertia. Minkowski's original paper on Space-Time is a delight: it's always a pleasant surprise when one finds that the explanation of the originator has not been bettered in nearly 100 years!

Latter chapters of the book present Einstein's papers on General Relativity -which are mathematically complex. They are definately not the place to start if one wants to learn the principles of General Relativity. Nonetheless, after one has learnt the principles from more accessible materials, such as "The Principles of Cosmology and Gravitation" by M V Berry, these papers can be very useful as original sources that the reader can use in order to grasp the methods by which Einstein presented his revolutionary discoveries.

This is an excellent, high value, low cost source that is worth keeping!

5-0 out of 5 stars A colection of classical articles
This book is not for the usual reader, it contains many articles from the beginning of the 20th century in physics that are now classics.
Basically it deals with the birth of relativity theory, in form of a collection of articles related beetween them and that describe the early evolution of the theory in the circle of physics. The original audience was cientists, so the usual reader will be daunted by formulas and formal description of theories and hipotheses.
It is however a must read for physics students and those interested in theory of relativity and a strong reference for PHD thesis and cientific works.
I bought it to use in my PHD thesis as reference as the basis of the view of the world where there is no priviledged point of reference, that is, everything is relative, wether in physical sciences or social sciences. This is the essence of the relativism that permeates the post-modern view of world, and historiography today.
I strongly recommend it for use as reference for cientists and students, but it is daunting in mathematics, You can use it without knowing lots of math, but you need to understand the concepts derived from the math. They are surprisinlgy well described by einstein and the others, after all they were geniuses. ... Read more

10. Relativity : The Special and the General Theory, The Masterpiece Science Edition,
by Albert Einstein, Roger Penrose, Robert Geroch, David C. Cassidy
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.57
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Asin: 0131862618
Catlog: Book (2005-04-05)
Publisher: Pi Press
Sales Rank: 282611
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Book Description

From the Commentary by Robert Geroch (The corresponding section of Einstein’s text can be found below the comment.Please note that in the book, the Commentary is placed after the complete text of Relativity.)

Section 17.Space-Time

Minkowski’s viewpoint represents a "geometrization" of relativity. These ideas have, over the years, come to the forefront: They reflect the perspective of the majority of physicists working in relativity today. Let us expand on this viewpoint. The fundamental notion is that of an event, which we think of as a physical occurrence having negligibly small extension in both space and time. That is, an event is "small and quick," such as the explosion of a firecracker or the snapping of your fingers. Now consider the collection of all possible events in the universe—all events that have ever happened, all that are happening now, and all that will ever happen; here and elsewhere. This collection is called space-time. It is the arena in which physics takes place in relativity.The idea is to recast all statements about goings-on in the physical world into geometrical structures within this space-time. In a similar vein, you might begin the study of plane geometry by introducing the notion of a point (analogous to an event) and assembling all possible points into the plane (analogous to space-time). This plane is the arena for plane geometry, and each statement that is part of plane geometry is to be cast as geometrical structure within this plane. This space-time is a once-and-for-all picture of the entire physical world. Nothing "happens" there; things just "are." A physical particle, for example, is described in the language of space-time by giving the locus of all events that occur "right at the particle." The result is a certain curve, or path, in space-time called the world-line of the particle. Don’t think of the particle as "traversing" its world-line in the same sense that a train traverses its tracks. Rather, the world-line represents, once and for all, the entire life history of the particle, from its birth to its death. The collision of two particles, for example, would be represented geometrically by the intersection of their world-lines. The point of intersection—a point common to both curves; an event that is "right at" both particles—represents the event of their collision. In a similar way, more complicated physical goings-on—an experiment in particle physics, for example, or a football game—are incorporated into the fabric of space-time. One example of "physical goings-on" is the reference frame that Einstein uses in his discussion of special relativity. How is this incorporated into space-time? The individuals within a particular reference frame assign four numbers, labeled x, y, z, t, to each event in space-time. The first three give the spatial location of the event according to these observers, the last the time of the event.These numbers completely and uniquely characterize the event. In geometrical terms, a frame of reference gives rise to a coordinate system on space-time. In a similar vein, in plane geometry a coordinate system assigns two numbers, x and y, to each point of the plane. These numbers completely and uniquely characterize that point. The statement "the plane is two-dimensional" means nothing more and nothing less than that precisely two numbers are required to locate each point in the plane.Similarly, "space-time is four-dimensional" means nothing more and nothing less than that precisely four numbers are required to locate each event in space-time. That is all there is to it! You now understand "four-dimensional space-time" as well as any physicist. Note that the introduction of four-dimensional space-time does not say that space and time are "equivalent" or "indistinguishable." Clearly, space and time are subjectively different entities. But a rather subtle mixing of them occurs in special relativity, making it convenient to introduce this single entity, space-time. In plane geometry, we may change coordinates, i.e., relabel the points. It is the same plane described in a different way (in that a given point is now represented by different numbers), just as the land represented by a map stays the same whether you use latitude/longitude or GPS coordinates. We can now determine formulae expressing the new coordinate-values for each point of the plane in terms of the old coordinate-values. Similarly, we may change coordinates in space-time, i.e., change the reference frame therein. And, again, we can determine formulae relating the new coordinate-values for each space-time event to the old coordinate-values for that event. This, from Minkowski’s geometrical viewpoint, is the substance of the Lorentz-transformation formulae in Section 11. A significant advantage of Minkowski’s viewpoint is that it is particularly well-adapted also to the general theory of relativity. We shall return to this geometrical viewpoint in our discussion of Section 27. ... Read more

11. General Relativity
by Robert M. Wald
list price: $37.00
our price: $37.00
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Asin: 0226870332
Catlog: Book (1984-06-15)
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Sales Rank: 36249
Average Customer Review: 4.27 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the better books to learn gravitation theory
This book was a little scary to read the first time I opened it. Abstract Indices all over. OMG, What does this upside down triangle mean? Where did this strange L come from? These are the sort of questions you will be asking yourself if you try to read this book without adequate preparation in Differential Geomtery. Sure Wald has 2 chapter devoted to this, but thats like asking you to learn all the vocabulary that you have in english from 5 little summary sheets. However once you do know soemthing about Riemannian Geomtery(an excellent elementary source is the book by Bishop and Goldberg "Tensor Analysis by Manifolds"), this book is a joy to read. Every explanation is crystal clear, and makes for a very enlightening experience overall. There's no need to read between the lines that some books expect you to, and Wald dosent insult his reader's intelligence either. This books is written for serious students of relativity, be it applied mathematicians or physicists. For the people willing to patiently read the book, and learn the details he presents, this book is probably the best preparation to general relativity. One complaint however is the noticeable shortage in exercises. And the ones supplied arent particularly difficult either. But all in all, an amazing read.

2-0 out of 5 stars Fair
If you like the formal and dry, boring style of a graduate level mathematics textbook, this is the book for you, if not look elsewhere. I found Misner, Thorne, and Wheeler to be a much better book than this one. MTW takes a more physical approach and is much more interesting reading. MTW is also very good at introducing concepts like one forms and tensors in general to the uninitiated student. If you read Wald, you are better off already having a good grasp of differential geometry. My suggestion for learning GR is MTW supplemented by D'Inverno and Schutz.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good
I used this text for a course after taking an undergraduate GR course based on Shutz. I found Shutz to be a much clearer and pedagogical text, and don't think I would have learned GR as easily if I had started with Wald. I think one requires greater mathematical preparation than I possess to fully appreciate the discussions involving topology in the second chapter and appendix. Oddly, however, this text becomes clearer as the reader advances through it: later chapters were more straightforward and still concise.

4-0 out of 5 stars Valuable
A valuable reference for GR. If one has to learn something on GR for the first time, then this is probably not the best book to start with (even if the first part on GR, chapters 1-6, is quite clear). On the other hand the book contains a very good treatment of Energy in GR, Killing fields, and ADM Energy-momentum. This is in brief a great buy, if one does not feel fine facing Hawking-Ellis.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of best books in GR
Wald's book is a milestone in GR literature. The book has demonstrated that the author is a genuine first class scholar with great writing talent. The book is presented with crystal clarity. It completely fulfils its purpose as an advance textbook for theoretical physics student or professionals.
I dislike some reviewer's comments that the book is too mathematical; this simply reflects their inability in understanding modern GR books. So my advice to those people is: don't blame this wonderful good book, but yourselves, and work hard . For anyone with serious interest in GR, Wald, MTW and Weinberg are indispensable. ... Read more

12. Relativity : The Special and the General Theory
list price: $7.00
our price: $6.30
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Asin: 0517884410
Catlog: Book (1995-06-06)
Publisher: Three Rivers Press
Sales Rank: 10670
Average Customer Review: 4.35 out of 5 stars
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How better to learn the Special Theory of Relativity and the General Theory of Relativity than directly from their creator, Albert Einstein himself? In Relativity: The Special and the General Theory, Einstein describes the theories that made him famous, illuminating his case with numerous examples and a smattering of math (nothing more complex than high-school algebra). Einstein's book is not casual reading, but for those who appreciate his work without diving into the arcana of theoretical physics, Relativity will prove a stimulating read. ... Read more

Reviews (55)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Scientific Gem From the World's Greatest Genius
This book is truly a scientific gem. Not only did the brilliant Einstein envision the theory of relativity, but he also felt compelled to inform non-scientists by writing this "less" technical explanation of his theory. The book's section on Special Relativity is not too difficult to grasp. However, having some basic understanding of algebra and classical mechanics is helpful. On the other hand, the section on General Relativity is quite profound, requiring the reader to imagine new concepts of space and time that are alien to one's sense of reality. Indeed, I had to read this section several times and I'm still not sure if I completely understand it. However, this is more of a function of my imagination skills rather than Einstein's literary abilities. For he uses an abundance of familiar terms and analogies to simplify the understanding of some of the more "unusual" implications of General Relativity. I would not recommend this book to someone averse to technical subjects. However, I do recommend it to those wishing to learn the basics of relativity theory.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great for the young student of Physics
Great for the young student of Physics!

This is an excellent book, written in the "Master's" own style and faithfully translated from the German by Robert Lawson. The translation dates to 1920 and new readers may find the English a little quaint, but for all that, it is a great effort at presenting in "plain speak", the concepts of Relativity.

The book starts with a lucid explanation of the Train and Platform example of Galelian Relativity and then proceeds to highlight the incompatibility between the principle of relativity and the constancy of the speed of light. Without encumbering the reader with the Maths (found in the appendices) the ideas of time dilation and length contraction are discussed. The General Theory is developed via a fine example: that of an observer on a rotating disk.

This is a good complement to the overtly scientific/mathmatical books on the subject. Unfortunately,, despite its many qualities, just like many of the alternatives of this genre, Einstein's book does not fully succeed in explaining the complex concepts to the lay reader. Rather, this is a nice little book that will be suitable for a good calibre Maths/Physics student in the sixth form/high school.

4-0 out of 5 stars Straight from the horse's mouth
What better person to here about relativity than Einstein himself? This is a great book for anyone interested in relativity. I do have one problem with this book--it's a crappy translation, even taking into account the fact that it was written in the dialect of Great Britain. The language is too lugubrious for my taste.

4-0 out of 5 stars Requires a Mature Reader
I've used this book with my high school students - very slow going. You can definitely understand the issues involved in relativity, even as a layman, from reading this book, but THIS IS NOT AN EASY READ! A mature, dedicated reader will get through this book. I'm proud of my high school students for struggling through this book, but readers at that age mostly do not have the intensity to really appreciate it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Not Just science
I won't lie to you, the theory of relativity is not simple. The special relativty is easily understood, yet it is a topic covered in university as an speciality in majors more involved with physics, and general relativity is coverd in masters. Both topics can be quite esoteric, and the mathematical explanation for the relativistic deformation of the time-space due to speed uses Fourier's transforms, so most people will have to just have faith in what Einstein is trying to explain. However, he does simplify the subject enough, so anyone with a basis of physics could grasp some of the most important ideas behind his theory.

Furthermore, this book is important in the fact that by proving that relativity was a real fact in physics, the shape of the world in the twentieth century took a great change. I believe that without Einstein's work, the nihilism porfethized by Nietzsche, toghether with the despotic regimes that the will of power would create guided by deviations of the "├╝bermensch" might not have com in such strenght as it did. ... Read more

13. Black Holes and Time Warps: Einstein's Outrageous Legacy (Commonwealth Fund Book Program)
by Kip S. Thorne
list price: $18.95
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Asin: 0393312763
Catlog: Book (1995-01-01)
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Sales Rank: 22361
Average Customer Review: 4.79 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (75)

4-0 out of 5 stars The people behind the Science
Kip Thorne is the author of one of the most authoritative texts on Gravitation and Astrophysics. "Black Holes and Time Warps" is meant to bring these recent advanced discoveries in cosmology to the masses. What makes this book most valuable is that it not only devotes many pages explaining the physics in simple terms, but also introduces the major players in the field, telling the stories of their lives, and describing in detail how they achieved their discoveries. The book is therefore very inspiring to young scientists. It is written in a highly narrative style that keeps up a heightened suspense as one wonders what the next discovery will be, what it's impact is one our world vision, and which scientist will bring about such a breakthrough.

We read about the life story of Einstein, and how he worked hard and long hours in between babysitting his children so as to come up with his masterpieces on relativity. We then read about Chandrasekhar, the young student from India, who with nothing more than his own brain and a crude mechanical calculator achieved what is perhaps one of the greatest theoretical discoveries of the 20th centuries: black holes. It would be years before astronomers concur and document the existence of these beasts, years in which Chandrasekhar had to suffer rejection and alienation from his peers in the scientific community. We read about the wonderful experiments physicists set up to understand the world: from massive arrays of radio telescopes for listening to the furthest reaches of the universe, to cosmic ray detectors to measure the minute remnants of supernova explosions. We read about the atomic and H-bombs, about Oppenheimer and his own personal feelings about his creation. Here, the attitude of the author - himself a leading scientist and contributor to human knowledge - is far from passive acceptance of all that science brings. He understands perhaps more than anyone else that science can be applied for evil purposes as well as beneficial purposes, and he does not shy away from discussing these ethical dilemmas he and his peers had to confront at some points in their lives.

Coming closer towards the end of the 20th century, Thorne discusses the complexities black hole research has led us into: apparent paradoxes and strange objects defying understanding - "singularities" in scientific lingo. We read eagerly about the competition between leading scientists such as Stephen Hawking and Roger Penrose to expand our limits of knowledge on black holes. We read also about the role of the cold war in advancing - or suppressing - scientific knowledge.

This wonderful book is augmented by an enormous number of simple illustrations explaining the concepts discussed, as well as photographs of the various people involved in this unending quest for knowledge. The book also boasts of a useful glossary at the end, as well as a timeline, a bibliography, a good set of notes, and a people as well as a subject index. It is definitely a book worth reading, one of the few books on science that admit that science is more than just numbers, but is also about people and is an integral part of the human story. I give it a 4 because I thought the book is too long, and tends to get wordy at times. A concise edition would be a useful contribution. The bibliography also suffers from bloatedness - it is so bulky and with no comments such that the interested reader will have difficulty deciding what to read next.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Good History of Black Holes.
Let's start off by saying that this book is not for everyone. This is, however, a beautifully written book that should be read by anyone that intends to go into relativity physics.

Professor Thorne wonderfully combined the history development of Black Holes, along with enough ancedotes to satisfy science seekers. There are tons of diagrams, background stories, and enough to keep the reader going.

However, it may be too complex of a book for the layman. It is very hardcore, and may be a little slow for casual readers, with enough details to confuse a reader the first time through.

The book also demonstrates the futuristic predictions and applications of Black Holes, from being a power plant, to wormholes in space. It was easily understood.

Bottom Line: If you're into physics, or have a lot of time, go out and buy this book, because it's worth every penny. This gives a good background history on the slow progress of Black Holes, and includes ancedotes from Hawkings to Landau. It is highly recommended if you want to learn more than just "What is a Black Hole?" As others have suggested, "Gravitation" by Thorne, Wheeler and Misner would be a more complex book if you have the background for it.

4-0 out of 5 stars okay
Black holes & time warps is great, it explains things thoroughly. And without complex mathematical equations that are inherent in many books that discuss the same subject. I'm not so great on calculus so this is easier on me. Nearly everything was good, but the reason I gave it only four stars is due to the fact that they include too much history you have to read for pages and pages before they actually discuss the topic of the chapter. The first couple of pages are about how a research group got started or who was using the bathroom when something important happened. And it's loaded with personal history that I don't want to know about. Although if like the historical parts then this is your dream book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Black Holes
Kip Thorne is an eccentric author who reveals scientific enterprise of quantum gravity and black holes research in a simple language. This book is rich in history, and classical (Newtonian physics and theory of relativity) and modern physics (quantum mechanics) are presented in non mathematical form. We get rare first hand insights of scientific styles and temperament, and his personal involvement in various aspects of black holes research and his interaction with scientists all over the world especially those from former Soviet Union and the impact of communism on black hole research. The first part of the book describes theory of relativity, concept of spacetime fabric of the universe and curvature of spacetime in presence of matter (stars, galaxies, etc.) to generate gravity. The author gives us a good historical background to build his case for black hole concept. Theory of relativity predicts the existence of black holes but Einstein refused to accept it and so is Arthur Eddington another leading exponent of theory of relativity. The idea of black holes remained in academic obscurity among few who believed in it and it progressively became clear that dying giant stars undergo implosions in which nuclear force the strongest of all four forces of cosmos buckles under gravitational force creating a blackholes. Black holes have been discovered in the center of dying giant stars and in centers of galaxies, and efforts are underway to detect the black hole gravitational waves carried to earth from distant parts of the universe and to seek the secret of what is inside a black hole: a route to another universe? The author warps up the second part by discussing the possibility of constructing wormholes with exotic matter (tunnels in space connecting two widely separated locations in the universe) through hyperspace for interstellar travel and back to the future. He is one of the leaders in proposing interstellar travel. Physicists and academics are too conservative to get involved in space travel research as it is traditionally linked to science fiction and Star Trek junkies. The author can mesmerize the reader with his incredible knowledge and ease with which he can communicate to the reader; at the same time he is eccentric enough to work in one of his laboratory (Palomar Mountains) nude and draw criticisms from peers. He is also crazy enough to take bet with peers for things such as Penthouse magazine and annoy his wife and family with Mormon heritage. This book is free of marketing strategies of the publisher as the author shares his knowledge with the reader to his best of abilities to make everyone understands it even by offering few simple calculations and formulas. Do not be discouraged by the size of the book (619 pages). The text flows well and it is deeply engrossing. Anyone interested in black hole and space travel must have this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars A fine personal history of "big science" in the 20th century

Like many, I started Stephen Hawking's "A Brief History of Time"
(1988), bogged down, and set it aside. Thorne's book got equally good
reviews, but my God, the thing's 600+ pages.... so it sat on my "to-
read" shelf for years. This tardy review is intended for others in
similar circumstances -- or for anyone interested in modern physics &

The book is written as a history of 20th century physics, from
Einstein's theory of the relativity of space & time (1905), to black
holes, gravity waves and wormholes in the 90's. I found this a very
engaging approach. Thorne's writing is (usually) clear and direct, and
he includes enough biographical tidbits and anecdotes to keep the
human juice in potentially dry topics.

A few gems: Einstein's college math professor Minkowski, who had
called the young genius a "lazy dog", later worked out the
mathematics combining space and time into "absolute spacetime."
Einstein made cruel jokes denigrating Minkowski's work, not
realizing, until after Minkowski's death, that his old teacher's math
was essential to Einstein's special relativity work.

Cosmic radio waves were discovered by a Bell Telephone engineer in
1932. Despite widespread publicity, professional atronomers weren't
very interested -- the first radiotelescope was built by a radio "ham",
in his mother's back yard in Illinois, in 1940. The first professional
radiotelescopes weren't built until after WW2, in England and
Australia; Americans didn't become competitive until the late 50's.

Thorne has a fair command of Russian, which gave him an "in"
when the USSR started allowing scientific contacts in the post-Stalin
era. Now that Russia is such a mess, we forget that the Soviets
produced a *bunch* of world-class scientists and engineers [note 1],
from the 1930's on -- including some of the best physicists since


Dr. Thorne, the Feynman Professor of Physics at Caltech
is best known to the
general public for his 1988 wormhole "time machine" proposal. Press
coverage included a photo of the author doing physics in the nude on
Mt. Palomar. Embareassing, but didn't hurt the book sales. The
wormhole work grew out of a request from Carl Sagan for a plausible
FTL transport scheme for his 1985 science-fiction novel "Contact"
(which I recommend). Sagan's request made Thorne realize the value
of thought experiments that ask, "What things do the laws of physics
permit an infinitely advanced civilization to do, and what do the
laws forbid?" This style of speculation by world-class scientists has
become popular (and somewhat respectable) in the last decade, and
has resulted in some very stimulating reading, such as K. Eric
Drexler's "Engines of Creation" (1986), and Hans Moravec's "Mind
Children" (1988) and "Robot" (1999).

My last exposure to formal physics was two painful undergraduate
courses (mumble) years ago. Since then I've kept up at roughly a
Scientific American level or below (plus I read a lot of science fiction).
I think I'm close to the author's aim-point for his potential audience.
I found some of the physics tough going, but these sections can be
safely skimmed without losing the thread of his arguments. I read
most of the book in two sittings -- it's surprisingly gripping. So --
don't put off reading "Black Holes" any longer!
Note 1) --along with some remarkable pseudo-science. Iosif Shlovsky tells
of many such projects in his very entertaining "Five Billion Vodka
Bottles to the Moon" (1991). ... Read more

14. Gravity: An Introduction to Einstein's General Relativity
by James B. Hartle
list price: $59.80
our price: $59.80
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Asin: 0805386629
Catlog: Book (2002-12-26)
Publisher: Addison Wesley
Sales Rank: 79939
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The aim of this groundbreaking new text is to bring general relativity into the undergraduate curriculum and make this fundamental theory accessible to all physics majors. Using a "physics first" approach to the subject, renowned relativist James B. Hartle provides a fluent and accessible introduction that uses a minimum of new mathematics and is illustrated with a wealth of exciting applications.The emphasis is on the exciting phenomena of gravitational physics and the growing connection between theory and observation. The Global Positioning System, black holes, X-ray sources, pulsars, quasars, gravitational waves, the Big Bang, and the large scale structure of the universe are used to illustrate the widespread role of how general relativity describes a wealth of everyday and exotic phenomena.For anyone interested in physics or general relativity. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Terric Book!!!
This is the best book I've seen in mathematics or physics. It brings out the beauty of the geometry and has wonderful examples that allow you to understand and remember the concepts more quickly and more throughly than I thought possible. The problems are beautiful too. And the price is great also. Read this book before the others, because once you start reading it, you won't be able to put it down.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Good Introduction to Relativity
This book provides agood treatment to gravity and other related issue.It not only contains mathematics needed in the field,but a very good insight to physical phenomena.Besides,it give the readers a lot of interesting application of a technology and how modern physicist verify some old theory,how to increase the accuracy.It's a good beginning to start your trip of gravity from this book! ... Read more

15. Einstein's Universe
list price: $7.99
our price: $7.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0517385708
Catlog: Book (1988-11-02)
Publisher: Gramercy
Sales Rank: 163481
Average Customer Review: 4.09 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This brilliantly written book unlocks the astounding implications of Einstein's revolutionary theories on the nature of science, time and motion.It far surpasses any previous explanation of Relativity for laymen. ... Read more

Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Universe Made Simple? Fascinating!
How does one go about taking our immense universe--with all its galaxies, quasars, neutron stars, etc.--and put it into words that a high school senior could understand? Not only that, but include all of Albert Einstein's mind boggling theories on the universe and still make it interesting to read?

Ladies and gentleman, I give you Einstein's Universe. A book written by Nigel Calder. Mr. Calder delves deep into the inner workings of two of the most complex things known to man, the universe and Einstein's brain. He does so with great confidence, writing in the first person, as if it were Einstein himself explaining his theories. This leads to a feeling of intimacy while reading about the creation of the universe and many other topics related to the giant realm we call home. Nigel Calder does a superb job of presenting the theories and the evidence, and then always proceeding to explain how it all fits together.

If you've got a hankerin' for something juicy sweet to read, and enjoy pondering the ways of the great big black thing way up there, I highly recommend Einstein's Universe. Enjoy!

4-0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put the book down! Fascinating!
I read the 1979 version of this book, not the newest version. I've always thought that no one could explain relatively better than Issac Asimov, but finally someone has. With almost no math, Calder explains how gravity and speed affect time, space, and other characteristics of our universe. Superb!

4-0 out of 5 stars Relativity Made Easy!
For a long time I've desired an understanding of relativity. Having just finished this book, I have achieved my goal -- without struggling with impossible equations. Thank you, Nigel Calder. (Albert Einstein is not a co-author of this book, by the way).

Due to the complex subject, this book isn't a particularly easy read. But the author keeps it very interesting and does as good a job as possible in translating the theories into understandable concepts. If you want a basic understanding of gravity, time, space, energy, and mass, and how they are all tied together via relativity, then this book is for you.

There is an incredible amount of information packed into the pages. The famous equation E=Mc2 has never meant anything to me, but after reading just the first 25 pages of this book, I was able to explain to my wife the meaning and significance of the equation and some of the thought processes that led Einstein to developing it! I feel so much smarter now!

There were only a few places where I thought the author could have done a better job explaining some concepts, and some illustrations here and there would have been very helpful. But if you are capable of understanding the Doppler effect, you are capable of understanding the major concepts of relativity.

Now I feel ready to tackle the basics of quantum theory!

4-0 out of 5 stars Descriptive and Energetic
Mr. Calder has done an outstanding job writing a book about relativity that non-physicists can read and enjoy. Mr. Calder writes with such clarity, such tangible descriptions, and such succinct summaries of the theory that the reader can begin to incorporate the implications of the theory into one's own worldview.

For instance, the author devotes much time and energy describing the possibilities of the universe being either open or closed (essentially, will the universe expand indefinitely, or will it eventually contract). By the time Mr. Calder begins to describe the metaphysical implications of these possibilities, the conscientious reader is already prepared to explore them on his own.

This ability to communicate science with such clarity as to allow a lay reader, whom I certainly am in physics, to be able to consider the implications of science, is a great complement to the author. Unfortunately, I am a hostage to much of what I read in science, so often having to rely on the author to describe the science as well as its implications.

In addition to summarizing and communicating extremely difficult material very well, Mr. Calder also writes with a great deal of energy and excitement. The author clearly shares his excitement about the subject matter to the reader.

This is an excellent read for anyone interested in the history of science and its implications.

4-0 out of 5 stars Very good, although a little old
I found this book highly enjoyable and easy to read, especially considering the subject. Relativity is approached from several vantage points -- gravity, energy (E = mc squared), time shifts, and distance shortening. Of course, it all goes back to the same theory, so I liked having the multiple views presented to help me understand.

The biggest complaint I have about the book is that it's over 20 years old. This makes the last few chapters fairly useless since they are based on observations using 20-year-old telescopes. The first three-quarters of the book are still valid and insightful, which makes it worth reading. I bought this book in the Bargain section, so I'm not complaining.. ... Read more

16. Einstein's Miraculous Year : Five Papers That Changed the Face of Physics
by Albert Einstein
list price: $16.95
our price: $11.53
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Asin: 0691122288
Catlog: Book (2005-03-28)
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Sales Rank: 14680
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

After 1905, Einstein's miraculous year, physics would never be the same again. In those twelve months, Einstein shattered many cherished scientific beliefs with five extraordinary papers that would establish him as the world's leading physicist. This book brings those papers together in an accessible format. The best-known papers are the two that founded special relativity: On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies and Does the Inertia of a Body Depend on Its Energy Content? In the former, Einstein showed that absolute time had to be replaced by a new absolute: the speed of light. In the second, he asserted the equivalence of mass and energy, which would lead to the famous formula E = mc2.

The book also includes On a Heuristic Point of View Concerning the Production and Transformation of Light, in which Einstein challenged the wave theory of light, suggesting that light could also be regarded as a collection of particles. This helped to open the door to a whole new world--that of quantum physics. For ideas in this paper, he won the Nobel Prize in 1921.

The fourth paper also led to a Nobel Prize, although for another scientist, Jean Perrin. On the Movement of Small Particles Suspended in Stationary Liquids Required by the Molecular-Kinetic Theory of Heat concerns the Brownian motion of such particles. With profound insight, Einstein blended ideas from kinetic theory and classical hydrodynamics to derive an equation for the mean free path of such particles as a function of the time, which Perrin confirmed experimentally. The fifth paper, A New Determination of Molecular Dimensions, was Einstein's doctoral dissertation, and remains among his most cited articles. It shows how to calculate Avogadro's number and the size of molecules.

These papers, presented in a modern English translation, are essential reading for any physicist, mathematician, or astrophysicist. Far more than just a collection of scientific articles, this book presents work that is among the high points of human achievement and marks a watershed in the history of science.

Coinciding with the 100th anniversary of the miraculous year, this new paperback edition includes an introduction by John Stachel, which focuses on the personal aspects of Einstein's youth that facilitated and led up to the miraculous year.

... Read more

Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Einstein's Masterful Synthesis
We should know some things about Einstein. He needed a mathematician to write his ideas and theories about relativity. He found the famous mathematician Kurt Godel to help him. Einstein said to Godel "I need you to write the equations for my theory". However, Godel said: " I don't know physics" whereby Einstein replied, " I know physics and you know mathematics". Then Godel agreed to go to work for Einstein.

As is always the case in science, we stand on the shoulders of others before us. Einstein got his ideas and theories about relativity from many mathematicians and some physicists.

When you read between the lines of this fine book, you will see how Einstein synthesized and derived some of the greatest theories in history as to how nature is constructed and works.

Einstein put it all together just like Newton did with the calculus.

5-0 out of 5 stars Einstein's masterful synthesis
We should remember a few things about Einstein. He needed a mathematician to write his concepts and theories about relativity. He found the famous mathematician Kurt Godel. He said to Godel " I need you to help me construct my theories". However, Godel replied " I don't know physics ". Einstein replied, "I know physics and you know mathematics". Then Godel agreed to go to work for Einstein.

As is always the case in science, we stand on the shoulders of others before us. Einstein got his ideas from many mathematicians and some physicists. He synthesized and derived the greatest theories in history about nature and how it works.

If you read between the lines of this book you will come to understand what this fine book is telling us about the great Albert Einstein. It was he, who put it all together, like Newton did with the calculus.

1-0 out of 5 stars Incomplete History
I recently read a much more informative book "Albert Einstein: The Incorrigible Plagiarist" by Christopher Jon Bjerknes which tells the truth about Einstein and the 1905 papers Einstein's wife Mileva Maric wrote for him. The Bjerknes book is a scholarly book, and it presents the facts. Anyone interested in the 1905 papers should know the truth. Max Born said of the 1905 relativity paper, "It gives you the impression of quite a new venture. But that is, of course, as I have tried to explain, not true." The truth is that the theory belongs to Boscovich, Lange, Voigt, Fitzgerald, Larmor, Lorentz, Palagyi, and Poincare, among many others. The 1905 paper on special relativity did not give a single reference to these men.

5-0 out of 5 stars Finally, the real thing; not just inaccurate verbal metaphor
I am a nonscientist, general reader, but have read many popular accounts of special relativity.I have always felt shortchanged, though, just at the point where things get most interesting.I think that is because thereal physics does lie in the equations, and verbal metaphors fall short. For me, here, for the first time, I see where the science is: just beyondthe metaphors.Although I do not follow all the math by any means, so itis partly like listening to a foreign language, I recognized enough of theconcepts to get a glimmer: and it is stunning.Here is Einstein himself,deriving E=mc2 in paper 4; so briefly, so lucidly (although another readerfrom California seems to have missed it).Paper 3 on special relativityis, even to this nonscientist, dazzling.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not for beginners
If you're looking for a good book to learn a bit about Einstein's theories of relativity, you'd be better served reading his "The Meaning of Relativity." "Einstein's Miraculous Year," being acompilation of translated versions of his original 1905 papers, is moresuited for the seasoned physicist who already understands the material butis curious about how Einstein really did it all. In the latter case, ofcourse, one could turn to the professional physics literature, but it'snice to have all his 1905 papers in one place. The extra commentary is anice addition, since it provides the necessary historical context. Too badthe book doesn't include Einstein's papers on his general theory ofrelativity but, of course, that would fall out of the miraculous year of1905. ... Read more

17. Elementary Particles and the Laws of Physics: The 1986 Dirac Memorial Lectures
by Richard P. Feynman, Steven Weinberg
list price: $9.99
our price: $9.99
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Asin: 0521658624
Catlog: Book
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Sales Rank: 46226
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Developing a theory that seamlessly combines relativity and quantum mechanics, the most important conceptual breakthroughs in twentieth century physics, has proved to be a difficult and ongoing challenge. Thisbook details how two distinguished physicists and Nobel laureates have explored this theme in two lectures given in Cambridge, England, in 1986 to commemorate the famous British physicist Paul Dirac. Given for nonspecialists and undergraduates, the talks transcribed in Elementary Particles and the Laws of Physics focus on the fundamental problems of physics and the present state of our knowledge. Professor Feynman examines the nature of antiparticles, and in particular the relationship between quantum spin and statistics. Professor Weinberg speculates on how Einstein's theory of gravitation might be reconciled with quantum theory in the final law of physics. Highly accessible, deeply thought provoking, this book will appeal to all those interested in the development of modern physics. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Feynman honours his hero, and electroweak guy pays tribute
This is a little jem of a book. The arguably two greatest living physicists of the 80s, Feynman and Weinberg, both Nobel Laureates, pay tribute to their master, the man who said that mathematical beauty is what physicists should look for in physical laws, the one and only, Paul Dirac. These memorial lectures are the best one could wish for, together with Abdus Salam's tribute a couple of years before. I derived pure delight in reading Feynman's lecture, which explains the existence of antiparticles predicted by Dirac in his equation of the electron. Weinberg however surprisingly outstands Feynman in giving a lecture on symmetry laws, etc. These lectures would have surely thrilled Dirac, without doubt. For all physicists who like to have those little precious books on their shelves, it's a very good and enjoyable buy.

5-0 out of 5 stars Physics by two of the very best!
As usual, the best physics books are short and to the point, as is this one. The two Dirac lectures may serve as a perfectly good mini physics course all by themselves. I always enjoy a Feynman lecture, and this is no exception. He cuts to the chase without sacrificing the plot. But, I must say, in this case the Wienberg lecture is the better of the two. Weinberg's style has a particular grace & beauty about it that gently exposes the aesthetic meaning of the search for a picture of nature.

5-0 out of 5 stars Two of the best give great insight into fundamentals.
Feynman yet again gives great insight into the laws of physics, this time exploring the reasons for existence of anti-particles, starting from the dirac equation etc.. Plus some really outstanding photographs, that fella Weinberg will be chuffed to have his name mentioned on the book cover! ... Read more

18. Albert Einstein: A Biography
by Albrecht Folsing
list price: $34.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0670855456
Catlog: Book (1997-03-01)
Publisher: Viking Books
Sales Rank: 588743
Average Customer Review: 3.78 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The name of Albert Einstein has become synonymous with supreme wisdom and benignity. Not only was he responsible for the fundamental remapping of our understanding of the physical cosmos, he also left a legacy of outspokenness on the crucial moral, political, and religious issues of the twentieth century. Drawing on an unprecedented number of sources, Albrecht F|lsing throws into fresh relief the remarkable life of Einstein, approaching the man through the science and situating him in the creatively charged times in which he thrived.Albert Einstein is both an engaging portrait of a genius and a distillation of scientific thought. F|lsing sheds light on Einstein's development and the complexity of his being: his childhood idiosyncrasies, his views on war and peace, his stimulating friendships with colleagues, and his intense relationships with women. This is a serious yet highly readable and intimate account of the genius who expanded our understanding of nature and of the singular man who played such an exceptional role in the cultural growth of this century. ... Read more

Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars Breathtaking Imagination
At the height of Einstein's career it was joked that only about a dozen people in the entire world actually understood the master's theory of relativity, which leads to the question of whether we mere mortals should even attempt this 882-page tome. The answer is a resounding yes. Albrecht Holsing never forgets that he is writing a biography, not a physics text. The result is a colorful biography of a learning disabled civil servant with perhaps the most fertile imagination in the history of science. Holsing's Einstein is a man without a country, an unabashed lover, an avowed pacifist, a born-again Zionist, bon vivant and alleged subversive. And yes, smart and eccentric as hell.

Between 1905 and 1920 Einstein, a patent claims inspector, produced a series of papers on the subject of physics so outlandish that the world collectively gasped. Put simply, Einstein postulated connections between dimensions that had been considered unbridgeable until his day. He was not a scientist in the way we traditionally think of the discipline. He was in reality a science fiction writer who challenged the white coats to prove he was wrong. Most of the time they could not, to their own amazement. And when they did, he seemed to delight even more. God, he remarked, may be mysterious, but never malevolent. For Einstein the universe was a playground.

Einstein enjoyed wonderful timing. By 1900 the telescope and the microscope had been perfected to the point that the bigness and the smallness of the natural world began crashing into the complacency of Newtonian physics and Euclidean geometry. Einstein, whose own spacial-temporal development was delayed until early adulthood, began to play with possibilities. Is the universe so big that the traditional absolute theorems of geometry might be disproved? Consider the classic geometric postulate that two parallel lines will stretch into infinity without ever touching. Einstein dared to question such a basic law in several ways: if the universe itself is not linear but perhaps curved, the lines would eventually meet. And second, what influence would gravitation play upon these two lines? It was these daring interplays of factors that set Einstein apart and led to his famous speculations about relationships between mass, time, and energy.

It is a credit to Holsing that he is able to describe Einstein's mental journeys as lucidly as he does. This is not to say there is no hard work required. Einstein had a hand in nearly all branches of physics, including optics, electricity, and radiation, and he was in constant dialogue with other noted thinkers of his age, including Niels Bohr and Max Planck. For an older reader unfamiliar with quantum physics, the scientific debates over the nature of light may as well be written in Vulcan. Be that as it may, the faithful reader will probably take away enough science to be dazzled and deeply impressed when Einstein's most audacious speculation-that light is bent by gravitational pull-is dramatically proven during a total eclipse of the sun in 1918.

For all practical purposes, Einstein's creative career ended around 1920, the same time he began to attract respectable university and lecture fees. The years between 1920 and 1955 are remarkable in their own way: Einstein became one of the world's most recognized celebrities in an era of renewed interest in popular science. Like many celebrities he grumbled about the distractions but rarely missed a good dinner. Universities that hired the grand thinker after 1920 did so at their own risk: Einstein traveled widely and allowed his life to be governed by the Muse of creativity. He spent three decades working unsuccessfully to eliminate mathematical kinks from his general theory of relativity. [Ironically, since 1995 astronomical discoveries of the magnitude of dust and gas in the universe have tended to smooth out the rough edges of the relativity theory.]

Although he lived and worked in Germany for many years, Einstein carried a deep-seated suspicion of German militarism. He was disillusioned with the conduct of most of his scientific colleagues during World War I, and he was early to see the direction of Nazi policy. Relocating to Princeton, New Jersey, he lived the final two decades of his life in the United States. As Folsing tells it, the United States government kept Einstein at arm's length, perhaps due to a 1930 speech in which he remarked that if as few as 2% of a nation's draftees refused to serve, its military force would crumble. The speech made Einstein an icon among pacifists, and "2%" buttons became popular leftist items throughout the 1930's. Given Einstein's political leanings, it is one of history's better fortunes that Franklin Roosevelt took seriously Einstein's warnings about German development of a fission bomb. However, Einstein was considered too much of a security risk to be considered for the Manhattan Project and was systematically excluded from any information about the project.

Folsing chronicles the struggles of Einstein's two marriages and the somewhat flagrant adulteries of his middle years. Contrary to popular belief, Einstein was in fact a handsome and captivating younger man. It was only in later years that hygiene and fashion tended to deteriorate, perhaps as a statement of sorts to his prim Princeton neighbors. Folsing captures Einstein's wit: once, when the mayor of his town apologized for sewerage fumes from a treatment plant wafting toward the Einstein residence, the good scientist confessed that on occasion he had "returned the compliment."

3-0 out of 5 stars Gets his life right, but the science is too dense for me
Albert Einstein led an interesting life, from his beginnings as a mathematical prodigy, to his heyday when he popularized physics, to his old age where his status as a living legend afforded him many opportunities. Folsing does a great job detailing Einstein the man in each of these sections. Generally he uses Einstein's own writings, either in letters or in papers, a technique that some find off-putting but I found useful and relevant.

Two things about this book, though, did trouble me. First, it was overlong. There were some sections that felt either redundant or padded, and did little to provide further insight into Einstein the man. Second, the physics explanations went over my head. As a layman, I wasn't expecting a dumbed-down approach meant to pander to the dimmest of readers. I do have some math background, and usually take to the subject easily. But Folsing never gave me a chance. I went in hoping for some comprehensible explanations regarding the special and general theories of relativity, but got nothing more than page after page of jargon that assumed plenty of prior knowledge. Even an explanation of why they (along with the equation "E=mc2") received critical and popular acclaim was missing.

Now, I'm willing to concede that something got lost in the translation, for the book was originally written in German. Folsing is by trade a physicist, and later a science journalist, so should know his stuff and have the skills needed for concise explanation. I suppose it was enough to ask that he attempt to share some of his knowledge of Einstein's science, while making Einstein's life a gripping and interesting tale.

4-0 out of 5 stars A wonderful biography of a twentieth century giant..
This is the BEST biography of Einstein that I have read. The writing style is 'European' in that all dimensions of Einstein are explored and referenced. A strong point of this biography is the extensive research and documentation that backs up the text. Einstein's life in science AND out of it are explored thoroughly. My only quibble is that the quality of pictures in the text is shoddy. I have the Penguin edition. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. If you want a quick superficial biography try Banesh Hoffman's Einstein (still in print?). If you want a fairly good biography I recommend Denis Brian's Einstein. If you want a very precise and detail biography get this one and enjoy!

4-0 out of 5 stars An interesting and detailed book.
I felt that this was a first rate reference guide, but as a novel it was lacking in readability. The science and history aspect was outstanding but because of the way it was written and the layout it was difficult to follow at times despite its accuracy. Another problem was that there was too much detail and some chapters seemed to perpetually drag on. Even though it got monotonus at times I learned much about Einstein as a person and his accomplishments other than the famous ones such as relativity and light quanta principiles. All in all despite some problems it was an informative and facinating book and I enjoyed reading it.

2-0 out of 5 stars whoa!
way to much information. it was good and all but it had too much info and was a slow read. i didn't liek it too much. too much info! ... Read more

19. Gravitation and Cosmology : Principles and Applications of the General Theory of Relativity
by StevenWeinberg
list price: $116.95
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Asin: 0471925675
Catlog: Book (1972-07)
Publisher: Wiley
Sales Rank: 120838
Average Customer Review: 4.43 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (14)

5-0 out of 5 stars A book based on the physics, not the mathematics
After a completing graduate school, I decided it was time to learn GR on my own. I got Weinberg's book, and, at first reading, I was put off by it--there are effectively no diagrams, no problems, and no pedagogy. So on to Misner, Thorne, Wheeler. Well these kings have no clothes: MTW contains almost no clean, declarative sentences and could be reduced to 1/4 its size with straightforward editing. So I bought B. F. Schutz's book read it, and and went back to Weinberg's book. With both in hand, I am acquiring a satisfying understanding of GR. And I now realize that Weinberg's book is a masterpiece. As in all his texts, Weinberg's passion is to expose the underlying logic of the physics. All follows from the Equivalnce Princple, and this view gives his book a logic coherency that other's lack. (Try seeing where the Equivalence principle fits in Schutz's presentation.) One criticism: I believe that Weinberg was writing a text for his peers to set them straight about GR; he neglected students. It would have been great if he could have included a mathematical appendix or two to make the text more accessible. But even so, it is a wonderful book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Elegantly and concisely written
I used this book in a class taught by its author. That makes it hard to disentangle the experience of taking the class from the book itself. However, I found this far more readable that Misner, Thorne, & Wheeler's ponderous tome. As enjoyable as I found Taylor & Wheeler's Spacetime Physics (written in a similar style), MTW is leaden in contrast to Weinberg's text. I had no problem with the notation: the rules for manipulating indices are quite straightforward and easy to apply. Furthermore, this is the notation used in a variety of other applications of tensors, from electrodynamics to mechanics (stress and moment of inertia tensors), so get used to it. As other reviewers have observed, one cannot help but think that MTW could have been edited down considerably; Weinberg's book is much tighter.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent treatment of GR - written for a physicist
This is one of the finest GR books that is written for a physicist. Although it is slightly dated, it can still be profitably used today to learn the foundations of the subject that no other contemporary text has explained so clearly.

There is a strong emphasis on the equivalence principle in the book, and many interesting illustrations of this principle can be found throughout the book. There's no discussion of black holes, of course, since the book hasn't probably been revised since its publication in the early seventies. However, Weinberg's book can be truly judged based on the brilliant presentation of the physical ideas of GR in a way that is so familiar to the physicist. A mathematically minded physicist who cares little about real physical insights will be obviously disappointed by this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best GR reference
Despite that lack of material on black holes, or a modern differential geometry treatment of the theory (which can be found elsewhere, such as in Hawking & Ellis), this remains almost certainly the best introductory text to general relativity and a valuable reference work for anybody. It is a work of great beauty and profundity, with writing much better than the at times bizarre Misner, Thorner & Wheeler and more comprehensible than Wald: carefully weighed sentences and a smooth narrative flow make reading an extraordinarily pleasant experience, for a physics textbook. I've even read it at 2am in the morning. If the technical content (black holes, cauchy problem/ivp, spinors, NP formalism) is slightly (but not much!) less than can be found in Wald, then it is compensated for in the material on symmetric spaces, or the chapter on stellar equilibrium and collapse, which give physical insight beyond GR. And, above all, it is valuable for the dated but still useful material on classical cosmology. One may ignore the odd comments about incidental relations to differential geometry, and, to be honest, if anyone finds the black holes/cauchy problem sections of Wald comprehensive enough to be useful, I would be surprised. Neither Schutz nor Stephani impress me solidly, either. A useful next read might instead be Advanced General Relativity, John Stewart, CUP. In short, it is a beautifully written masterpiece.

2-0 out of 5 stars Has been overrated. Don't buy without comparing...
This is a seriously old-fashioned and out of date book. It was published around 1972 and EVEN THEN was knocked out of contention by the massively superior Misner, Thorne & Wheeler treatise and by Hawking and Ellis' "Large Scale Structure of S.T." - both published at the same time. Weinberg is by nature a quantum theorist and is here writing outside his home territory and it shows. The laborious tensorial notation is unintuitive, dense and reminiscent of fifties textbooks. The treatment is stale and uninspiring (Eddington's "Mathematical Theory of R." written in 1922 has more sparkle!). Add to this Robert M. Wald's classic 1985 GR book (Univ. Chicago Press) and Weinberg's treatment simply isn't in the running. Do not rush into buying on other recommendations without comparing it with Misner etc., Hawking etc. and Wald. ... Read more

20. Encounters with Einstein
by Werner Heisenberg
list price: $16.95
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Asin: 0691024332
Catlog: Book (1989-10-01)
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Sales Rank: 260328
Average Customer Review: 4.33 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In nine essays and lectures composed in the last years of his life, Werner Heisenberg offers a bold appraisal of the scientific method in the twentieth century--and relates its philosophical impact on contemporary society and science to the particulars of molecular biology, astrophysics, and related disciplines. Are the problems we define and pursue freely chosen according to our conscious interests? Or does the historical process itself determine which phenomena merit examination at any one time? Heisenberg discusses these issues in the most far-ranging philosophical terms, while illustrating them with specific examples. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Essays from Heisenberg's Later Years, 1972-1975
These essays were first published by Seabury Press in 1983 under the title Tradition in Science. A new edition, titled Encounters with Einstein And Other Essays on People, Places, and Particles, was published in 1989 by Princeton University Press.

Throughout his life Werner Heisenberg shared his enthusiasm for physics and philosophy, frequently giving presentations to general audiences. Several essays address the history of quantum physics. Others are more technical and include topics like cosmic radiation, particle physics, and closed-theories in physics. All essays are well-crafted and should be accessible to a wide audience.

Heisenberg only met Einstein on a few occasions. The title essay, Encounters with Einstein, describes these encounters, including a final meeting at Princeton a few months before Einstein's death. While he admitted that he had never discussed politics with Einstein, Heisenberg did comment on Einstein's pacifism. Heisenberg does not discuss his own beliefs, nor his role in WWII Germany.

At several points in this collection Heisenberg expresses his concerns with the theoretical direction that particle physics was taking in the early 1970s. In his essay "What is an Elementary Particle?", he expresses his doubts regarding quark theory. It was interesting to see Heisenberg in one essay lamenting Einstein's reluctance to accept quantum theory while elsewhere he himself was having difficulty with quark theory.

I highly recommend these essays for any reader wishing to become more acquainted with Heisenberg. Also, as a follow-up I suggest reading Philosophical Problems of Quantum Physics, a collection of Heisenberg's lectures that span 1932-1948.

The more persistent reader might be interested in Physics and Philosophy: The Revolution in Modern Science. This work by Heisenberg is more philosophical and requires careful reading. This volume benefits from a lengthy and scholarly overview by F. S. C. Northrop, Sterling Professor of Philosophy and Law, Yale University.

4-0 out of 5 stars The retrospective of a man with a two-sided past
This book reminds me a great deal of, "A Mathematician's Apology" by Hardy. Like Hardy, Heisenberg is in his last years, and knows that his productive ones are behind him. Therefore, he puts forward a series of essays and lectures that are a retrospective of his activity in physics as well as some philosophical thoughts concerning where he believes it is going.
Heisenberg was a Nobel prize winner and the first enunciator of the uncertainty principle that bears his name. For these reasons, his thoughts on some of the consequences of the principle are well worth reading. However, Heisenberg is also known for other, more dark reasons. He was the director of the German atomic projects in World War II and seemed to have little difficulty in working under the Nazi tyranny while many of his colleagues were hounded and executed. He also proved to be an effective survivor, becoming the head of the Max Planck Institute of Physics in West Germany after the war.
This involvement with the Nazis makes the chapter "Encounters and Conversations with Albert Einstein" fascinating reading. From it, you would not know about his record of collaboration with the regime that tried to exterminate Einstein and his ideas. One must read that chapter very carefully and do a great deal of reading between the lines to really understand what is being said. The fact that Einstein was willing to meet with Heisenberg after the war tells a lot more about Einstein that it does about Heisenberg.
This book is interesting as much for what is not said as it is for what is said. This was an opportunity for Heisenberg to say something about his involvement in some very bad things as well as to put forward thoughts about physics. The first was missed and the second was a hit. If you are interested in some thoughts about how physics has evolved this century from one of best practitioners, then this is a book that will interest you.

4-0 out of 5 stars Insight and inspiration
This is an excellent bedside book for anyone interested in the development of quantum mechanics by one of its primary discoverers. This small book of short essays provides insight into the life and personality of one of the greatest (and most enigmatic) physicists of the 20th century. This is not a technical book, nor is it an introduction to (or explaination of) quantum theory. Rather, each essay provides a unique sidebar on a variety of topics to which WH has either contributed directly or considered in detail. Heisenberg is a lucid and concise writer of remarkable insight. ... Read more

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