If you move at high speed, time slows down, space squashes up, and you get heavier. Travel fast enough, and you could weigh as much as a jumbo jet, be flattened thinner than a CD without feeling a thing - and live forever! As for the angles of a triangle, they do not always have to add up to 180 degrees. And then, of course, there are black holes....
These are but a few of the extraordinary consequences of Einstein's theory of relativity. It is now over a hundred years since he made these discoveries, and yet the general public is still largely unaware of them. Filled with illuminating anecdotes and fascinating accounts of experiments, this book aims to introduce the interested lay person to the subject of relativity in a way which is accessible and engaging and at the same time scientifically rigorous. With relatively few mathematical equations - nothing more complicated than the Pythagoras theorem - this VSI packs a lot of time into very little space, and for anyone who has felt intimidated by Einstein's groundbreaking theory, it offers the perfect place to start.
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©2008 Russell Stannard (P)2011 Audible, Inc.
I hate to say it. But the classy Very Brief Introductions Series is a good idea that, unfortunately, often fails to work. That goes double for the books in audio format. I have tried both this book on Relativity and the one on Thermodynamics. While the works are proficient and compact, that does not make them good introductions. In order to compress a serious discussion into the fewest pages, the authors naturally rely on formal definitions and basic formulas. After all, math is the most compact way to describe scientific principles. In audio, the result is dry and deadening, so much so that it is hard to grasp anything. The reading is competent but doesn???t help. (I doubt Lawrence Olivier would help.) In addition, the authors also rely on the tried and true examples, because???well, they are tried and true. I have always hoped for an introduction to relativity that offers a novel approach, perhaps using a close logical analysis of key words like ???distance??? and ???measurement,??? which we tend to take for granted. No such luck here. It???s the same old trains, flashlights, rocket ships, and twins???as if the pedagogy of special relativity were long ago carved in marble. The books may be good for students who want to review or cram. But for an equally brief and far more vivid introduction to relativity, I much preferred the Einstein book in the Knowledge Products ???Science and Discovery Series,??? which are much better written and well read, though marred by the use of actors to ???play??? historical figures in corny overwrought accents. This may be a handy guide in printed form, but brain numbing in audio.
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