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What Is Relativity? : An Intuitive Introduction to Einstein's Ideas, and Why They Matter
by Jeffrey Bennett


Overview - It is commonly assumed that if the Sun suddenly turned into a black hole, it would suck Earth and the rest of the planets into oblivion. Yet, as prominent author and astrophysicist Jeffrey Bennett points out, black holes don't suck. With that simple idea in mind, Bennett begins an entertaining introduction to Einstein's theories of relativity, describing the amazing phenomena readers would actually experience if they took a trip to a black hole.  Read more...

 
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More About What Is Relativity? by Jeffrey Bennett
 
 
 
Overview
It is commonly assumed that if the Sun suddenly turned into a black hole, it would suck Earth and the rest of the planets into oblivion. Yet, as prominent author and astrophysicist Jeffrey Bennett points out, black holes don't suck. With that simple idea in mind, Bennett begins an entertaining introduction to Einstein's theories of relativity, describing the amazing phenomena readers would actually experience if they took a trip to a black hole.

The theory of relativity reveals the speed of light as the cosmic speed limit, the mind-bending ideas of time dilation and curvature of spacetime, and what may be the most famous equation in history: E = mc2. Indeed, the theory of relativity shapes much of our modern understanding of the universe. It is not "just a theory"--every major prediction of relativity has been tested to exquisite precision, and its practical applications include the Global Positioning System (GPS). Amply illustrated and written in clear, accessible prose, Bennett's book proves anyone can grasp the basics of Einstein's ideas. His intuitive, nonmathematical approach gives a wide audience its first real taste of how relativity works and why it is so important to science and the way we view ourselves as human beings.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780231167260
  • ISBN-10: 0231167261
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publish Date: March 2014
  • Page Count: 192
  • Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.95 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Science > Physics - Relativity
Books > Science > Gravity
Books > Science > Physics - Astrophysics

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2013-12-02
  • Reviewer: Staff

“Black holes don’t suck,” says astrophysicist Bennett (Life in the Universe); in fact, their exotic nature is the perfect way to explore relativity. The special theory of relativity, proposed by Albert Einstein in his 1905 paper, “On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies,” says in part that nothing can outrace light, but it’s exactly in that highly accelerated realm where you need to be to observe the extreme weirdness of relativity at work: time dilation, mass increasing, and the shortening of the length of high-velocity objects. Bennett shows how particle accelerators can provide that environment on Earth, making special relativity “one of the most well-tested theories in all of science”—but still incomplete, as far as Einstein was concerned. He sought “an underlying simplicity in the universe”—wherein gravity and acceleration are the same—and he found that in the curved spacetime of general relativity where orbiting objects move “like marbles in a salad bowl,” following the curvature of spacetime along the straightest possible path. From black holes and gravity waves, to wormholes and warp drive, Bennett’s fun book shows readers what relativity means, and what it reveals about our universe. (Mar.)

 
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