What is Relativity? An Intuitive Introduction to Einsteins Ideas, and Why They Matter


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Special Relativity

Even accelerated motion is relative once gravity is factored in. Gravity as a property of geometry of a warped spacetime.

Black holes. Gravitational time dilation and redshift. Tidal force ripping you apart before crossing the event horizon was a nice image. While we are at it mass increases to an arbitrarily large value and times slows down to a halt. GTR equations implied expanding universe. Over the next few years Big Bang theory naturally falls out of this expansion.

What Is Relativity? | Columbia University Press

Feb 27, Troy Sievertsen rated it it was amazing. So, nature acts the same for everyo What is Relativity? I have to give it to him, this is incredible. People have attempted to explain relativity to me before.

What Is Relativity An Intuitive Introduction to Einsteins Ideas and Why They Matter

All I knew is that it allows for time travel and has to do with gravity and black holes. This book took me infinitely deeper than that.


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Although I do have some questions that I I have to give it to him, this is incredible. Nov 03, Lee Belbin rated it really liked it. While I have read dozens of books on physics and cosmology, I thought it would be good to see how well Bennett covered relativity. He did a fabulous job, hence 4-stars. Pretty much anyone with an interest in what is out there in the universe would enjoy this book. His teaching experience has honed an approach that is simple and effective in getting your head around some of the physics that are not apparent in the eveyday life of Lessons all.

Jan 10, Steve rated it it was amazing. Learned a ton from this book. I now see why general and special relativity are so important to things like GPS time dilation and why we can see multiple images of celestial bodies gravitational lensing. This should be taught at the high school level because our common sense is actually a liability to our knowledge of how things work deeper in the universe. Sep 29, Matt Gever rated it really liked it. Good background reading for novices like me who want to know more about Einstein and what relativity is. Mar 25, Kedar rated it really liked it.

A very accessible introduction to the ideas of relativity for the layperson. Aug 07, jedioffsidetrap rated it did not like it.

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Jan 11, Liuhh rated it liked it. This is not your definitive guide to the theory of relativity. Important concepts are glossed over and not elaborated on, so this book would serve better as an elementary introduction to the topic.

Feb 03, Sophie rated it it was ok Shelves: non-fiction. Bennett, a science educator with a Ph. Discussion A book that starts out by guiding you through the process of building a spacecraft to visit a black hole is a book done right. These thought experiments involve colleagues falling into black holes, racing against light and losing by just a little!

However, the thought experiments did get repetitive and tiring after a while. Maybe the physics just got a bit too much for me, or maybe I got space-sick, but reading about Jeff Bennett and Al Einstein being up in space for a long time ended up making me dizzy and nauseous.

On a different note, the diagrams included in What Is Relativity? Bennett should start writing textbooks oh wait, he has! Another aspect of the book that I really enjoyed are the analogies. In the same way, the fact that we observe more distant galaxies to be moving away from us at higher speeds implies that we live in an expanding universe. Unfortunately, I could only love half of the book before my physics-hating tendencies kicked in.

I think What Is Relativity? Feb 27, Susanne Doorn added it. There are no hard mathematical equations in it. It has a lot of nice thought experiments in them that you might want to try yourself. I was immediately taken by the chance to interpret my understanding of the theory of relativity to apply it to human nature. We live in nature, and obey the laws of nature. It would be very obvious that our psyches are effected by those laws in a way that mirrors those laws.

Sometimes I found it hard to keep my attention focused on the thought experiments and I just wanted to read the explanation s. There are some very appealing comparisons with science fiction literature that make the book fun to read. This book has brought me some creative ideas about a general theory about the human mind, I am sure it will do the same for you.

There is just one downside. It trashed my wild fantasies about wormholes as portals into other dimensions. That can not happen because mathematics suggests that if wormholes should exist they would be too unstable to allow you to travel through them… Aug 29, Mark Flowers rated it it was amazing. So now seems like a perfect time to dip into some great science writing. The basic principle on which Relativity stands is simple, if incredibly counter intuitive: the speed of light is always constant.

This means that even for someone traveling at very close to the speed of light, light will still travel away from them as quickly as if they were stationary. Fortunately, we have Bennett to explain these implications, and he does so with great vigor. Indeed, this is exactly the kind of mind-blowing thought that makes science fun and interesting for many children and teens.

Take a look at the wonderful Q and A on his website.


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  • Columbia Univ. ISBN ; lib. ISBN Relativity itself rests on two rather simple principles—that the laws of physics apply to everything equally, and that light is observed traveling at the same speed by everyone. Since the first one had been fully accepted since the time of Isaac Newton, Bennett explains, if we can understand how and why the speed of light always remains constant, we can understand all the seeming paradoxes of relativity, such as the famous dilation of time—the fact that time moves more slowly as objects approach the speed of light.

    This eminently readable book could easily have been marketed to teens as it addresses a topic about which many of them want to know more, without using math or terminology out of their reach. Kennedy Library, Vallejo, CA Feb 09, Mac rated it really liked it. In my ongoing quest to understand relativity, it was recently time for me to read yet another book on the subject so I turned to Jeffrey Bennett's What Is Relativity?

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    Do I now understand? Not completely, but much better than before. Is this a good book? The concepts are clearly explained, and there is frequent movement back and forth between abstract ideas and concrete examples.

    Lecture - 'What is Relativity? An Intuitive Introduction to Einstein's Ideas and Why They Matter'

    The overall structure of the book is well organized and logi In my ongoing quest to understand relativity, it was recently time for me to read yet another book on the subject so I turned to Jeffrey Bennett's What Is Relativity? The overall structure of the book is well organized and logical, and throughout, Bennet includes regular summaries as bridges among complicated thoughts.

    And special mention should go to Bennett's illustrations some are in collaboration with others.

    What is Relativity? An Intuitive Introduction to Einsteins Ideas, and Why They Matter What is Relativity? An Intuitive Introduction to Einsteins Ideas, and Why They Matter
    What is Relativity? An Intuitive Introduction to Einsteins Ideas, and Why They Matter What is Relativity? An Intuitive Introduction to Einsteins Ideas, and Why They Matter
    What is Relativity? An Intuitive Introduction to Einsteins Ideas, and Why They Matter What is Relativity? An Intuitive Introduction to Einsteins Ideas, and Why They Matter
    What is Relativity? An Intuitive Introduction to Einsteins Ideas, and Why They Matter What is Relativity? An Intuitive Introduction to Einsteins Ideas, and Why They Matter
    What is Relativity? An Intuitive Introduction to Einsteins Ideas, and Why They Matter What is Relativity? An Intuitive Introduction to Einsteins Ideas, and Why They Matter
    What is Relativity? An Intuitive Introduction to Einsteins Ideas, and Why They Matter What is Relativity? An Intuitive Introduction to Einsteins Ideas, and Why They Matter

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