The Origin, Nature, and Influence of Relativity: Lowell Institute Lectures, Lowell Institute--Boston, and Los Angeles Lectures, University of California-Southern Branch

The Origin, Nature, and Influence of Relativity: Lowell Institute Lectures, Lowell Institute--Boston, and Los Angeles Lectures, University of California-Southern Branch

The Origin, Nature, and Influence of Relativity: Lowell Institute Lectures, Lowell Institute--Boston, and Los Angeles Lectures, University of California-Southern Branch

The Origin, Nature, and Influence of Relativity: Lowell Institute Lectures, Lowell Institute--Boston, and Los Angeles Lectures, University of California-Southern Branch

Excerpt

In the fall of 1923 I gave six lectures on relativity at the Lowell Institute, and nearly a year later, eight lectures on the same subject at the Southern Branch of the University of California. The degree of general interest manifested, even in the two more technical lectures given at Los Angeles, seemed to indicate the desirability of revising, extending, and unifying this material in book form. My friend Professor Hedrick encouraged me to carry out such a project, and the book now lies before the reader as part of the Macmillan series of mathematical publications of which he is editor.

The trend of the times is toward the deeper unification of scientific thought. In particular it is beginning to be realized that there are a few basic ideas out of which arises the imposing superstructure of the physical sciences. Without doubt the theory of relativity has been the greatest single influence in this direction, for it has thrown all physical ideas, including the sacrosanct concepts of space and time, into the fervid crucible of creative speculation. The theory of Einstein constitutes a revolutionary advance, comparable with that due to Copernicus, and seems equally likely to affect the direction of mathematical, physical, and philosophical development.

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