Readable Relativity

Readable Relativity

Readable Relativity

Readable Relativity

Excerpt

Relativity without mathematics may be compared with "Painless Dentistry," or "Ski-ing without falling," or "Reading without Tears." Its ideas have, of course, been sketched in popular style by many writers, but precision can only be achieved by setting out the arguments in a mathematical form, and this precision is essential for a firm grasp of the fundamental principles of the subject. This book attempts to secure as high a degree of definition as is compatible with the standard of mathematical knowledge of the average person. The limitations this imposes are obvious, but inevitable if the subject is to lie within the sphere of general education. Given, however, this small amount of mathematical capacity and preferably also a willingness to work out a few numerical examples to test appreciation of the ideas peculiar to the subject, it should be possible to make Einstein's view of the Universe as much a part of the intellectual equipment of ordinary people as is that of Newton.

It is difficult to specify all the books from which I have received assistance, but mention must be made of Professor Nunn's Relativity and Gravitation, and Professor Eddington's Space, Time, and Gravitation and Mathematical Theory of Retivity; I am also indebted to Mr. Greenstreet for allowing me to make use of the articles in the Mathematical Gazette to which reference is made in Chapter II . . .

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