Monday, March 12, 2012

ReView of THEORY OF RELATIVITY Einstein


This is not a layman's book about Einstein's Theory of Relativity.

I understood this book up until I got to The Lorentz Transformation, and I had to search and understand what it meant in order to move forward in it.  So the first part of the book is quite straight forward.  The topics in the first part of the book are as follow:

  • Physical Meaning of Geometrical Propositions
  • The System of Co-Ordinates
  • Space and Time in Classical Mechanics
  • The Galilean System of Co-Ordinates
  • The Principle of Relativity
  • The Theorem of the Addition of Velocities Employed in Classical Mechanics
  • The Apparent Incompatibility of the Law of Propagation of Light with the Principle of Relativity
  • On the Idea of Time in Physics
  • The Relativity of Simultaneity
Most of the subjects are introduced shortly.  In concise, yet thorough explanations, they are meant to introduce you into what Einstein intends to get at in the latter portion of the book.  It talks about the relative relationships of time and space, particularly focusing on Galilean and Newtonic theories in order to put into perspective what The Theory of Relativity does in order to fill the gaps existing in both of the previous theories.  It's all fine and dandy for the most part, until you get to the chapter on The Lorentz Transformation and the rest of the topics.  Things such as:

  • Special and General Principle of Relativity
  • The Gravitational Field
  • Gaussian Co-Ordinates
  • The Space-Time Continuum of The General Theory of Relativity is not a Euclidean Continuum
In order to understand the second part of the book, I really believe that you should have some idea of upper level math and physics.  And even if you are familiar with those subjects, you might still fall short in understanding exactly what's going on without doing background search on the subjects discussed.  (I'm thinking that I should read Stephen Hawking and then maybe come back to this book and see if any of it makes more sense).

But it's a worthwhile read if you are a science buff.  It's definitely something to pick up and read.  Einstein is one of my heroes and I could not pass up reading this book.  For me, though, this book doesn't finish here.  I will be researching it extensively to understand what he really means to say in the book. Some ideas are clear, some are more vague to be at the moment.  

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