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

Paperback | March 22, 2016

byJeffrey Bennett

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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.

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From the Publisher

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 re...

Jeffrey Bennett, winner of the 2013 American Institute of Physics Science Communication Award, holds a BA in biophysics from the University of California, San Diego, and an MS and PhD in astrophysics from the University of Colorado, Boulder. He is the lead author of several best-selling textbooks in astronomy, astrobiology, mathematic...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:208 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.68 inPublished:March 22, 2016Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:023116727X

ISBN - 13:9780231167277

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Table of Contents

PrefaceIntroduction/Foreword: Einstein's LifePart 1: Getting Started1. Voyage to a Black HolePart 2: Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity2. Racing Light3. Redefining Space and Time4. A New Common SensePart 3: Einstein's General Theory of Relativity5. Newton's Absurdity6. Redefining GravityPart 4: Implications of Relativity7. Black Holes8. The Expanding UniverseEpilogue: Your Indelible Mark on the UniverseAcknowledgmentsIndex

Editorial Reviews

Bennett... has written an entertaining, brilliant introduction to Einstein's ideas... that is impressively understandable.