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Einstein's Universe: Relativity Made Plain-The Amazing Achievement of Albert Einstein and What It Means Today
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Einstein's Universe: Relativity Made Plain-The Amazing Achievement of Albert Einstein and What It Means Today

4.17 of 5 stars 4.17  ·  rating details  ·  1,004 ratings  ·  19 reviews
The universe that Einstein saw was an astounding spectacle; now the author brilliantly and cogently explains the theories, showing how his visions form the framework of our current scientific understanding.
Paperback, 254 pages
Published May 29th 1980 by Penguin Books (first published 1979)
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Mar 06, 2008 Sean rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who prefer analogies to equations.
This has, in effect, redefined the way I look at the world. Calder goes through both the special and general theories or relativity, strips out all the math, and explains everything in plain English with clear analogies. I think this was published somewhere around 1979, so much has transpired in the world of experimental physics since this was written. That, and it has only a glancing description of quantum mechanics at the end. However, this is an excellent springboard for anyone interested in ...more
Read this book twice .... and shall read it again in a year or so .... Every time I read it, Einstein's theories come to surface renewed, new invigorating angles and understanding of these theories being my main reward.

One can go through this book without a background in physics ... Calder is absolutely genie!!! There was also a BBC (TV) serial based on this book, with narrative by Peter Ustinov.

Please read!
This one was amazing simply because it gave the greatest amount of information for the curious learner. I loved it becuase of it's easy descriptions and philosphical points. A great book to study and ponder for those curious in astrophysics.
Mind-blowing... literally :)
Bob Nichols
This Calder book is disappointing. The author has a penchant for making bold statements about Einstein's theories on how the cosmos operates, but then he does not provide a clear description about what is meant by such statements. Thus, Calder states that because gravity affects light, gravity also affects time. This statement has a lot of potential but the reader fails to get a description about how, exactly, light is time. Or, in regard to Einstein's theory, the author states that the speed of ...more
I read this book in 7th grade, and it definitely got me riled up about post-Newtonian physics. I wouldn't call it the definitive pop-sci book in this category, but a very solid background nonetheless. It pretty much sticks with Einstein's theories and work, which was just a starting point for particle physics and astrophysics. But it captures the excitement of the early years of these disciplines famously, much the way Chaos by James Gleick did for Chaos theory.
This is the printed-word companion to a BBC documentary produced in 1979 in honor of the centennial of Einstein's birth. Author Nigel Calder attempts to explain Einstein's work to the layperson and, as such, this volume stands with a great many other works which are sometimes, collectively, referred to as "physics for poets." Calder is considerably less successful in achieving his goal than other authors have been. It may be that in translating this work from a television documentary to book for ...more
This was one of the most exciting books I have ever read. It made me realise, when I was very young that I did have a passionate interest in science (which hadn't been awoken by school science lessons!) It has never left me and now I am writing science based scripts and novels and doing short science courses with the Open University. I can never thank Nigel Calder enough! Everyone should read it.
Nick Gotch
An excellent introduction to Special Relativity and Einstein's physics. My rating may be higher because it was one of the earlier books I read that I really enjoyed on the subject of modern physics. I'd already read some of Einstein's own writings on the subject but this book made it make a lot more sense (Einstein was a genius but his writing doesn't groove with me well.)
Sasha Samardzija
Excellent book - many ideas beautifully presented, although some of them not fully explained. For example photon energy and Doppler effect - my opinion is that the more space should have been reserved for that phenomena. Personally I needed some mathematics there, but that was probably not the original intention...
Excellent explanation of general and special relativity. Calder does something no else does and starts with general relativity, which seems weird at first but actually makes sense (since special relativity is the "special" case).
Shay Barry
Einstein's General and Special Relativity in layman's terms. A great book I would recommend to anyone with an interest in the genius of Einstein.
Ernie Dawson
I agree with the San Francisco Chronicle's review "Calder's figt for simplifying the complex has rarely beenb better demonstrated."
Tony Adams
I want to love this book...I really do! Maybe it's just that the subject is so darned complicated...
Have been opening this book for ages - finally made it through, even if it made my head spin!
excellent and well written study of astrophysics!
Blew my mind.
Ajitabh Pandey

An excellent book written for ordinary people who want to understand about Einstein's ideas on universe. Written in a very simple language and no mathematics. The author has successfully explained the complex concept of Special Theory of Relativity and General Theory of Relativity.

However, the book only covers Einstein's view on the Universe and as it is clearly known that Universe can be better explained together with Relativity and Quantum T
John Everett
I read it; I can't say I understood much of it. Explanations that start out simple quickly lead to utterly opaque statements. I might just be a moron, though. Please don't mock.
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A good read but dated 1977 1 7 Dec 27, 2009 09:26PM  
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