Sidelights on Relativity
Two influential essays: "Ether and Relativity" (1920) discusses properties demanded of the ether of space by the theory of relativity; "Geometry and Experience" (1921) describes the limits within which the Euclidean or other practical geometric systems can be regarded as valid in connection with the concept of a finite universe.
Firstly, recounting the stumbling of Physical Science from Newton's theory to his own: the intrinsic relation of matter and energy; and how the influence of problems derived from Hertz's investigations in electro-dynamics made this possible, thanks to Lorentz through Maxwell's equations. Secondly, the fundamental question for the character of Mathematics as a valid description of reality -particularly in the f ...more
This short bit combines two lectures from the early 1920s answering some of the inherent queries on his recent work. The first deals with the idea of the "ether" which his work both discredited and, as he shows, retained in its essence. The second shows, remarkably, that you CAN envision a finite unbounded univ ...more
Sidelights on Relativity is probably best served to gluttons. (I count myself among them.) "Ether and Relativity" is his rebuttal of the idea of a universal "ether" through which things move, and "Geometry and Experience" applies the ideas of what was then the new geometry to the concept of a finite universe. Like I said...
The are also a few more inclusively phrased nuggets of in ...more
Most recommended, I dont have a maths or science background and you don't need one for this book.
Overall: 4 of 5.
"If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself."
(At least I think he really said it, you can never be sure these days.)
I really loved his temper of mind, though. Despite of him being a "natural scientist", he sounds much more Platonic and aesthetically obsessed than most British philosophers do.