This book is a great mathematical introduction or review of special relativity. I loved A.P. French's "An Introduction into Quantum Physics" and thisThis book is a great mathematical introduction or review of special relativity. I loved A.P. French's "An Introduction into Quantum Physics" and this book is equally good by getting into the heart of the principles and the mathematics....more

Even though this book is by Einstein himself he wrote it for a general audience with the consequence that it does not work well either as an introductEven though this book is by Einstein himself he wrote it for a general audience with the consequence that it does not work well either as an introduction nor as an insight into what the mathematics reveals. He did write more advanced books which work better but then you need to understand mathematics at a higher level. If you are looking for a general reader type of introduction into relativity get a book with lots of illustrations (which this book does not have)....more

Paul Davies has for a long time been one of my favorite general physics writers and he does a very good job here. I only have two minor quibbles. ThePaul Davies has for a long time been one of my favorite general physics writers and he does a very good job here. I only have two minor quibbles. The first is probably due to his editor telling him not to use equations but it has to do his explanation of why space and time make an inseparable space-time. The reason is a certain quantity involving both is an invariant under any sort of change like like volume is an invariant when an object is moved. That quantity is "ct squared - x squared" where t is a time interval, x is a spatial distance interval and c is the velocity of light in a vacuum (this is what Minkowski discovered). Davies mentions and many have noticed that this would be the distance formula "ct squared = x square + ? squared" if only we know what "?" was. It is as if we only perceive a shadow of some ultimate invariant change reality just like an object volume will cast its shadow on a wall as it is moved.

My other concern is his claim that time does not exist prior to the Big Bang. While the relativity equations show that space-time and matter are linked such that if one goes to 0 so does the other that does not preclude a more general time-like change reality. One would seem to be needed because every sudden impulse event like the Big Bang has some backwash which takes away its cause otherwise it would just keep on happening. If water breaks a dam the water flows away, if a neural threshold is crossed creating an action potential it generates an inhibitory backwash signal. Finally, physics can not yet explain every low energy phenomena as exemplified by the existence of our conscious sensations. These uncertainties should give one pause before making such broad claims that nothing exists prior to the Big Bang....more

This 1980 book by a Nobel prize winner in chemistry (non-reversible thermodynamic systems) is today best seen as another step towards chaos theory altThis 1980 book by a Nobel prize winner in chemistry (non-reversible thermodynamic systems) is today best seen as another step towards chaos theory although that word is not mentioned in this book (the first symposium on "chaos was held in 1977 in New York). He brings up many of the problems of deterministic systems and offers directions to potential general solutions. His main aim is to make readers aware that the development of higher level structures is dependent on irreversible chaotic processes....more

This book was my introduction to quantum physics back in the late 1970s and while many introductory books do not hold up well over the years as one leThis book was my introduction to quantum physics back in the late 1970s and while many introductory books do not hold up well over the years as one learns more about the subject this one holds up well. I am glad to see it is still being used....more

This book first published in 2005 is a balanced, clearly written history of the allure of extra spatial dimensions in both science and literature. TheThis book first published in 2005 is a balanced, clearly written history of the allure of extra spatial dimensions in both science and literature. The main goal of this book is to show how these extra spatial dimensions are ultimately used in string theory which is claimed by its promoters to be the ultimate theory of physics able to unify all the forces of nature. This author is justifiably more skeptical of string theory than other book authors on the subject because the theory has yet to produce any testable predictions.

I did especially enjoy chapter 7 entitled "From Flatland to Picasso" which described the history of multiple dimensions outside of science starting in the late 1800's.