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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

4.2  ·  Rating details ·  1,677 Ratings  ·  27 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 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Aug 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
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...
Jul 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jun 16, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 19, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Nick Gotch
Dec 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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.)
Jul 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
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.
Aug 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Feb 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
excellent and well written study of astrophysics!
Tony Adams
I want to love this book...I really do! Maybe it's just that the subject is so darned complicated...
Mar 13, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
Blew my mind.
Jan 19, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Have been opening this book for ages - finally made it through, even if it made my head spin!
Ernie Dawson
Mar 06, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I agree with the San Francisco Chronicle's review "Calder's figt for simplifying the complex has rarely beenb better demonstrated."
Don Heiman
Feb 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Calder in his 1979 book "Einstein's Universe" reminded me of Aristotle's notion that "Wonder is the beginning of philosophy." After reading the book and watching at the theatre the wonderful movie "Hidden Figures," I am convinced Calder and Aristotle are right. Calder concludes his book with the observation: "The grand objective of physics is to understand the universe in terms as simple as possible." Despite the absence of reference notes, Calder has achieved a remarkable simplicity in writings ...more
Bob Nichols
This is the third time around on this book - each time you move ahead just a wee bit more in trying to crack the Einstein code. There's much in the way to recommend in this book, but it's interspersed with weak spots for the general reader on several important questions, particularly related to the General Theory (Calder begins with Einstein's 1915 General Theory and only then goes back to the 1905 Special Theory). Regarding the weak spots:

1. In the reference to "falling objects," "falling" sug
Jun 10, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't know how to describe this mind boggling account of Einstein's theory of gravity. This journey sharpens your senses of the world around you . Although I had to scratches my head over few concepts many times, I will say that this is a relatively ( pun intended ☺) easy to understand description of general and special theory of relativity.
In a nutshell,the book explains how one special feature of the cosmos (The speed of light) has a grib on all operations of every atom, star and quasar. It
Jun 07, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Daniel Little
This book gives very vivid, intuitive descriptions of some of the very odd predictions that result from a relativistic view of time and space. Any deeper understanding of these issues is to some extent circumvented by a lack of math. Calder explicitly avoids any mathematics, but even though this is a "Layman's Guide" to relativity, it would have been nice to get some sense of why relativity predicts what it does. The chapter ordering is weird as well. You never get a sense of how Einstein arrive ...more
John Everett
May 08, 2014 rated it it was ok
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.
Jan 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is very interesting. keep secrets that only a good reader can decipher.
Yubal Masalker
Oct 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read its Hebrew translation.
David L
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Nov 10, 2017
Akanksha Sharma
rated it it was amazing
Aug 12, 2015
Maged Abu-zeid
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Jun 11, 2014
Compaq Dell
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Oct 14, 2012
Yaqoob Almuqbali
rated it it was amazing
Jun 18, 2017
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A good read but dated 1977 1 7 Dec 27, 2009 09:26PM  
  • Einstein for Beginners
  • The Universe and Dr. Einstein
  • Physics for Poets
  • The End of Time: The Next Revolution in Our Understanding of the Universe
  • Introducing Stephen Hawking
  • The Life of the Cosmos
  • About Time: Einstein's Unfinished Revolution
  • The ABC of Relativity
  • The World Treasury of Physics, Astronomy & Mathematics from Albert Einstein to Stephen W. Hawking & from Annie Dillard to John Updike
  • Wrinkles in Time
  • Faster Than the Speed of Light: The Story of a Scientific Speculation
  • Origins
  • Cosmic Connection: An Extraterrestrial Perspective
  • Dark Cosmos: In Search of Our Universe's Missing Mass and Energy
  • The Handy Science Answer Book
  • Late Night Thoughts on Listening to Mahler's Ninth Symphony
  • In Search of the Big Bang
  • The Void