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Sidelights on Relativity

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  436 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews

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.

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Published January 1st 2010 by MobileReference (first published July 1st 1983)
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Mario García
Feb 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
An exceptional historic document composed of two distinct addresses by Albert Einstein.

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
Derek Davis
Nov 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you want to know anything about the basics of relativity, Einstein's pretty much the only one to read. He brings an unusual and remarkable clarity to his own work without grandstanding.

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
Squatting Erudite
Short but very interesting and surprisingly clear! It really brings out Einstein's ability to explain difficult concepts in a way which pretty much confirms one of his quotes:

"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.)
Sep 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I explored this with the feelings that I am reading Albert Einstein's point of view. It holds true in being as concrete as much as his work bares to be. A masterful work translated here to help undestand what or why his belief in relativity is and written in a modernist simple terms using physics involved to greatly inform readers it's encompassing impact to the world as we know it.
Jul 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The man was a genius and probably a bit insane, but this was an interesting read!
Jason Kirk
Jan 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Comprised of two lectures delivered at the University of Leyden (1920) and the Prussian Academy of Sciences (1921),
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
Jul 09, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, sci-tech
The essays were a bit hard to understand, especially the first one where Einstein talked about the idea of the "luminiferous ether" which is no longer accepted today. But I had read Carl Sagan's explanation of it (and of Maxwell's Electromagnetic Theory) in both Cosmos and The Demon-Haunted World, and that made understanding Einstein's essays easier for me -- though it certainly wasn't a walk in the park. The popularization of Science really goes a long way into making hard concepts easier to di ...more
Preston Lee
Oct 26, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating lay explanations of Einstein's relativity theories from the man himself, including contextual (and competing) information relevant to the breakthroughs. No prerequisite mathematics knowledge needed, though comfort with basic kinetic Euclidian/Newtonian celestial motion (such as basic geometry and gravity) as well as abstract critical thinking skills are highly recommended.

Overall: 4 of 5.
M Pereira
This book is for anyone. This gives a nice context to Relativity, without actually explaining much about it, but by through two relevant stories (one about the theory of light and the other about the transition to non-euclidean geometries), Einstein, the man himself, gives an accessible potted scientific history of the past century and a half.

Most recommended, I dont have a maths or science background and you don't need one for this book.
Mark Kreider
A skinny little book containing a pair of lectures on, well, sidelights on Relativity. Interesting notes on the historical development of scientific theory and on visualizing non-Euclidean geometry in a meaningful way. When I first read it back in school, I found it to be a great appendix to our assigned readings. It is less valuable standing on it's own.
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In 1879, Albert Einstein was born in Ulm, Germany. He completed his Ph.D. at the University of Zurich by 1909. His 1905 paper explaining the photoelectric effect, the basis of electronics, earned him the Nobel Prize in 1921. His first paper on Special Relativity Theory, also published in 1905, changed the world. After the rise of the Nazi party, Einstein made Princeton his permanent home, becoming ...more
More about Albert Einstein...
“Is human reason, then, without experience, merely by taking thought, able to fathom the properties of real things. In my opinion the answer to this question is, briefly, this:--As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.” 2 likes
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