Synopses & Reviews
"This new edition of Einstein's popular presentation of both special and general relativity is a joy to read. Over the past hundred years, relativity has been brought to the public in many forms--magazines, books, documentaries--but there's nothing quite like being guided through one of the most profound scientific insights of all time by the master himself."
--Brian Greene, Columbia University"This book is not only an important historical document, but displays the style and clarity of Einstein's thought in a manner accessible to a wide readership. It's good that it is being reissued in this fine new edition to mark the centenary of his greatest insights."--Martin Rees, Trinity College, University of Cambridge, and Astronomer Royal
"I grew up reading this book. Many people have written expositions of relativity, but the master himself speaks with a certain authority. We get not only the content of the ideas, but the thought processes that helped create them. There's nothing quite like learning relativity from Einstein."--Sean Carroll, California Institute of Technology
"This book will play a vital role in introducing new readers to Einstein and the many fascinating questions surrounding his work."--Richard Staley, author of Einstein's Generation: The Origins of the Relativity Revolution
"This exciting new edition of Einstein's book will be of real interest to scholars as well as general readers--and it is perfectly timed for the centennial of Einstein's general theory of relativity."--David Kaiser, author of How the Hippies Saved Physics: Science, Counterculture, and the Quantum Revival
Review
"I can still see some fugitive magic in Relativity . . . it conjures Einstein as the oracle presenting a theory to the world--one of the most revolutionary and profound theories of all time."--Pedro Ferreira, Nature
Synopsis
After completing the final version of his general theory of relativity in November 1915, Albert Einstein wrote a book about relativity for a popular audience. His intention was "to give an exact insight into the theory of relativity to those readers who, from a general scientific and philosophical point of view, are interested in the theory, but who are not conversant with the mathematical apparatus of theoretical physics." The book remains one of the most lucid explanations of the special and general theories ever written. In the early 1920s alone, it was translated into ten languages, and fifteen editions in the original German appeared over the course of Einstein's lifetime.
This new edition of Einstein's celebrated book features an authoritative English translation of the text along with an introduction and a reading companion by Hanoch Gutfreund and Jürgen Renn that examines the evolution of Einstein's thinking and casts his ideas in a broader present-day context. A special chapter explores the history of and the stories behind the early foreign-language editions in light of the reception of relativity in different countries. This edition also includes a survey of the introductions from those editions, covers from selected early editions, a letter from Walther Rathenau to Einstein discussing the book, and a revealing sample from Einstein's handwritten manuscript.
Published on the hundredth anniversary of general relativity, this handsome edition of Einstein's famous book places the work in historical and intellectual context while providing invaluable insight into one of the greatest scientific minds of all time.
About the Author
Hanoch Gutfreund is professor emeritus of theoretical physics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he is also the academic director of the Albert Einstein Archives. He lives in Jerusalem. Jürgen Renn is a director at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin. His books include The Genesis of General Relativity. He lives in Berlin.
Table of Contents
Introduction xiii
Einstein as a Missionary of Science 1
Einstein's Booklet: Relativity:
The Special and the General Theory 7
PART I : The Special Theory of Relativity
1.Physical Meaning of Geometrical Propositions 11
2.The System of Co- ordinates 14
3.Space and Time in Classical Mechanics 18
4.The Galileian System of Co- ordinates 21
5.The Principle of Relativity (in the Restricted Sense) 23
6.The Theorem of the Addition of Velocities Employed in Classical Mechanics 27
7.The Apparent Incompatibility of the Law of Propagation of Light with the Principle of Relativity 28
8.On the Idea of Time in Physics 32
9.The Relativity of Simultaneity 36
10.On the Relativity of the Conception of Distance 39
11.The Lorentz Transformation 41
12.The Behaviour of Measuring- Rods and Clocks in Motion 47
13.Theorem of the Addition of the Velocities. The Experiment of Fizeau 50
14.The Heuristic Value of the Theory of Relativity 54
15.General Results of the Theory 56
16.Experience and the Special Theory of Relativity 62
17.Minkowski's Four- Dimensional Space 68
PART II: The General Theory of Relativity
18.Special and General Principle of Relativity 72
19.The Gravitational Field 76
20.The Equality of Inertial and Gravitational Mass as an Argument for the General Postulate of Relativity 80
21.In What Respects Are the Foundations of Classical Mechanics and of the Special Theory of Relativity Unsatisfactory? 85
22.A Few Inferences from the General Principle of Relativity 88
23.Behaviour of Clocks and Measuring- Rods on a Rotating Body of Reference 93
24.Euclidean and Non- Euclidean Continuum 97
25.Gaussian Co- ordinates 101
26.The Space- Time Continuum of the Special Theory of Relativity Considered as a Euclidean Continuum 106
27.The Space- Time Continuum of the General Theory of Relativity Is Not a Euclidean Continuum 109
28.Exact Formulation of the General Principle of Relativity 113
29.The Solution of the Problem of Gravitation on the Basis of the General Principle of Relativity 117
PART III: Considerations on the Universe as a Whole
30.Cosmological Diffi culties of Newton's Theory 122
31.The Possibility of a "Finite" and Yet "Unbounded" Universe 125
32.The Structure of Space According to the General Theory of Relativity 131
Appendixes
1.Simple Derivation of the Lorentz Transformation (Supplementary to Section 11) (1918) 133
2.Minkowski's Four- Dimensional Space ("World") (Supplementary to Section 17) (1918) 140
3.The Experimental Confi rmation of the General Theory of Relativity (1920) 142
4.The Structure of Space According to the General Theory of Relativity (Supplementary to Section 32) (1946) 153
5.Relativity and the Problem of Space (1953) 155
A Reading Companion: Thirteen Commentaries
Physics and Geometry (§§ 1- 2) 180
Mechanics and Space (§§ 3- 6) 182
Light Propagation and Time (§§ 7- 9) 187
Light Propagation and Space (§§ 10- 12 and Appendix 1) 191
Physics in Relativistic Space and Time (§§ 13- 16) 193
The World of Four Dimensions (§ 17 and Appendix 2) 201
From Special to General Relativity 204
Gravitation and Inertia (§§ 18- 21) 205
Acceleration, Clocks, and Rods (§§ 22- 23) 209
Gravitation and Geometry (§§ 24- 27) 213
Gravitation and General Relativity (§§ 28- 29) 218
The Challenge of Cosmology (§§ 30- 32 and Appendix 4) 222
The Relation between Theory and Experiment (Appendix 3) 226
The Changing Concept of Space (Appendix 5) 230
A History and Survey of Foreign-Language Editions
The English Translation 244
The French Translation 247
The Italian Translation 252
The Spanish Translation 256
The Russian Translation 259
The Chinese Translation 262
The Japanese Translation 266
The Polish Translation 270
The Czech Translation 273
The Hebrew Translation 276
Concluding Remarks 279
Appended Documents
A Letter from Walther Rathenau to Einstein 281
A Sample Page of Einstein's Handwriting 284
Manuscript of Appendix 3 of the Booklet 286
Further Reading 293
Index 297