Cover image for ABC of relativity
ABC of relativity
Russell, Bertrand, 1872-1970.
[Fifth revised edition] / with an introduction by Peter Clark.
Publication Information:
London : Routledge, [1997]

Physical Description:
xvi, [9]-155 pages : illustrations ; 20 cm
Subject Term:
Format :


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QC6 .R8 1997 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Ask a dozen people to name a genius and the odds are that 'Einstein' will spring to their lips. Ask them the meaning of 'relativity' and few of them will be able to tell you what it is.
The basic principles of relativity have not changed since Russell first published his lucid guide for the general reader. The ABC of Relativityis Bertrand Russell's most brilliant work of scientific popularisation. With marvellous lucidity he steers the reader who has no knowledge of maths or physics through the subtleties of Einstein's thinking. In easy, assimilable steps, he explains the theories of special and general relativity and describes their practical application to, amongst much else, discoveries about gravitation and the invention of the hydrogen bomb.

Author Notes

Bertrand Arthur William Russell (1872-1970) was a British philosopher, logician, essayist and social critic. He was best known for his work in mathematical logic and analytic philosophy. Together with G.E. Moore, Russell is generally recognized as one of the main founders of modern analytic philosophy. Together with Kurt Gödel, he is regularly credited with being one of the most important logicians of the twentieth century.

Over the course of a long career, Russell also made contributions to a broad range of subjects, including the history of ideas, ethics, political and educational theory, and religious studies. General readers have benefited from his many popular writings on a wide variety of topics.

After a life marked by controversy--including dismissals from both Trinity College, Cambridge, and City College, New York--Russell was awarded the Order of Merit in 1949 and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1950. Noted also for his many spirited anti-nuclear protests and for his campaign against western involvement in the Vietnam War, Russell remained a prominent public figure until his death at the age of 97.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Table of Contents

Introductionp. vii
1 Touch and Sight: The Earth and the Heavensp. 9
2 What Happens and What is Observedp. 17
3 The Velocity of Lightp. 26
4 Clocks and Foot-rulesp. 34
5 Space-Timep. 45
6 The Special Theory of Relativityp. 53
7 Intervals in Space-Timep. 66
8 Einstein's Law of Gravitationp. 78
9 Proofs of Einstein's Law of Gravitationp. 91
10 Mass, Momentum, Energy, and Actionp. 100
11 The Expanding Universep. 113
12 Conventions and Natural Lawsp. 124
13 The Abolition of 'Force'p. 133
14 What is Matter?p. 141
15 Philosophical Consequencesp. 148