Relativity for Poets

RELATIVITY FOR POETS by Benjamin Crowell (PDF ebook)

Here’s a delightful non-mathematical introduction to Einstein’s theories of special and general relativity, including a brief overview of cosmology. This light-hearted science book is guaranteed the fuel the imagination of physics students. Filled with lots of illustrations and a dash of humor, it starts out with the basics and digs deep, all the while being a pleasure to read:

Once upon a time, there was an ornery man who liked to argue. He was undiplomatic and had a talent for converting allies into enemies. His name was Galileo, and it was his singular misfortune to be correct in most of his opinions. When he was arguing, Galileo had a few annoying habits. One was to answer a perfectly sound theoretical argument with a contradictory experiment or observation. Another was that, since he knew he was right, he freely made up descriptions of experiments that he hadn’t actually done.

Galileo’s true opponent was a dead man, the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle. Aristotle, probably based on generalizations from everyday experience, had come up with some seemingly common-sense theories about motion…

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