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It's About Time : Understanding Einstein's Relativity - N. David Mermin

It's About Time

Understanding Einstein's Relativity

Paperback

Published: 26th July 2009
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In "It's About Time," N. David Mermin asserts that relativity ought to be an important part of everyone's education--after all, it is largely about time, a subject with which all are familiar. The book reveals that some of our most intuitive notions about time are shockingly wrong, and that the real nature of time discovered by Einstein can be rigorously explained without advanced mathematics. This readable exposition of the nature of time as addressed in Einstein's theory of relativity is accessible to anyone who remembers a little high school algebra and elementary plane geometry.

The book evolved as Mermin taught the subject to diverse groups of undergraduates at Cornell University, none of them science majors, over three and a half decades. Mermin's approach is imaginative, yet accurate and complete. Clear, lively, and informal, the book will appeal to intellectually curious readers of all kinds, including even professional physicists, who will be intrigued by its highly original approach.

"Mermin's premise is that everyone should know about relativity in order to understand the real nature of time... What is remarkable in his approach is his reliance on developing the reader's skills to analyze events in more than one frame of reference. This is the key to understanding relativity: being able to translate with ease from one frame of reference (a moving train) to another (a station)."--Simon Mitton, Times Higher Education Supplement "This is a book full of insight with an engaging style. I recommend it to anyone who has to teach the subject to either [non scientists or undergraduate and graduate students]: it's a brilliant basis for a set of lecture notes."--Derek Raine, Nature "In this highly readable book, Mermin argues that a working knowledge of relativity requires no more than basic algebra and geometry. He makes a valid point. Special relativity is more fundamental, up-to-date and accurate than Newtonian physics, and Einstein's presence in the classroom may inspire the most uninterested student."--Amanda Gefter, New Scientist "It's About Time is a book that should join the very best systematic popular expositions of science written in the last 50 years."--Peter L. Galison, American Scientist "There's a profound difference between knowing about something, and knowing it, and Mermin succeeds at instilling the latter."--Gilbert Taylor, Booklist "Mermin has taught relativity for 40 years and has clearly thought about the best way to teach the subject. It's About Time offers a serious, yet accessible approach to relativity."--Kara shane Colley, MAA Reviews "What makes the book as a whole so enjoyable to read is the steady pace at which the subject unfolds. The author spends as much time on each idea as he considers necessary... Nowhere is the book too intense, and the learning curve for readers has a fairly constant slope... David Mermin [is] a master teacher at work--and instructors will almost certainly include some of the ideas in their own teaching."--Nigel Dowrick, Physics Today "Requiring nothing more than a basic understanding of algebra, [this book] provides the clearest and most insightful treatment of special relativity I've ever encountered... It's About Time brings the practice and foundation of physics together through the question of time."--Arkady Plotnitsky, Foundations of Physics "The reader will find some of the best non-technical description of the special theory of relativity ever written."--Jaume J. Carot, Mathematical Reviews "An excellent book on Einstein's special theory of relativity... I clearly see the strength of this book in lucid, self-contained, lively, down-to-earth, and meticulous presentation... I have no hesitation in saying that this is the best book on the special theory of relativity at a semi-popular level I have ever read."--K. S. Birbhadra, The Observatory

Preface: Why Another Relativity Book ixNote to Readers xivChapter One: The Principle of Relativity 1Chapter Two: Combining (Small)Velocities 14Chapter Three: The Speed of Light 19Chapter Four: Combining (Any)Velocities 28Chapter Five: Simultaneous Events;Synchronized Clocks 45Chapter Six: Moving Clocks Run Slowly;Moving Sticks Shrink 58Chapter Seven: Looking At a Moving Clock 73Chapter Eight: The Interval between Events 79Chapter Nine: Trains of Rockets 89Chapter Ten: Space-Time Geometry 102Chapter Eleven: E =M2 144Chapter Twelve: A Bit about General Relativity 171Chapter Thirteen: What Makes It Happen? 179Index 187

ISBN: 9780691141275
ISBN-10: 0691141274
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 208
Published: 26th July 2009
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 16.7  x 1.4
Weight (kg): 0.31