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Einstein's Universe Paperback – 1 Mar 1979


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Product details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Viking Press; Second Printing edition (1 Mar. 1979)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670290769
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670290765
  • Product Dimensions: 50.8 x 50.8 x 50.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,196,749 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
Anyone who has any interest at all in the world about them should have at least a passing knowledge of the three great discoveries in physics of the twentieth century: general and special relativity and quantum theory. If nothing else, they provide the real answer to the Hitchhiker's Guide big question of "life, the universe and everything"!
Einstein never got to grips with quantum theory (or, more probably, pretended that he hadn't) so you only get to face two of these three great topics in this book. It was written to accompany the BBC TV series of the same name so it isn't a tough read, but it does deal with the theme in more depth than the programmes, as you would expect. At the end of the tv series I felt that I almost had a grip on the subject: it took the book to show me how little I knew. It's an absolutely fascinating topic, presented in a very accessible way, and an ideal introduction to how everything really works. It's sure to stimulate your interest and if you read this before you read Stephen Hawking's "Brief History of Time" you might be the only person you know who finishes it!
Absolutely essential.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Getting these "specialist" books is vital and this was as I hoped. I will be using this again and again. Thanks
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 19 reviews
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Relativity Made Easy! 8 Nov. 2001
By Robert Haven - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
For a long time I've desired an understanding of relativity. Having just finished this book, I have achieved my goal -- without struggling with impossible equations. Thank you, Nigel Calder.

Due to the complex subject, this book isn't a particularly easy read. But the author keeps it very interesting and does as good a job as possible in translating the theories into understandable concepts. If you want to understand how gravity, time, space, energy, and mass are all tied together via relativity, then this book is for you.

There is an incredible amount of information packed into the pages. The famous equation E=Mc2 has never meant anything to me, but after reading just the first 25 pages of this book, I was able to explain to my wife the meaning and significance of the equation and some of the thought processes that led Einstein to develop it! I feel so much smarter now!

There were only a few places where I thought the author could have done a better job explaining some concepts, and some illustrations here and there would have been helpful. But if you are capable of understanding the Doppler effect, you are capable of understanding the major concepts of relativity.

Now I feel ready to tackle the basics of quantum theory!
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Descriptive and Energetic 23 Sept. 2001
By Bryce Wisan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Mr. Calder has done an outstanding job writing a book about relativity that non-physicists can read and enjoy. Mr. Calder writes with such clarity, such tangible descriptions, and such succinct summaries of the theory that the reader can begin to incorporate the implications of the theory into one's own worldview.
For instance, the author devotes much time and energy describing the possibilities of the universe being either open or closed (essentially, will the universe expand indefinitely, or will it eventually contract). By the time Mr. Calder begins to describe the metaphysical implications of these possibilities, the conscientious reader is already prepared to explore them on his own.
This ability to communicate science with such clarity as to allow a lay reader, whom I certainly am in physics, to be able to consider the implications of science, is a great complement to the author. Unfortunately, I am a hostage to much of what I read in science, so often having to rely on the author to describe the science as well as its implications.
In addition to summarizing and communicating extremely difficult material very well, Mr. Calder also writes with a great deal of energy and excitement. The author clearly shares his excitement about the subject matter to the reader.
This is an excellent read for anyone interested in the history of science and its implications.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Couldn't put the book down! Fascinating! 30 Nov. 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I read the 1979 version of this book, not the newest version. I've always thought that no one could explain relatively better than Issac Asimov, but finally someone has. With almost no math, Calder explains how gravity and speed affect time, space, and other characteristics of our universe. Superb!
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Very good, although a little old 3 Sept. 2001
By Kirk Allen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I found this book highly enjoyable and easy to read, especially considering the subject. Relativity is approached from several vantage points -- gravity, energy (E = mc squared), time shifts, and distance shortening. Of course, it all goes back to the same theory, so I liked having the multiple views presented to help me understand.
The biggest complaint I have about the book is that it's over 20 years old. This makes the last few chapters fairly useless since they are based on observations using 20-year-old telescopes. The first three-quarters of the book are still valid and insightful, which makes it worth reading. I bought this book in the Bargain section, so I'm not complaining..
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
You CAN understand Einstein! 31 Mar. 1998
By N. A. Lopez - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It is this book that made me switch my major halfway through college. It is a lucid, fascinating journey into a world most people mistakenly think that they cannot understand. I have read many books on the subject and none deliver such a thorough, qualitative understanding of Einstein's work.
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