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4.2 out of 5 stars138
4.2 out of 5 stars
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on 4 August 2011
The booklet was written by an eminent scientist in 1920, using the style of language of that era, with some long sentences that science writers of the time were prone to use. Conveniently, some words used, e.g. "perihelion" can be looked up in the dictionary that is free with the Kindle.
It was written only a year after the first experimental confirmation of Einstein's theories of relativity and so when Lorentz wrote "If his theory is correct as it stands, there ought, in a gravitational field, to be a displacement of the lines of the spectrum towards the red. No such effect has been discovered" he should probably have added the word "yet". In the more than 90 years since the book was published, this movement of the spectral lines due to gravity has been confirmed.
The book introduces you to Einstein himself and some of the scientific questions of his time, Einstein's radically different approach to them, a summary of the predicted effects of relativity and then some of the experiments that had been performed to confirm them. Non-mathematicians can rest assured there is not a single equation in the book.
Those familiar with accurately plotting a position will be familiar with degrees (°), minutes (') and seconds (") of arc where 1 second of arc is one 3,600th of a degree and thus a VERY small angle. Seconds of arc are referred to several times, but one typo uses ' instead of ". However, it is obvious from the context that Lorentz meant these very tiny angles called seconds rather than minutes of arc. I don't feel this detracts from the book at all.
I read the book at a single sitting and since it now 8:30 p.m. and I haven't yet had dinner, in my opinion it makes a good read!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 5 November 2011
I downloaded this for free, intending to educate myself a little further and perhaps learn some history about Einstein the man at the same time. It is a decent introduction to the man and the theory, although it was written nearly a hundred years ago and the language can prove to be something of a barrier. I had to look several scientific AND non-scientific words up in the Kindle dictionary! It is quite wordy and there is an excessive amount of opinion in the narrative (a page may have 2 or 3 actual bits of information and the rest is phrasing and opinion). The subject matter itself is fairly easy to understand to an interested amateur.
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77 of 82 people found the following review helpful
on 28 December 2010
If you've ever wondered what Einstein's Theory of Relativity is all about, but have been unprepared to delve into wordy, in-depth, specialised tomes; then I would certainly recommend this short introduction prepared by `H.A. Lorentz'.

The science has been reduced to its bare bones and whilst certainly incisive and technical in its approach, is fairly accessible to the novice. Intellectually stimulating, this is a fascinating subject area which unites physics, gravity and the properties of light.

Einstein was a genius who worked on some of the most complex scientific problems of his age. This introduction is an excellent way to familiarise yourself with one of his crowning achievements without drowning in a sea of incomprehensible science!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Not sure what I was going to get with this, but I thought it would perhaps be a little simpler to follow. It was a just a bit too heavy for a complete layman. I guess I should have realised that I can't pick up in one book what took years of education and research to come up with. I was looking to gain an understanding of what this was all about.

You have nothing to lose by ordering this at the current price of free of charge, so I would still recommend it.
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on 10 October 2013
I commend this short, non-mathematical book to all non-specialists, such as myself, who wish to appreciate the implications of the Einstein original production without wrestling with mathematical detail. This book concentrates upon implications.
Indeed, the book begins with this note:-
"Whether it is true or not that not more than twelve persons in all the world are able to understand Einstein's Theory, it is nevertheless a fact that there is a constant demand for information about this much-debated topic of relativity. The books published on the subject are so technical that only a person trained in pure physics and higher mathematics is able to fully understand them. In order to make a popular explanation of this far-reaching theory available, the present book is published. Professor Lorentz is credited by Einstein with sharing the development of his theory. He is doubtless better able than any other man— except the author himself— to explain this scientific discovery."
Despite the above, you will need to stay awake.
If you are motivated, you will enjoy yourself.
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41 of 50 people found the following review helpful
on 23 October 2010
It's been a good few years since I've read something that's taxed me. Stephen Hawking's book did the same to me. I downloaded this as it was free and I was trying out my new Kindle 3. However, I will read this again and again until I understand. One cannot quibble that this was one of the most defining moments in history (or physics).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 4 December 2014
This short book is very much a thumbnail sketch of The Theory of Relativity but still very interesting, nonetheless. It suffers from the rather verbose use of overlong sentences. This makes it a little difficult to follow in places as does the author's 'flowery' style of language. Still worth reading as it is very short so won't take long.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 7 August 2014
A very interesting article/book written early 20th century about relativity, different from how we today perceive it but the core is the same. Interesting how the ether still was so strongly held to and now just an echo, just like science should be. Worth reading if interested in Einsteins relativity theory
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on 19 February 2014
I found this book very hard to read. I am really looking for an understandable description of relativity but until now I have only seen the usual repetitions of the theory with the usual examples eg twins paradox. This book is very short - only a few pages so at least I managed to finish it without despairing too much! But the question also arises - is this book really worth a Fiver or whatever it was?
So yes, I am now going for `Einstein for Dummies`, recommended by someone. I might end up giving up on this stuff altogether. I mean when someone tries to tell me that if I am travelling at half light speed and then a beam of light overtakes me, that I then perceive this light to be travelling at full light speed. They may tell me that time for me slows by 50% or something! Ok, that`s enough for now!
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on 4 October 2013
This book is a great opportunity to hear the insights from one of the world's great thinkers, into Einstein's revolutionary work.

There is some language and concepts some people may struggle to grasp, but this is not meant as a criticism of the author or reader, and the reason for 4 instead of 5 stars. It should, at the very least, be a useful resource to help individuals understand the principles and impact of Einstein's work, as well as an opportunity to hear about it from one of his contemporaries.
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