on 29 October 2013
The mathematics assumes knowledge of infinitesimals and integration, but don't let that put you off. The real difficulty here is with conceptualisation. The author takes you into an Alice in Wonderland where concepts are genuinely mind bending. A fourth spatial dimension is presented by analogy with the life of A Square, 2-D citizen of Flatland, whose existence is, quite literally, turned around by his encounter with a 3-D sphere. Non-Euclidean geometry and curved space becomes easier to grasp with reference to Flatland and its dimensionally impoverished inhabitants, where even a straight line can be shown to bend in the direction of a higher dimension.
Mind-boggling perceptions of simultaneity, the constant speed of light irrespective of the velocity of its source, and changes in length and mass are discussed in the chapter on Special Relativity. Every event is shown via easy to understand Minowski diagrams as a world line framed in the common 4-D crystalline coordinates of spacetime - the shape of which receives its own chapter.
Every chapter ends with a series of thought-provoking questions and there is a detailed bibliography at the end of this fascinating (and often humorous) little book.