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The Perfect Theory: A Century of Geniuses and the Battle over General Relativity Hardcover – 4 Feb 2014

4.7 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 4 Feb 2014
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown; 2nd edition edition (4 Feb. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408703106
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408703106
  • Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 3.3 x 23.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 576,657 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

Prof Ferreira is an outstanding storyteller, and the tales here reveal more about how science really works than any number of textbooks (BBC Focus)

You couldn't ask for a better guide to the outer reaches of the universe and the inner workings of the minds of those who've navigated it (Marcus du Sautoy, Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science at the University of Oxford and author of The Music of the Primes)

Einstein's beautiful theory is almost a century old, and its ramifications have stimulated a crescendo of discovery ever since. It is now, more than ever, one of the liveliest frontiers of science. Pedro G. Ferreira describes, accessibly and non-technically, how the key breakthroughs have been made, and the personalities who made them. Even readers with zero scientific background will enjoy this finely written survey of one of the greatest of recent scientific endeavours, and get a real feel for the social and human aspects of science (Lord Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal)

This is a fascinating introduction to our present understanding of space, time, and gravity, and to the confusion about how to go about finding a still better theory. Ferreira tells the story without equations or graphs, just well-chosen words about the science and how it grew. I particularly recommend the sketches of scientists in all their curious variety of character traits (James E. Peebles, Albert Einstein Professor of Science, Emeritus. Professor of Physics, Emeritus)

Pedro G. Ferreira's The Perfect Theory is especially welcome. It provides us with an enthralling account of the ideas and personalities of those who were involved (Sir Roger Penrose, Emeritus Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics at the Mathematical Institute of the University of Oxford and Emeritus Fellow of Wadham College)

Einstein's general relativity is a theory of unrivaled elegance and simplicity. But the history of general relativity is messy, unpredictable, and occasionally dramatic. Pedro G. Ferreira is an expert guide to the twists and turns scientists have gone through in a quest to understand space and time (Sean Carroll, theoretical physicist and author of The Particle at the End of the Universe)

The Perfect Theory is a rollicking good read. We watch as Einstein's brilliant successors struggle and squabble about everything from black holes to quantum gravity. With crisp explanations and narrative flair, Ferreira offers us a fun, fresh take on a magnificent part of modern science (Steven Strogatz, Schurman Professor of Applied Mathematics, Cornell University, and author of The Joy of x)

Pedro G. Ferreira portrays a community ensnared by a single great idea. His telling is incredibly thorough while still beautiful, deeply considered and affecting. With vivid detail, he brings to life the awesome story of one of humanity's greatest achievements (Janna Levin, Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Barnard College, Columbia University and author of How the Universe Got Its Spots)

With palpable delight, Ferreira details false starts, chance discoveries, and the vindication of long-ridiculed ideas that emerged from the work that predicted singularities, M-theory, and dark energy . . . Ferreira's clear explanations offer a wonderful look into a world of those who tackle the hard math that is "the key to understanding the history of the universe, the origin of time, and the evolution of . . . the cosmos." (Publishers Weekly)

No book better prepares armchair physicists for the intellectual excitement ahead! (Booklist)

One of the best popular accounts of how Einstein and his followers have been trying to explain the universe for decades (Kirkus Reviews)

Pedro G. Ferreira offers an accessible history of Einstein's theory of relativity in The Perfect Theory. (Arminta Wallace Irish Times, Highlights of 2014)

The Perfect Theory is a perfect guide for this most beloved branch of modern physics. (Sam Kean The Wall Street Journal)

A 'biography' of Einstein's brainchild for those with a smattering of science and next to no mathematics . . . Ferreira lucidly sketches several attempts to generalize Einstein's theory, including string theory, which both describes gravity and offers an explanation of why it exists (Graham Farmelo Nature)

Pedro G. Ferreira offers an accessible history of Einstein's theory of relativity (Irish Independent)

Book Description

An engaging popular history of Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, taking in the sheer magnificence of its discovery, as well as the infighting that the theory sparked across a century.

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