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Space, Time and Gravitation: An Outline of the General Relativity Theory (Cambridge Science Classics) Paperback – 26 Feb 1987
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This classic book is essential reading for all those interested in the development of modern physics. Sir Arthur Eddington's account of the general theory of relativity, first published 1920, was received with acclamation by reviewers and remains one of the most straightforward accounts in print. This reissue includes a foreword by Sir Hermann Bondi, FRS.
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When Einstein formulated the general theory of relativity, he transformed gravity into geometry. That was but one of the big insights of relativity, but it is the one that most matters here. In the few decades following GR's 1915 debut (Eddington wrote this in 1920) a number of physicists (Eddington among them) thought that if gravity can be mapped to geometry, perhaps the electro-magnetic force could be also? These were the first attempts at a "unified theory" of all physical forces, and in this book, Eddington explicates his particular version of it. In the end, the attempts all failed, but the literature is valuable none-the-less. Eddington is a very good writer and his explanation of the relation between gravity and space-time curvature is worth the read.
That's the good news. The bad news is that this Kindle edition is very poorly constructed. There is some math here, but it is impossible to follow any of it (even if you are otherwise qualified to do so) because every special mathematical symbol used in logic and physics has been mis-transformed. Even pi, not to mention any super or sub-script, integration and summation symbols, etc. In short, every single symbol is scrambled into ordinary characters and thereby rendered unreadable. I assume the physical copies are all ok in this regard, but the Kindle version came out horribly!
Even if you just want to see what the man has to say and would ignore the math anyway, there is some effort to be made. For example there is no separation between pages and their end notes (of which there are plenty). The notes end up falling in the middle of the page looking like ordinary paragraphs. Luckily they can be spotted thanks to a preceding '*' and you learn to read these and then, in the next line, continue with the previous text.
All in all I found Dr. Eddington's style an enjoyable read, but the formatting issues make the Kindle version a bit problematic.
He believed Einstein's creation to be a beautiful geometrical theory which should be at least qualitatively understood by everyone. The result of this belief was "Space, Time and Gravitation" which was written for the intelligent educated lay person.
The book is well written and insightful and I heartily recommend it.
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