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100 years ago, Einstein's theory of relativity shattered the world of physics. Our comforting Newtonian ideas of space and time were replaced by bizarre and counterintuitive conclusions: if you move at high speed, time slows down, space squashes up and you get heavier; travel fast enough and you could weigh as much as a jumbo jet, be squashed thinner than a CD without feeling a thing - and live for ever. And that was just the Special Theory. With the General Theory came even stranger ideas of curved space-time, and changed our understanding of gravity and the cosmos.

This authoritative and entertaining Very Short Introduction makes the theory of relativity accessible and understandable. Using very little mathematics, Russell Stannard explains the important concepts of relativity, from E=mc2 to black holes, and explores the theory's impact on science and on our understanding of the universe.

Category:

Science

Cover:

Paperback

Edition Number:

1

ISBN:

9780199236220

Pages:

114

Author:

Stannard Rusell

Publisher:

OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS

Release Year:

2008

Russell Stannard, Emeritus Professor of Physics, The Open University, UK

1: Special relativity

The Principle of Relativity and the speed of light

Time dilation

The Twin Paradox

Length contraction

Loss of simultaneity

Space-time diagrams

Four-dimensional spacetime

The ultimate speed

E=mc2

2: General Relativity

The Equivalence Principle

The effects on time of acceleration and gravity

The bending of light

Curved space

Black holes

Gravitational Waves

The Universe

Further reading

Index