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.
Russell Stannard, Emeritus Professor of Physics, The Open University, UK
1: Special relativity
The Principle of Relativity and the speed of light
The Twin Paradox
Loss of simultaneity
The ultimate speed
2: General Relativity
The Equivalence Principle
The effects on time of acceleration and gravity
The bending of light