The Meaning of Relativity
ISBN 10: 0691023522 / 0-691-02352-2
ISBN 13: 9780691023526
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication Date: 1966
In 1921, five years after the appearance of his comprehensive paper on general relativity and twelve years before he left Europe permanently to join the Institute for Advanced Study, Albert Einstein visited Princeton University, where he delivered the Stafford Little Lectures for that year. These four lectures constituted an overview of his then controversial theory of relativity. Princeton University Press made the lectures available under the title The Meaning of Relativity, the first book by Einstein to be produced by an American publisher. As subsequent editions were brought out by the Press, Einstein included new material amplifying the theory. A revised version of the appendix "Relativistic Theory of the Non-Symmetric Field," added to the posthumous edition of 1956, was Einstein's last scientific paper.
In 1921, a young Albert Einstein traveled to America to give four lectures at Princeton University, paving the way for a more complete acceptance of his theory of general relativity. These lectures are published together as The Meaning of Relativity, and were revised with each new edition until Einstein's death. Despite Einstein's profession that he thought without using words, his examples and descriptions of the relativistic world he perceived are clear and easy to follow. Unfortunately for nontechnical readers, his presentation requires deep diversions into mathematics often enough to break up the flow of his narrative, and they may find this rough terrain. But for the mathematically sophisticated or the devoted scientific historian, these lectures are profoundly illuminating--Einstein's bright, quiet genius shines through in the simplicity and economy of his writing. Two appendices follow the lectures: the first covers advances and experimental verifications after 1921; the second, "Relativistic Theory of the Non-Symmetric Field," was Einstein's last scientific paper. The Meaning of Relativity documents a revolution in progress and yields to the careful student deeper truths than those found in physics textbooks. --Rob Lightner
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