It's About Time: Understanding Einstein's Relativity

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9780691122014: It's About Time: Understanding Einstein's Relativity
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In It's About Time, N. David Mermin asserts that relativity ought to be an important part of everyone's education--after all, it is largely about time, a subject with which all are familiar. The book reveals that some of our most intuitive notions about time are shockingly wrong, and that the real nature of time discovered by Einstein can be rigorously explained without advanced mathematics. This readable exposition of the nature of time as addressed in Einstein's theory of relativity is accessible to anyone who remembers a little high school algebra and elementary plane geometry.


The book evolved as Mermin taught the subject to diverse groups of undergraduates at Cornell University, none of them science majors, over three and a half decades. Mermin's approach is imaginative, yet accurate and complete. Clear, lively, and informal, the book will appeal to intellectually curious readers of all kinds, including even professional physicists, who will be intrigued by its highly original approach.


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"David Mermin's new book is a gem. Requiring nothing more than a basic understanding of algebra, it provides the clearest and most insightful treatment of special relativity I've ever encountered. Students new to special relativity should learn it from this text; those already familiar with the subject should read this book to enhance their understanding and (of equal importance) to experience the craft of a master teacher."--Brian Greene, Columbia University


"This book includes material that is intellectually innovative and comes as a surprise even to specialists in the field. Its uniqueness, its insights, and its wonderful style will likely make it a classic."--Richard Price, University of Utah


"Well-written, chatty and engaging, this book will be accessible to scientists and non-scientists alike."--Robert Geroch, University of Chicago


"The reader who works through this book carefully will have quite a good understanding of what special relativity is all about. It offers a fresh approach to the subject."--Michael Strauss, Princeton University


About the Author:

N. David Mermin is a theoretical physicist who has worked in solid state physics, low temperature physics, statistical physics, crystallography, and foundations of quantum mechanics. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and won the first Julius Edgar Lilienfeld Prize of the American Physical society for "his remarkable clarity and wit as a lecturer to nonspecialists on difficult subjects." His books include "Solid State Physics, Boojums All the Way Through", and "Space and Time in Special Relativity".

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