Domenico Giulini

Special relativity - a first encounter

The author claims that he has tried to use a minimum of mathematics in this book. However, there are certainly introductions to special relativity which use less mathematics, and I would say that this book was more suited to someone who has read such introductions but wants to get a firmer grasp on the subject, but without ploughing through a large textbook on the subject. Giulini packs a lot of information into a compact book without it feeling rushed and makes good use of diagrams. The mathematics is aimed at a 'well educated 16 year old', and so the book should have a wide audience.

As well as deriving the equations of special relativity, Guilini shows how they relate to the rest of physics, for example how Maxwell's equations for electromagnetism become invariant under changes of frame. There is also a chapter showing the derivation of that most famous of equations E=mc2. The final chapter includes the current status of several experimental tests of relativity.

Although the book is subtitled '100 years since Einstein' and has come out at the same time as many other books about him, it is different in that it isn't meant to be biographical - its subject is special relativity rather than Einstein.

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Hardcover 176 pages  
ISBN: 0198567464
Salesrank: 5314611
Weight:0.55 lbs
Published: 2005 Oxford University Press
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Hardcover 176 pages  
ISBN: 0198567464
Salesrank: 3104994
Weight:0.55 lbs
Published: 2005 OUP Oxford
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Hardcover 176 pages  
ISBN: 0198567464
Salesrank: 1204544
Weight:0.55 lbs
Published: 2005 Oxford University Press
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Product Description
Special Relativity provides the foundations of our knowledge of space and time. Without it, our understanding of the world, and its place in the universe, would be unthinkable. This book gives a concise, elementary, yet exceptionally modern, introduction to special relativity. It is a gentle yet serious 'first encounter', in that it conveys a true understanding rather than purely reports the basic facts. Only very elementary mathematical knowledge is needed to master it (basic high-school maths), yet it will leave the reader with a sound understanding of the subject. Special Relativity: A First Encounter starts with a broad historical introduction and motivation of the basic notions. The central chapters are dedicated to special relativity, mainly following Einstein's historical route. Later chapters turn to various applications in all parts of physics and everyday life. Unlike other books on the subject, the current status of the experimental foundations of special relativity is accurately reported and the experiments explained. This book will appeal to anyone wanting a gentle introduction to the subject, as well as those who are interested in seriously learning about Einstein's legacy.