'Relativity: The Special and the General Theory, 100th Anniversary Edition'
By Albert Einstein (Author), Hanoch Gutfreund (Commentary), Jürgen Renn (Commentary)
After completing the final version of his general theory of relativity in November 1915, Albert Einstein wrote a book about relativity for a popular audience. His intention was "to give an exact insight into the theory of relativity to those readers who, from a general scientific and philosophical point of view, are interested in the theory, but who are not conversant with the mathematical apparatus of theoretical physics." The book remains one of the most lucid explanations of the special and general theories ever written. In the early 1920s alone, it was translated into ten languages, and fifteen editions in the original German appeared over the course of Einstein's lifetime.
This new edition of Einstein's celebrated book features an authoritative English translation of the text along with an introduction and a reading companion by Hanoch Gutfreund and Jürgen Renn that examines the evolution of Einstein's thinking and casts his ideas in a broader present-day context. A special chapter explores the history of and the stories behind the early foreign-language editions in light of the reception of relativity in different countries. This edition also includes a survey of the introductions from those editions, covers from selected early editions, a letter from Walther Rathenau to Einstein discussing the book, and a revealing sample from Einstein's handwritten manuscript.
Published on the hundredth anniversary of general relativity, this handsome edition of Einstein's famous book places the work in historical and intellectual context while providing invaluable insight into one of the greatest scientific minds of all time.
"I can still see some fugitive magic in Relativity . . . it conjures Einstein as the oracle presenting a theory to the world--one of the most revolutionary and profound theories of all time."
(Pedro Ferreira, Nature)
"Nobody is better at explaining relativity than Einstein himself; his account provides a combination of depth and clarity that only he could confidently produce. . . . This 100th anniversary edition is complemented by commentary from Gutfreund and Renn, who clarify some key points and add historical perspective, making Einstein's own words even more accessible and meaningful."
(Tom Siegfried, Science News)
"Hanoch Gutfreund, professor emeritus of theoretical physics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Jurgen Renn, director of the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, augment the 100th anniversary edition of [Relativity] with a reading companion to make Einstein's thinking clearer to present-day readers."
(Mike Perricone, Symmetry Magazine)
"This new edition of Einstein's popular presentation of both special and general relativity is a joy to read. Over the past hundred years, relativity has been brought to the public in many forms--magazines, books, documentaries--but there's nothing quite like being guided through one of the most profound scientific insights of all time by the master himself."
(Brian Greene, Columbia University)
"This book is not only an important historical document, but displays the style and clarity of Einstein's thought in a manner accessible to a wide readership. It's good that it is being reissued in this fine new edition to mark the centenary of his greatest insights."
(Martin Rees, Trinity College, University of Cambridge, and Astronomer Royal)
"I grew up reading this book. Many people have written expositions of relativity, but the master himself speaks with a certain authority. We get not only the content of the ideas, but the thought processes that helped create them. There's nothing quite like learning relativity from Einstein."
(Sean Carroll, California Institute of Technology)
"This book will play a vital role in introducing new readers to Einstein and the many fascinating questions surrounding his work."
(Richard Staley, author of Einstein's Generation: The Origins of the Relativity Revolution)
"This exciting new edition of Einstein's book will be of real interest to scholars as well as general readers--and it is perfectly timed for the centennial of Einstein's general theory of relativity."
(David Kaiser, author of How the Hippies Saved Physics: Science, Counterculture, and the Quantum Revival)
In 1879, Albert Einstein was born in Ulm, Germany. He completed his Ph.D. at the University of Zurich by 1909. His 1905 paper explaining the photoelectric effect, the basis of electronics, earned him the Nobel Prize in 1921. His first paper on Special Relativity Theory, also published in 1905, changed the world. After the rise of the Nazi party, Einstein made Princeton his permanent home, becoming a U.S. citizen in 1940. Einstein, a pacifist during World War I, stayed a firm proponent of social justice and responsibility. He chaired the Emergency Committee of Atomic Scientists, which organized to alert the public to the dangers of atomic warfare.
At a symposium, he advised: "In their struggle for the ethical good, teachers of religion must have the stature to give up the doctrine of a personal God, that is, give up that source of fear and hope which in the past placed such vast power in the hands of priests. In their labors they will have to avail themselves of those forces which are capable of cultivating the Good, the True, and the Beautiful in humanity itself. This is, to be sure a more difficult but an incomparably more worthy task . . . " ("Science, Philosophy and Religion, A Symposium," published by the Conference on Science, Philosophy and Religion in their Relation to the Democratic Way of Life, Inc., New York, 1941). In a letter to philosopher Eric Gutkind, dated Jan. 3, 1954, Einstein stated: "The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this," (The Guardian, "Childish superstition: Einstein's letter makes view of religion relatively clear," by James Randerson, May 13, 2008). D. 1955.
While best known for his mass–energy equivalence formula E = mc2 (which has been dubbed "the world's most famous equation"), he received the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics "for his services to theoretical physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect". The latter was pivotal in establishing quantum theory.
Einstein thought that Newtonion mechanics was no longer enough to reconcile the laws of classical mechanics with the laws of the electromagnetic field. This led to the development of his special theory of relativity. He realized, however, that the principle of relativity could also be extended to gravitational fields, and with his subsequent theory of gravitation in 1916, he published a paper on the general theory of relativity. He continued to deal with problems of statistical mechanics and quantum theory, which led to his explanations of particle theory and the motion of molecules. He also investigated the thermal properties of light which laid the foundation of the photon theory of light.
He was visiting the United States when Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933 and did not go back to Germany. On the eve of World War II, he endorsed a letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt alerting him to the potential development of "extremely powerful bombs of a new type" and recommending that the U.S. begin similar research. This eventually led to what would become the Manhattan Project. Einstein supported defending the Allied forces, but largely denounced the idea of using the newly discovered nuclear fission as a weapon. Later, with Bertrand Russell, Einstein signed the Russell–Einstein Manifesto, which highlighted the danger of nuclear weapons. Einstein was affiliated with the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, until his death in 1955.
His great intellectual achievements and originality have made the word "Einstein" synonymous with genius.