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. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly.
Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Russell Stannard is Emeritus Professor of Physics at The Open University where for 21 years he headed the Physics Department. A high energy nuclear physicist, he has carried out research at CERN and Geneva, as well as other laboratories in the USA and Europe. Among his awards he has the OBE, he received the Bragg Medal from the Institute of Physics, and been made Fellow of University College London. A prolific writer for both adults and children, his books are translated into 20 languages and have been shortlisted for many scientific book prizes. He is perhaps best known for his Uncle Albert books which explain relativity and quantum mechanics for young people.
1. Special relativity ; The Principle of Relativity and the speed of light ; Time dilation ; The Twin Paradox ; Length contraction ; Loss of simultaneity ; Space-time diagrams ; Four-dimensional spacetime ; The ultimate speed ; E=mc2 ; 2. General Relativity ; The Equivalence Principle ; The effects on time of acceleration and gravity ; The bending of light ; Curved space ; Black holes ; Gravitational Waves ; The Universe ; FURTHER READING ; INDEX