Relativity for Everyone

How Space-Time Bends

by

This book explains the theory of special and general relativity in detail, without digressions such as information on Einstein's life or the historical background. However, complicated calculations are replaced with figures and thought experiments, the text being formulated in such a way that the reader will be able to understand the gist intuitively. The first part of the book focuses on the essentials of special relativity. Explanations are provided of the famous equivalence between mass and energy and of why Einstein was able to use the theory of electrodynamics as a template for his "electrodynamics of moving bodies", simply because besides the speed of light, the electric charge itself is also absolute, leading to the relativity of other physical quantities. General relativity is then introduced, mainly with the help of thought experiments. Reference is made to the previously introduced special relativity and the equivalence principle and, using many figures, it is explained how space-time is bending under gravity. The climax of the book comes with the Einstein equations of gravity that describe the way in which matter bends space-time. The reader is shown how to obtain the famous Schwarzschild solution. There follows a numerically correct and yet intuitive explanation of the classic effects such as light bending or the movement of the perihelion. The book concludes by explaining the Friedmann model of the big bang and why the theory of gravity does not fit with quantum theory.

  • Springer International Publishing; July 2013
  • ISBN 9783319005874
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF format
  • Title: Relativity for Everyone
  • Author: Kurt Fischer
  • Imprint: Springer

About The Author

Kurt Fischer was born in Kleve in Germany near the Dutch border. He undertook undergraduate studies in physics and mathematics at Technical University RWTH Aachen, and graduated from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ETH Zurich in physics and mathematics. He then obtained a PhD in physics from Stuttgart University and performed postgraduate studies at the Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research in Stuttgart and the Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems in Dresden. Dr. Fischer subsequently had research stays at the University of Tokyo and the Mitsubishi Research Institute in Tokyo. He is currently Professor for Mathematics and Physics at the Tokuyama College of Technology in Japan.