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Sidelights on Relativity

Albert Einstein

Book Overview: 

Sidelights on Relativity contains ETHER AND THE THEORY OF RELATIVITY, an address delivered on May 5th, 1920, in the University of Leyden; and GEOMETRY AND EXPERIENCE, an expanded form of an address to the Prussian Academy of Sciences in Berlin on January 27th, 1921.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Newton's mechanics was shaken by the experiments with beta-rays and rapid kathode rays.

This dualism still confronts us in unextenuated form in the theory of Hertz, where matter appears not only as the bearer of velocities, kinetic energy, and mechanical pressures, but also as the bearer of electromagnetic fields. Since such fields also occur in vacuo—i.e. in free ether—the ether also appears as bearer of electromagnetic fields. The ether appears indistinguishable in its functions from ordinary matter. Within matter it takes part in the motion of matter and in empty space it has everywhere a velocity; so that the ether has a definitely assigned velocity throughout the whole of space. There is no fundamental difference between Hertz's ether and ponderable matter (which in part subsists in the ether).

The Hertz theory suffered not only from the defect of ascribing to matter and ether, on the one hand mechanical states, and on the othe. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Comprised of two lectures delivered at the University of Leyden (1920) and the Prussian Academy of Sciences (1921),
Sidelights on Relativity is probably best served to gluttons. (I count myself among them.) "Ether and Relativity" is his rebuttal of the idea of a universal "ether" through which...more

Short but very interesting and surprisingly clear! It really brings out Einstein's ability to explain difficult concepts in a way which pretty much confirms one of his quotes:

"If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself."

(At least I think he really said it, you can...more

The essays were a bit hard to understand, especially the first one where Einstein talked about the idea of the "luminiferous ether" which is no longer accepted today. But I had read Carl Sagan's explanation of it (and of Maxwell's Electromagnetic Theory) in both Cosmos and The Demon-Haunted World...more

An exceptional historic document composed of two distinct addresses by Albert Einstein.

Firstly, recounting the stumbling of Physical Science from Newton's theory to his own: the intrinsic relation of matter and energy; and how the influence of problems derived from Hertz's investigations in elect...more

Ngulang 2 kali, cuma paham dikit

Fascinating. Two thoughts

1. It is impossible to approach science without philosophy. They aren't interchangeable, but they are inseparable.

2. The theory of general relativity, statistically speaking, is something we are more mathematically certain of than anything else in the world.

Another audiobook listened to in the lab. It was like getting a lecture from Einstein himself, but read by someone else.

I explored this with the feelings that I am reading Albert Einstein's point of view. It holds true in being as concrete as much as his work bares to be. A masterful work translated here to help undestand what or why his belief in relativity is and written in a modernist simple terms using physics...more

The man was a genius and probably a bit insane, but this was an interesting read!

If you want to know anything about the basics of relativity, Einstein's pretty much the only one to read. He brings an unusual and remarkable clarity to his own work without grandstanding.

This short bit combines two lectures from the early 1920s answering some of the inherent queries on his recen...more

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