Relativity : the Special and General Theory by Albert Einstein

RelativityToday’s Gutenberg Gem is Albert Einstein’s Relativity : the Special and General Theory. The author himself describes it thusly in the Preface:

The present book is intended, as far as possible, 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 work presumes a standard of education corresponding to that of a university matriculation examination, and, despite the shortness of the book, a fair amount of patience and force of will on the part of the reader. The author has spared himself no pains in his endeavour to present the main ideas in the simplest and most intelligible form, and on the whole, in the sequence and connection in which they actually originated. In the interest of clearness, it appeared to me inevitable that I should repeat myself frequently, without paying the slightest attention to the elegance of the presentation. I adhered scrupulously to the precept of that brilliant theoretical physicist L. Boltzmann, according to whom matters of elegance ought to be left to the tailor and to the cobbler. I make no pretence of having withheld from the reader difficulties which are inherent to the subject. On the other hand, I have purposely treated the empirical physical foundations of the theory in a “step-motherly” fashion, so that readers unfamiliar with physics may not feel like the wanderer who was unable to see the forest for the trees. May the book bring some one a few happy hours of suggestive thought!


And indeed, I find his plain writing style to be remarkably easy to read. If you are interested in relativity, I also have a couple of dead tree books on my shelf. The most easily accessible book I have is Martin Gardner’s Relativity Simply Explained. What can I say: Gardner was one of my greatest influences as a young lad, and his Mathematical Games column did a great deal to fuel my interest in mathematics, an interest which continues to this day. The book I read as a grade school student as Bertrand Russell’s ABC’s of Relativity, which I remember being quite accessible, even while I was in my early teens. Both are good, and are highly recommended.

My Memories of the Game…

The drubbing of the Oakland A’s at the hands of the Boston Red Sox did two positive things: it reminded me that a great duel between Pedro Martinez and Tim Hudson is yet to come, and it reminded me of another terrific game which happened Labor Day weekend two years ago.

Retrosheet Boxscore: Oakland Athletics 12, Kansas City Royals 11 The A’s were trying for their record 20th victory in a row, and they started out strong, scoring six, one and four runs in the first three innings to jump out to an 11-0 lead. But the A’s would then go scoreless for five more innings, and the Royals came back to score five in the 4th and in the eighth to trail by only a single run. Going into the ninth, the Royals would tie the game, and it looked like extra innings. But with nobody on and one out, they pinch hit Scott Hatteberg for Eric Byrnes, and Hatteberg hits a walk off home run to win the game.

Now that’s baseball.

Another Zoo Pic

MeerkatHere is another picture from my weekend zoo excursion. Surprisingly, these little guys have proven to be very hard to photograph, largely because they blend into the background so my autofocus fails with disturbing regularity. This is probably the best of the batch that I took this weekend, but the focus is a teeny bit soft. Someday I’m going to have to trade in my Nikon 4300 for something different.