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It's About Time

Understanding Einstein's Relativity

N. David Mermin



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Princeton University Pres
09 March 2021
Relativity ought to be an important part of everyone’s education. Its subject is time, with which we all think we are familiar. Einstein’s special theory of relativity reveals that some of our most intuitive notions about time are shockingly wrong. This clear, lively, and informal exposition of special relativity takes a highly original approach to introduce readers to the true nature of time. It is accessible to anyone who remembers a little high school algebra and elementary geometry. It’s About Time offers deep insights to curious readers who have no technical scientific background.
Imprint:   Princeton University Pres
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 216mm,  Width: 140mm, 
ISBN:   9780691218779
ISBN 10:   0691218773
Pages:   208
Publication Date:  
Audience:   Professional and scholarly ,  College/higher education ,  Undergraduate ,  Primary
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

N. David Mermin is the Horace White Professor of Physics Emeritus at Cornell University. His books include Boojums All the Way Through and Why Quark Rhymes with Pork.

Reviews for It's About Time: Understanding Einstein's Relativity

It's About Time is a book that should join the very best systematic popular expositions of science written in the last 50 years.---Peter L. Galison, American Scientist An excellent book on Einstein's special theory of relativity. . . . I clearly see the strength of this book in lucid, self-contained, lively, down-to-earth, and meticulous presentation. . . . I have no hesitation in saying that this is the best book on the special theory of relativity at a semi-popular level I have ever read.---K. S. Birbhadra, The Observatory In this highly readable book, Mermin argues that a working knowledge of relativity requires no more than basic algebra and geometry. He makes a valid point. Special relativity is more fundamental, up-to-date and accurate than Newtonian physics, and Einstein's presence in the classroom may inspire the most uninterested student.---Amanda Gefter, New Scientist Mermin has taught relativity for 40 years and has clearly thought about the best way to teach the subject. It's About Time offers a serious, yet accessible approach to relativity.---Kara shane Colley, MAA Reviews Mermin's premise is that everyone should know about relativity in order to understand the real nature of time. . . . What is remarkable in his approach is his reliance on developing the reader's skills to analyze events in more than one frame of reference. This is the key to understanding relativity: being able to translate with ease from one frame of reference (a moving train) to another (a station).---Simon Mitton, Times Higher Education Supplement Requiring nothing more than a basic understanding of algebra, [this book] provides the clearest and most insightful treatment of special relativity I've ever encountered. . . . It's About Time brings the practice and foundation of physics together through the question of time.---Arkady Plotnitsky, Foundations of Physics The reader will find some of the best non-technical description of the special theory of relativity ever written.---Jaume J. Carot, Mathematical Reviews There's a profound difference between knowing about something, and knowing it, and Mermin succeeds at instilling the latter.---Gilbert Taylor, Booklist This is a book full of insight with an engaging style. I recommend it to anyone who has to teach the subject to either [non scientists or undergraduate and graduate students]: it's a brilliant basis for a set of lecture notes.---Derek Raine, Nature What makes the book as a whole so enjoyable to read is the steady pace at which the subject unfolds. The author spends as much time on each idea as he considers necessary. . . . Nowhere is the book too intense, and the learning curve for readers has a fairly constant slope. . . . David Mermin [is] a master teacher at work--and instructors will almost certainly include some of the ideas in their own teaching.---Nigel Dowrick, Physics Today

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