On Relativity – Einstein, Eddington, Minkowski, Lorentz, Weyl

S$238.00

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On Relativity – Einstein, Eddington, Minkowski, Lorentz, Weyl

S$238.00

Title: ON RELATIVITY: SPACE TIME AND GRAVITATION (1921) + THE PRINCIPLE OF RELATIVITY (1923 English translation)
Author: A.S. Eddington, A. Einstein, H.A Lorentz, H. Minkowski, and H. Weyl
ISBN: –
Publisher: Gryphon Classics of Science Library, 1999. P

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Title: ON RELATIVITY: SPACE TIME AND GRAVITATION (1921) + THE PRINCIPLE OF RELATIVITY (1923 English translation)
Author: A.S. Eddington, A. Einstein, H.A Lorentz, H. Minkowski, and H. Weyl
ISBN: –
Publisher: Gryphon Classics of Science Library, 1999. Privately printed, impossibly rare, out of print.
Condition: Hardcover, deep blue leather with raised bands, gilt on boards, spine and edges. Like new, almost flawless.

Exact facsimile of A.S. Eddington’s ON RELATIVITY: SPACE TIME AND GRAVITATION (1921) together with THE PRINCIPLE OF RELATIVITY (1923 English translation) by A. Einstein, H.A Lorentz, H. Minkowski, and H. Weyl. Bound in genuine leather with hubbed spines, gold stamping, gilded page edges, and marbelized end sheets.

PREFACE

By his theory of relativity Albert Einstein has provoked a
revolution of thought in physical science.

The achievement consists essentially in this: — Einstein has
succeeded in separating far more completely than hitherto the
share of the observer and the share of external nature in the
things we see happen. The perception of an object by an observer
depends on his own situation and circumstances; for example,
distance will make it appear smaller and dimmer. We make
allowance for this almost unconsciously in interpreting what we
see. But it now appears that the allowance made for the motion
of the observer has hitherto been too crude — a fact overlooked
because in practice all observers share nearly the same motion,
that of the earth. Physical space and time are found to be
closely bound up with this motion of the observer; and only an
amorphous combination of the two is left inherent in the external
world. When space and time are relegated to their proper source
— the observer — the world of nature which remains appears
strangely unfamiliar; but it is in reality simplified, and the
underljang unity of the principal phenomena is’ now clearly
revealed. The deductions from this new outlook have, with one
doubtful exception, been confirmed when tested by experiment.

It is my aim to give an account of this work without intro-
ducing anything very technical in the way of mathematics,
physics, or philosophy. The new view of space and time, so
opposed to our habits of thought, must in any case demand
unusual mental exercise. The results appear strange; and the
incongruity is not without a humorous side. For the first nine
chapters the task is one of interpreting a clear-cut theory,
accepted in all its essentials by a large and growing school of
physicists — although perhaps not everyone would accept the
author’s views of its meaning. Chapters x and xi deal with
very recent advances, with regard to which opinion is more
fluid. As for the last chapter, containing the author’s specula-
tions on the meaning of nature, since it touches on the rudiments
of a philosophical system, it is perhaps too sanguine to hope that
it can ever be other than controversial.

A non-mathematical presentation has necessary limitations;
and the reader who wishes to learn how certain exact results
follow from Einstein’s , or even Newton’s, law of gravitation is
bound to seek the reasons in a mathematical treatise. But this
limitation of range is perhaps less serious than the limitation of
intrinsic truth. There is a relativity of truth, as there is a
relativity of space. —

“For IS and is-not though with Rule and Line
And UP-AND-DOWN without, I could define.”

Alas ! It is not so simple. We abstract from the phenomena that
which is peculiar to the position and motion of the observer;
but can we abstract that which is peculiar to the limited imagina-
tion of the human brain? We think we can, but only in the
symbolism of mathematics. As the language of a poet rings with
a truth that eludes the clumsy explanations of his commentators,
so the geometry of relativity in its perfect harmony expresses a
truth of form and type in nature, which my bowdlerised version
misses.

But. the mind is not content to leave scientific Truth in a dry
husk of mathematical symbols, and demands that it shall be
alloyed with familiar images. The mathematician, who handles
X so lightly, may fairly be asked to state, not indeed the in-
scrutable meaning of x in nature, but the meaning which x
conveys to him.

Although primarily designed for readers without technical
knowledge of the subject, it is hoped that the book may also
appeal to those who have gone into the subject more deeply.
A few notes have been added in the Appendix mainly to bridge
the gap between this and more mathematical treatises, and to
indicate the points of contact between the argument in the text
and the parallel analytical investigation.

It is impossible adequately to express my debt to con-
temporary literature and discussion. The writings of Einstein,
Minkowski, Hilbert, Lorentz, Weyl, Robb, and others, have
provided the groundwork; in the give and take of debate with
friends and correspondents, the extensive ramifications have
gradually appeared.