What is Relativity?

March 6, 2014 non-fiction, Science 11

17938849Title: What is Relativity?
Author: Jeffrey Bennett
Source: from publisher for review
Rating: ★★★★☆
Review Summary: I was shocked by how well the author made complicated ideas intuitive and understandable.

This is a primer on the basic ideas of relativity. It includes great, illustrative cartoons and very little math. The author addresses many of the misconceptions people might have about concepts related to relativity because of pop culture and introduces some surprising ways relativity affects our daily lives.

Even though relativity is a topic I’ve been interested in since high school, I learned fascinating new facts from this book. The author made incredibly complex and counterintuitive concepts simple. He started with facts that made sense to me and built on them to make the odder results of relativity make sense too. I liked that he revisited the same thought experiments over and over. This made me comfortable with the ideas and helped me learn.

I liked that the author talked about the implications of relativity for our daily lives. He made a pretty convincing argument for why we should all care about the concepts he teaches here. I also loved that he taught the scientific method as he went. I think this is a book that would be perfect for introductory physics classes. It’s easy to follow and  could inspire students to become interested in the topic.



11 Responses to “What is Relativity?”

  1. Melissa W.

    The sign of a good teacher is somebody who can explain something that is fairly complicated in terms that most people will understand. Sounds like it was a good read.

    • DoingDewey

      I agree! This author used to be a professor and it sounds as though he does a lot of teaching younger students now. Based on this book, I’m sure he’s excellent at it 🙂

    • DoingDewey

      This is a fantastic book for someone new to the topic. I actually found this a surprisingly easy read which went by almost as quickly as YA fiction does for me. I’d recommend it 🙂

  2. Sophie

    So I finally got a chance to write out my thoughts for this book! I really liked the first half of the book because of the graphics and the thought experiments as you’ve stated here, but I had a total burn-out during the second half… the physics got to me, and I actually lost interest in the repetitive thought experiments after a while. I’m still waiting for The Physics Book that will make me not hate physics, haha.

    • DoingDewey

      I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy this as much as I did, but I thought your review was great. It’s always fun to get another blogger’s perspective on a book you’ve read 🙂

  1. Weekly Paper (21) | Paper Breathers

    […] @ Doing Dewey read What Is Relativity? by Jeffrey Bennett and was “shocked by how well the author made complicated ideas intuitive and […]

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