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Einstein's Masterwork: 1915 and the General Theory of Relativity

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One of the world's most celebrated science writers reveals the origins of Einstein's General Theory—and provides a greater understanding of who Einstein was at the time of this pivotal achievement.

In 1915, Albert Einstein presented his masterwork to the Prussian Academy of Sciences—a theory of gravity, matter, space and time: the General Theory of Relativity. Einstein himself said it was “the most valuable theory of my life,” and “of incomparable beauty.” It describes the evolution of the universe, black holes, the behavior of orbiting neutron stars, and why clocks run slower on the surface of the earth than in space. It even suggests the possibility of time travel.

And yet when we think of Einstein's breakthrough year, we think instead of 1905, the year of Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity and his equation E=mc2, as his annus mirabilis, even though the Special Theory has a narrower focus.

Today the General Theory is overshadowed by these achievements, regarded as 'too difficult' for ordinary mortals to comprehend. In Einstein's Masterwork, John Gribbin puts Einstein's astonishing breakthrough in the context of his life and work, and makes it clear why his greatest year was indeed 1915 and his General Theory his true masterpiece.

From Publishers Weekly

Jul 25, 2016 – Contrary to widespread belief that 1905 was Einstein's most important year, British astrophysicist and science writer Gribbin (13.8: The Quest to Find the True Age of the Universe and the Theory of Everything) posits that 1915, the year that Einstein published his general theory of relativity, holds much more historical and scientific importance. Leading up to this argument, Gribbin describes Einstein's life, mingling personal events with his work, and successfully humanizing the iconic image of the scientist, describing him more as "a cross between God and Harpo Marx." Gribbin tells the sad fate of Einstein's first marriage from both sides and describes Einstein's social interactions within the wider international physics world. Einstein's work might not have been recognized as revolutionary if not for the support of respected scientists such as Max Planck and Einstein's old friend Marcel Grossmann. Despite Gribbin's claim, he devotes the book's longest chapter to the excitement surrounding the special theory of relativity in 1905. When Gribbin finally arrives at 1915, instead of making the case that it was Einstein's true annus mirabilis, he points out that those who came before Einstein laid the groundwork for the idea of a curvature of space-time. The book's primary virtue is Gribbin's clear explanations of Einstein's theories, which can be understood by those lacking an extensive background in math or science. Illus.
Einstein's Masterwork: 1915 and the General Theory of Relativity
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  • $9.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Physics
  • Published: Sep 06, 2016
  • Publisher: Pegasus Books
  • Seller: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.
  • Print Length: 240 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: This book can only be viewed on an iOS device with Apple Books on iOS 12 or later, iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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