Early in this century, it was shown that the new non-Newtonian physics — known as Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity — rested on a new, non-Euclidean geometry, which incorporated time and space into a unified "chronogeometric" structure. This high-level study elucidates the motivation and significance of the changes in physical geometry brought about by Einstein, in both the first and the second phase of Relativity.
After a discussion of Newtonian principles and 19th-century views on electrodynamics and the aether, the author offers illuminating expositions of Einstein's electrodynamics of moving bodies, Minkowski spacetime, Einstein's quest for a theory of gravity, gravitational geometry, the concept of simultaneity, time and causality and other topics. An important Appendix — designed to define spacetime curvature — considers differentiable manifolds, fiber bundles, linear connections and useful formulae.
Relativity continues to be a major focus of interest for physicists, mathematicians and philosophers of science. This highly regarded work offers them a rich, "historico-critical" exposition — emphasizing geometrical ideas — of the elements of the Special and General Theory of Relativity.
Roberto Torretti: In Praise of Dover
Robert Torretti was born in Chile in 1930 and received his PhD from the University of Freiberg in 1954. Professor Emeritus of the University of Puerto Rico and the University of Chile, he is now a Fellow of the Institut International de Philosophie. A prominent author on the history and philosophy of science, his books include The Philosophy of Physics (Cambridge, 1999) and Creative Understanding (The University of Chicago Press, 1990). Dover reprinted his Relativity and Geometry in 1996.
In the Author's Own Words:
"I first ran across Dover books in the 1950s as I browsed the shelves of a small bookshop in Santiago de Chile: clearly printed, firmly bound classics of science at incredibly affordable prices. I immediately realized their significance for a Third World would-be philosopher of science trying to make ends meet with a salary — or was it still my student's allowance? — eroded by chronic two-digit inflation.
"Since then, I have remained a devout buyer and reader of Dover books. Early on, I acquired three books which would be decisive for my subsequent research: Felix Klein's Elementary Mathematics from an Advanced Standpoint, Roberto Bonola's Non-Euclidean Geometry, and Hans Reichenbach's The Philosophy of Space and Time. I still keep them, as I do my copies of Campbell's Foundations of Science, and Lindsay and Margenau's Foundations of Physics, which secured me a philosophically solid approach to the field. Though profusely underlined and worn on the outside from too much handling, these books printed over half a century ago do not otherwise show any signs of their age.
"Naturally, I almost burst from pride when a book of mine was added to the Dover catalog in 1996." — Roberto Torretti, PhD, Dhc
Critical Acclaim for Relativity and Geometry:
"It is only rarely that historians and philosophers of science have the opportunity to welcome a work of the outstanding caliber of Torretti's Relativity and Geometry. It is distinguished by the tenacity of its scholarship and the uncompromising rigor of its exposition." — Foundations of Physics
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