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This undergraduate text takes the reader along the trail of light from Newton's particles to Einstein's relativity. Like the best detective stories, it presents clues and encourages the reader to draw conclusions before the answers are revealed. The first seven chapters describe how light behaves, develop Newton's particle theory, introduce waves and an electromagnetic wave theory of light, discover the photon, and culminate in the wave-particle duality. The book then goes on to develop the special theory of relativity, showing how time dilation and length contraction are consequences of the two simple principles on which the theory is founded. An extensive chapter derives the equation E = mc2 clearly from first principles and then explores its consequences and the misconceptions surrounding it. That most famous of issues arising from special relativity - the aging of the twins - is treated simply but compellingly.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780521423236
ISBN-10: 0521423236
Format: Paperback
(247mm x 174mm x 18mm)
Pages: 348
Imprint: Cambridge University Press
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publish Date: 16-Aug-2001
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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Author Biography - Ralph Baierlein

RALPH BAIERLEIN received his PhD from Princeton University; his thirty seven years of classroom teaching were spent at Harvard and at Wesleyan University, Connecticut. He has published papers in astrophysics, cosmology and relativity theory. For eight years he served as book review editor of the American Journal of Physics, and has written many papers related to the teaching of physics. In 1996 he was elected a fellow of the American Physical Society.

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