Einstein's Relativity

Guide to the Cosmos

Making the Wonders of our Universe

Accessible to Everyone

Robert L. Piccioni, Ph.D.

Einstein's Theories of Relativity

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Albert Einstein’s theories of special and general relativity are the most profound revolution in science in over 200 years. Einstein’s theories forever changed our concepts of space, time, atoms, light, gravity, mass, motion, and the universe itself. For physicists, that’s about all there is.

Sir Isaac Newton published Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica in 1687, establishing physics as a rigorous, rational, achievement of human intellect. Newton’s laws of motion and gravity are comprehensive and mathematically perfect. They explained every physical phenomenon that anyone had ever observed, and provided numerical predictions that were more precise than anyone could measure. Newton’s theories were the greatest advance in science in at least 2000 years, if not the greatest ever.

Unfortunately, nature is more complex than Newton imagined. By the beginning of the 20th Century, several puzzles eluded solution.

In 1905, Einstein published his theory of special relativity, supplanting Newton’s law of motion, and refuting his concepts of space, time, and simultaneity. This forever changed our concepts of reality.
In 1915, Einstein published his theory of general relativity, supplanting Newton’s law of gravity. Einstein opened our eyes to our wondrous universe as it truly is. General relativity again shattered our concepts of reality, and revealed the secrets of black holes, gravitational waves, and the expansion of the cosmos.

My goal is to reach as many eager readers as possible, and bring Einstein’s genius to a wider audience. For those who were reluctant to face that challenge, this book is for you. I make Einstein’s theories easier to understand, without watering down his brilliant insights.

As an aid to students, I provide every step in every derivation of every prediction of Einstein’s theories of both special and general relativity.

Physics is one of the greatest adventures of the human mind, but with adventure comes challenge. While I strive to make this adventure as easy as possible, special and general relativity will be two of the greatest intellectually challenges of your entire life. Give it your very best, and you will be rewarded.

Enjoy Exploring!
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The topics we explore in this book include:

  • Gravitational Waves, Theory and Observation
  • What E = m c2 Really Means
  • The Nature of Light
  • Why Time and Distance are Relative
  • Why Mass is a Form of Energy
  • What is Relative and What is Not
  • Twin Paradox and Other Fun Puzzles
  • Gravity Acting on Starlight
  • Einstein’s Equivalence Principle
  • Elementary Particle Physics
  • Expansion of the Universe and Dark Energy
  • Black Holes, Simple and Complex
  • Relativistic Astrophysics and Space Travel
  • Einstein’s Field Equations of General Relativity
  • Galileo and Relativity
  • Kepler’s Laws of Planetary Motion
  • Newton’s Laws of Motion and Universal Gravity
  • Four-Dimensional Spacetime
  • Motion in Curved Spacetime
  • Gravitational Time Dilation
  • Tensor Calculus, everything you need to know
  • Precession of Mercury
  • Hulse-Taylor Binary Pulsar
  • Linearized General Relativity in Weak Gravity
  • … and much more