My Goodreads Review
rating: 4 of 5 stars
Students studying physics are likely to find that special relativity is often relegated to a brief mention in their electromagnetism and mechanics courses, yet never fully treated on its own. Even for the self-motivated learner, there’s a disappointing gap between special relativity as presented in popular science literature and the general relativity textbooks used in university courses. Spacetime Physics fills that gap.
Taylor and Wheeler offer a quirky approach to Einstein’s theory of special relativity that is full of analogies, examples, and interesting problems. There are two features of this book that are appalling to some and yet to others (like me) were key reasons I enjoyed it.
First, much of the learning is done through solving problems. If you simply read the text sections, you’ll completely miss a vast portion of the content of this book. This is a great feature for the self-motivated learner, but not-so-much for someone just looking to pass a class that touches on special relativity. Though most answers are not provided, Taylor and Wheeler also guide the reader through many of the exercises, offering plenty of insights into problem-solving and neat physical effects of relativity.
Second, this book is peppered with analogies and stories. If you’ve been milked on the teet of Landau& Lifshcitz and are appalled by a superfluous word or (*gasp*) humor in your textbook, then look elsewhere. But if you truly enjoy physics and can appreciate the authors’ use of creative parallels and mind play, then you’ll bask in the originality of this gem.
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