A comprehensive summary of progress made during the past decade on the theory of black holes and relativistic stars, this collection includes discussion of structure and oscillations of relativistic stars, the use of gravitational radiation detectors, observational evidence for black holes, cosmic censorship, numerical work related to black hole collisions, the internal structure of black holes, black hole thermodynamics, information loss and other issues related to the quantum properties of black holes, and recent developments in the theory of black holes in the context of string theory.
Volume contributors: Valeria Ferrari, John L. Friedman, James B. Hartle, Stephen W. Hawking, Gary T. Horowitz, Werner Israel, Roger Penrose, Martin J. Rees, Rafael D. Sorkin, Saul A. Teukolsky, Kip S. Thorne, and Robert M. Wald.
This is the first extensive study in English or Chinese of China's reception of the celebrated physicist and his theory of relativity. In a series of biographical studies of Chinese physicists, Hu describes the Chinese assimilation of relativity and explains how Chinese physicists offered arguments and theories of their own. Hu's account concludes with the troubling story of the fate of foreign ideas such as Einstein's in the Chinese Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), when the theory of relativity was denigrated along with Einstein's ideas on democracy and world peace.
Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity describes the effect of gravitation on the shape of space and the flow of time. But for more than four decades after its publication, the theory remained largely a curiosity for scientists; however accurate it seemed, Einstein’s mathematical code—represented by six interlocking equations—was one of the most difficult to crack in all of science. That is, until a twenty-nine-year-old Cambridge graduate solved the great riddle in 1963. Roy Kerr’s solution emerged coincidentally with the discovery of black holes that same year and provided fertile testing ground—at long last—for general relativity. Today, scientists routinely cite the Kerr solution, but even among specialists, few know the story of how Kerr cracked Einstein’s code.
Fulvio Melia here offers an eyewitness account of the events leading up to Kerr’s great discovery. Cracking the Einstein Code vividly describes how luminaries such as Karl Schwarzschild, David Hilbert, and Emmy Noether set the stage for the Kerr solution; how Kerr came to make his breakthrough; and how scientists such as Roger Penrose, Kip Thorne, and Stephen Hawking used the accomplishment to refine and expand modern astronomy and physics. Today more than 300 million supermassive black holes are suspected of anchoring their host galaxies across the cosmos, and the Kerr solution is what astronomers and astrophysicists use to describe much of their behavior.
By unmasking the history behind the search for a real world solution to Einstein’s field equations, Melia offers a first-hand account of an important but untold story. Sometimes dramatic, often exhilarating, but always attuned to the human element, Cracking the Einstein Code is ultimately a showcase of how important science gets done.
For Einstein, 1905 was a remarkable year. It was also a miraculous year for the history and future of science. In six short months, he published five papers that would transform our understanding of nature. This unparalleled period is the subject of Rigden's book, which deftly explains what distinguishes 1905 from all other years in the annals of science, and elevates Einstein above all other scientists of the twentieth century.
Why do we celebrate Einstein’s era above all other epochs in the history of physics? Much of the history of physics at the beginning of the twentieth century has been written with a sharp focus on a few key figures and a handful of notable events. Einstein’s Generation offers a distinctive new approach to the origins of modern physics by exploring both the material culture that stimulated relativity and the reaction of Einstein’s colleagues to his pioneering work.
Richard Staley weaves together the diverse strands of experimental and theoretical physics, commercial instrument making, and the sociology of physics around 1900 to present the collective efforts of a group whose work helped set the stage for Einstein’s revolutionary theories and the transition from classical to modern physics that followed. Collecting papers, talks, catalogues, conferences, and correspondence, Staley juxtaposes scientists’ views of relativity at the time to modern accounts of its history. Einstein’s Generation tells the story of a group of individuals which produced some of the most significant advances of the twentieth century; and challenges our celebration of Einstein’s era above all others.
This book follows the interplay between allegory and physics in Europe from the inception of the laws of thermodynamics in the 1850s to the cultural acceptance of the theory of relativity in the 1920s. Bruce Clarke delves into the cultural poetics of this emergence, as well as using allegory theory to link the literature of that era to the consolidation of modern physics in England. In his examination of these correlating topics the author displays not only an impressive grasp on the scientific climate of that era, but also comprehensive knowledge of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century literature.
The book begins with an overview of the interconnections between allegory in literature and allegory in science, then analyzes the interaction between energy and entropy and their personification in the literature of the times. Energy Forms draws on the writing of well-known literary and scientific authors including H. G. Wells, Camille Flammarion, Charles Howard Hinton and D. H. Lawrence, among others. The focus then shifts to the broad cultural tension between thermodynamic malaise and electromagnetic aspiration. Energy Forms uncovers the works of important but overlooked authors in the fields of science and literature and will appeal especially to those who are intrigued by interdisciplinary studies.
Bruce Clarke is Professor of English,Texas Tech University. He is the author of Dora Marsden and Early Modernism: Gender, Individualism, Science; Allegories of Writing: The Subject of Metamorphosis; and editor of The Body and the Text: Comparative Essays in Literature and Medicine.
Fritzsch offers readers the opportunity to listen in on a meeting of Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, and a present-day physicist. While he introduces the theory of relativity, Fritzsch teaches its sources, its workings, and the ways it has revolutionized our view of the physical world. An Equation That Changed the World dramatizes the importance of relativity, for the human race, and the survival of our planet.
"Fritzsch could not give the modern reader a more memorable introduction to the personalities and science of Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein unless somehow he could find the keys to H. G. Wells' time machine. . . . Many readers will applaud Fritzsch for this lively but profoundly insightful book." —Booklist, starred review
"[Fritzsch] has dreamed up a dialogue between the two great physicists, helped along by a fictional modern physicist. . . . The conversation builds up to an explanation of E=mc2, and on the way illuminates the important points where Newtonian and Einsteinian theory diverge." —David Lindley, New York Times Book Review
Robert M. Wald University of Chicago Press, 1984 Library of Congress QC173.6.W35 1984 | Dewey Decimal 530.11
"Wald's book is clearly the first textbook on general relativity with a totally modern point of view; and it succeeds very well where others are only partially successful. The book includes full discussions of many problems of current interest which are not treated in any extant book, and all these matters are considered with perception and understanding."—S. Chandrasekhar
"A tour de force: lucid, straightforward, mathematically rigorous, exacting in the analysis of the theory in its physical aspect."—L. P. Hughston, Times Higher Education Supplement
"Truly excellent. . . . A sophisticated text of manageable size that will probably be read by every student of relativity, astrophysics, and field theory for years to come."—James W. York, Physics Today
"This beautiful little book is certainly suitable for anyone who has had an introductory course in physics and even for some who have not."—Joshua N. Goldberg, Physics Today
"An imaginative and convincing new presentation of Einstein's theory of general relativity. . . . The treatment is masterful, continual emphasis being placed on careful discussion and motivation, with the aim of showing how physicists think and develop their ideas."—Choice
Ron Cowen offers a sweeping account of the century of experimentation that has consistently confirmed Einstein’s general theory of relativity. He shows how we got from Eddington’s pivotal observations of the 1919 eclipse to the Event Horizon Telescope, aimed at starlight wrapping around the black hole at our galaxy’s center.
In this ambitious work, Fred Weinstein confronts the obstacles that have increasingly frustrated our attempts to explain social and historical reality. Traditionally, we have relied on history and social theory to describe the ways people understand the world they live in. But the ordering explanations we have always used—derived from the classical social theories originally forged by Marx, Tocqueville, Weber, Durkheim, Freud—have collapsed.
In the wake of this collapse or "fall," the rival claims of fiction, psychoanalysis, sociology, anthropology, and history have created the dilemma of radical relativism, the prospect of multiple interpretations of any complex historical event. The basic strategy of social theory and the social sciences—the search for underlying unities—proves so inherently contradictory and has provided so little in the way of reliable knowledge of social and historical relationships that to many critics it seems no longer worth pursuing.
Weinstein enters the debate by rejecting any search for underlying structural unities, dynamic or social, through which historians have attempted to find continuity with the past. He looks instead to ideological processes, to the construction of successive and changing versions of reality that mediate between the power of fantasy on the one side and the power of the social world on the other. He argues further that the need to use ideological constructs in this way accounts for the heterogeneous and changing content of social movements and for the persistent need people have always had for authoritative leaders, even in democratized societies. He suggests that people have historically been able to take a step away from leaders only by substituting the possession of objects such as property or money. This book is a breakthrough in poststructuralist theory that is sure to stimulate considerable discussion, especially about the shape of the social sciences and the future of historical interpretation.
A concise introduction to the greatest questions of modern cosmology.
What came before the big bang? How will the universe evolve into the future? Will there be a big crunch? Questions like these have no definitive answers, but there are many contending theories. In A Little Book about the Big Bang, physicist and writer Tony Rothman guides expert and uninitiated readers alike through the most compelling mysteries surrounding the nature and origin of the universe.
Cosmologists are busy these days, actively researching dark energy, dark matter, and quantum gravity, all at the foundation of our understanding of space, time, and the laws governing the universe. Enlisting thoughtful analogies and a step-by-step approach, Rothman breaks down what is known and what isn’t and details the pioneering experimental techniques scientists are bringing to bear on riddles of nature at once utterly basic and stunningly complex. In Rothman’s telling, modern cosmology proves to be an intricate web of theoretical predictions confirmed by exquisitely precise observations, all of which make the theory of the big bang one of the most solid edifices ever constructed in the history of science. At the same time, Rothman is careful to distinguish established physics from speculation, and in doing so highlights current controversies and avenues of future exploration.
The idea of the big bang is now almost a century old, yet with each new year comes a fresh enigma. That is scientific progress in a nutshell: every groundbreaking discovery, every creative explanation, provokes new and more fundamental questions. Rothman takes stock of what we have learned and encourages readers to ponder the mysteries to come.
Relativism is a contested doctrine among philosophers, some of whom regard it as neither true nor false but simply incoherent. As Carol Rovane demonstrates in this tour-de-force, the way to defend relativism is not by establishing its truth but by clarifying its content. The Metaphysics and the Ethics of Relativism elaborates a doctrine of relativism that has a consistent logical, metaphysical, and practical significance. Relativism is worth debating, Rovane contends, because it bears directly on the moral choices we make in our lives.
Rovane maintains that the most compelling conception of relativism is the "alternative intuition." Alternatives are truths that cannot be embraced together because they are not universal. Something other than logical contradiction excludes them. When this is so, logical relations no longer hold among all truth-value-bearers. Some truths will be irreconcilable between individuals even though they are valid in themselves. The practical consequence is that some forms of interpersonal engagement are confined within definite boundaries, and one has no choice but to view what lies beyond those boundaries with "epistemic indifference." In a very real sense, some people inhabit different worlds--true in themselves, but closed off to belief from those who hold irreducibly incompatible truths.
Truth, Christopher Norris reminds us, is very much out of fashion at the moment whether at the hands of politicians, media pundits, or purveyors of postmodern wisdom in cultural and literary studies. Across a range of disciplines the idea has taken hold that truth-talk is either redundant or the product of epistemic might. Questions of truth and falsehood are always internal to some specific language-game; history is just another kind of fiction; philosophy is only a kind of writing; law is a wholly rhetorical practice. In Reclaiming Truth, Norris critiques these fashionable trends of thought and mounts a specific challenge to cultural relativist doctrines in epistemology, philosophy of science, ethics, and political theory. Norris presents his case in a series of closely argued chapters that take issue with the relativist position. He attempts to rehabilitate the value of truth in philosophy of science by restoring a lost distinction between concept and metaphor and argues that theoretical discourse, so far from being an inconsequential activity, has very real consequences, particularly in ethics and politics. This debate has become skewed, he suggests, through the widespread and typically postmodern idea that truth-claims must always go along with a presumptive or authoritarian bid to silence opposing views. On the contrary, there is nothing as dogmatic—or as silencing—as a relativism that acknowledges no shared truth conditions for valid or responsible discourse. Norris also offers a timely reassessment of several thinkers—Althusser and Derrida among them—whose reception history has been distorted by the vagaries of short-term intellectual fashion. Reclaiming Truth will be welcomed by readers concerned with the uses and abuses of theory at a time when such questions are in urgent need of sustained and serious debate.
It has already been called the scientific breakthrough of the century: the detection of gravitational waves. Einstein predicted these tiny ripples in the fabric of spacetime nearly a hundred years ago, but they were never perceived directly until now. Decades in the making, this momentous discovery has given scientists a new understanding of the cataclysmic events that shape the universe and a new confirmation of Einstein’s theory of general relativity. Ripples in Spacetime is an engaging account of the international effort to complete Einstein’s project, capture his elusive ripples, and launch an era of gravitational-wave astronomy that promises to explain, more vividly than ever before, our universe’s structure and origin.
The quest for gravitational waves involved years of risky research and many personal and professional struggles that threatened to derail one of the world’s largest scientific endeavors. Govert Schilling takes readers to sites where these stories unfolded—including Japan’s KAGRA detector, Chile’s Atacama Cosmology Telescope, the South Pole’s BICEP detectors, and the United States’ LIGO labs. He explains the seeming impossibility of developing technologies sensitive enough to detect waves from two colliding black holes in the very distant universe, and describes the astounding precision of the LIGO detectors. Along the way Schilling clarifies concepts such as general relativity, neutron stars, and the big bang using language that readers with little scientific background can grasp.
Ripples in Spacetime provides a window into the next frontiers of astronomy, weaving far-reaching predictions and discoveries into a gripping story of human ambition and perseverance.
A Physics Today Best Book of the Year A Forbes “For the Physics and Astronomy Lover in Your Life” Selection
“Succinct, accessible, and remarkably timely… This book is a rare find.” —Physics Today
“Belongs on the shelf of anyone interested in learning the scientific, historical, and personal stories behind some of the most incredible scientific advances of the 21st century.” —Forbes
The detection of gravitational waves has already been called the scientific breakthrough of the century. Einstein predicted these tiny ripples in the fabric of spacetime over a hundred years ago, but they were only recently perceived directly for the first time. Ripples in Spacetime is an engaging account of the international effort to complete Einstein’s project, capture his elusive ripples, and launch an era of gravitational-wave astronomy that promises to explain, more vividly than ever before, our universe’s structure and origin.
“Schilling’s deliciously nerdy grand tour takes us through compelling backstory, current research, and future expectations.” —Nature
“A lively and readable account… Schilling underlines that this discovery is the opening of a new window on the universe, the beginning of a new branch of science.” —Graham Farmelo, The Guardian
In recent years, many members of the intellectual community have embraced a radical relativism regarding knowledge in general and scientific knowledge in particular, holding that Kuhn, Quine, and Feyerabend have knocked the traditional picture of scientific knowledge into a cocked hat. Is philosophy of science, or mistaken impressions of it, responsible for the rise of relativism? In this book, Laudan offers a trenchant, wide-ranging critique of cognitive relativism and a thorough introduction to major issues in the philosophy of knowledge.
The concept sensus communis—a term that means a great deal more than its English translation “common sense”—has served as a key principle in the theory of knowledge from the ancient Greeks through the Enlightenment philosophers. John D. Schaeffer shows how the seventeenth-century Italian philosopher Giambattista Vico synthesized Greek and Roman ideas of what sensus communis and what this synthesis implies for current discussions of rhetoric and hermeneutics. Arguments for ethical relativism emerge from divisions between sensus communis as an ethical judgment (a concept that Richard Rorty, Richard Bernstein, and others have tried to rescue) and as a linguistic consensus, a division against which Vico argued and which his own concept of sensus communis attempted to reconcile. In extended commentaries on Gadamer, the Gadamer/Habermas debate, and Derrida, Schaeffer shows that Vico offers the possibility of analyzing social phenomena and constellations of power from within the humanist rhetorical tradition. Vico’s achievements have powerful implications for relating ethics and hermeneutics to the world of concrete social practice, particularly in an age in which the electronic media have replaced print as the primary means of communication and in which a “secondary orality” (a cast of mind similar to that of nonliterate peoples) is appearing within our literate civilization.
These reports, at the forefront of relativity theory when they were written, in particular the geometrical aspects of spacetime theory, were the result of the Alfred Schild Memorial Lecture Series presented at the University of Texas at Austin beginning in 1977. Each article is a self-contained summary of an important area of contemporary gravitational physics, while the book as a whole provides an overview of a wide variety of the problems of general relativity and gravitation.
Specter of Relativism addresses the timely topic of relativism from the perspective of Gadamer's hermeneutics. This collection of essays explores several of the key issues in contemporary philosophy—the nature of truth, the model of conversation, and the possibility of an ethics in postmodern conditions—in the context of the work of Gadamer. Although centered on Gadamer and including the first English translation of one of his essays, the volume does not narrowly define or defend the approach of philosophical hermeneutics; the contributors present a broad range of views, in some cases championing a Gadamerian perspective, in others challenging it.
"This is a remarkable book: a symposium proceedings volume that will also function as a graduate-level text. Dedicated to the great theorist S. Chandrasekhar, the book consists of ten well-written chapters that cover the essential tools of theoretical astrophysics. The first half of the volume is concerned with the theory of how stars work (structure, stability, rotation, magnetism, dynamics) and the latter half is mainly a survey of relativistic astrophysics. . . . Read it for a broad-brush view of what theorists are up to now and how they solve problems."—Journal of the British Astronomical Association
"The book as a whole should be a gift from every research supervisor to every new graduate student in theoretical astronomy."—D. W. Sciama, Science
In Topics in the Foundations of General Relativity and Newtonian Gravitation Theory, David B. Malament presents the basic logical-mathematical structure of general relativity and considers a number of special topics concerning the foundations of general relativity and its relation to Newtonian gravitation theory. These special topics include the geometrized formulation of Newtonian theory (also known as Newton-Cartan theory), the concept of rotation in general relativity, and Gödel spacetime. One of the highlights of the book is a no-go theorem that can be understood to show that there is no criterion of orbital rotation in general relativity that fully answers to our classical intuitions. Topics is intended for both students and researchers in mathematical physics and philosophy of science.
One of the articles of faith of twentieth-century intellectual history is that the theory of relativity in physics sprang in its essentials from the unaided genius of Albert Einstein; another is that scientific relativity is unconnected to ethical, cultural, or epistemological relativisms. Victorian Relativity challenges these assumptions, unearthing a forgotten tradition of avant-garde speculation that took as its guiding principle "the negation of the absolute" and set itself under the militant banner of "relativity."
Christopher Herbert shows that the idea of relativity produced revolutionary changes in one field after another in the nineteenth century. Surveying a long line of thinkers including Herbert Spencer, Charles Darwin, Alexander Bain, W. K. Clifford, W. S. Jevons, Karl Pearson, James Frazer, and Einstein himself, Victorian Relativity argues that the early relativity movement was bound closely to motives of political and cultural reform and, in particular, to radical critiques of the ideology of authoritarianism. Recuperating relativity from those who treat it as synonymous with nihilism, Herbert portrays it as the basis of some of our crucial intellectual and ethical traditions.