Theory of Relativity

Word Wednesday: ‘Theory of Relativity’

Books Columns Featured Reviews Word Wednesday

This Week’s Word Is ‘Relativity.’

This week I have another Laurence King book, from a series called “Words that Changed the World.” Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity is aimed at readers aged around 11 upwards desgined to explain Einstein’s body of work. 

What Is Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity?

Now, there’s a question! One this book aims to get to the bottom of. It’s large format (15″ X 11″) slim (62 pages) hardback. Its striking cover is textured and covered with intriguing scientific diagrams and formulae to draw you in. You want to know more from the moment you look at the book. The body of the book uses a mixture of text and illustrations to explain how Einstein’s theories evolved and the thought-experiments that underpinned them. 

The book begins with an overview of Einstein and his life, up until he embarked upon on his groundbreaking work. It then explains what was known about gravity, time, space, light, and relativity at that time. 

After that, the book digs deeper into Einstein’s work beginning with “Einstein’s Miraculous Year” and the four papers that he sent to his friend Conrad Habicht in 1905. Namely, light quanta, molecule size, Brownian motion, and the electrodynamics of moving bodies. Next, things start to become more complicated with the theory of special relativity, time dilation, and the frankly bonkers topic of length contraction. 

Halfway through the book we are treated to the science behind E=mc². Then the general theory of relativity, bent light, and the shape of the universe. The book closes out with the experiments that proved some of Einstein’s theories, the publication of the theory of relativity, and the practical modern applications of Einstein’s science. Laid out in black and white (or in black white and amazing colored illustrations), it’s hard to credit how the theories of just one man could bring about so much change and advance science so far. 

Why Read Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity?

Even as student of science trained to beyond graduate level, I don’t think I had ever appreciated the scope and depth of Einstein’s work. He’s universally known as that clever-science dude, synonymous with a crazy-haired genius, but I’ve never fully studied the man or his work. 

This book is a brilliant jumping off point for anybody interested in Einstein and physics. Whilst pitched at a relatively young audience, there are, by necessity, some complicated concepts in here but they’re greatly simplified for beginners in the field. The book will be of use to anybody with a passing interest in relativity and helpful to any child studying Eintstein during their compulsory education.

The artwork in the book is excellent; affording a deeper understanding of what the text is explaining. If you have an inquisitive child this is a great place to start. If you want to brush up on some higher-level physics, but don’t know what you don’t know, then this book provides an engaging platform from which to launch your investigation – before, say, moving onto the books of Roger Penrose, who has just been awarded one half of a Nobel prize for his own work with relativity. Although the work in this book is over 100 years old, its application and investigations are still cutting edge! 

All in all, this is yet another beautiful informative book from Laurence King, author Carl Wilkinson, and illustrator James Weston Lewis. It’s a perfect introduction to Einstein, relativity and the wonders of physics. 

If you’d like to pick up a copy of Albert Eintstein’s Theory of Relativity, you can do so, here in the US and here, in the UK.

If you enjoyed this review, do check out my other Word Wednesday posts.

Theory of Relativity

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to write this review. The Bookshop.org link is an affiliate link. 

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