The ABC of Relativity by Peter Clark, Bertrand Russell

capodoglio's review against another edition

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Available for free:
Courtesy of the gorgeous UbuWeb.

(Running time: 3hrs, 20mins; 34,7 MB)

A classic, made all the more appealing by Derek Jacobi's lovely inflection. Plus this is actually my first audiobook: usually I prefer audioshortstories!

Passion, studies and eventually work have always led to my reading mostly fiction. Often I've felt in need of some scientific divulgation for a change. And given my long-standing fascination for astronomy, I thought starting from the basics would be a good idea!

One of my favourite passages is taken from ch. 12, "Conventions and Natural Laws":

If people were to learn to conceive the world in a new way, without the old notion of 'force', it would alter not only their physical imagination but probably also their morals and politics. In the Newtonian theory of the solar system the sun seems like a monarch, whose behest the planets have to obey. In the Einstenian world there is more individualism and less governement than in the Newtonian. There is also far less hassle: lazyness is the fundamental law of the Einstenian universe.

According to aNobii, this is the abridged version. Owning (the Italian translation of) the complete and updated edition, my take on this point is "so much the better": the additions do not add much really and, if anything, they lessen the beauty and power of Russell's spare, clear prose.
This gem is recommended to all lovers of science and audiobooks alike!

jeffgrann's review against another edition

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Presents several psychologically challenging implications of the theory of relativity. I most enjoyed the discussion on the distinctions between various sciences, especially the relationship between geometry and physics. The main downside for me was the increasingly confusing gap between the jargon and the mathematics the jargon is intended to represent. Probably unavoidable, but I fell behind on the discussion toward the end.

naomi_hyde's review against another edition

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Gave up on it after 39 pages. I just found it too confusing and the examples were unrelatable. The book smelled nice though because it was old and musty :)

aurorasgrande's review against another edition

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challenging informative reflective slow-paced