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Relativity and Commonsense

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Table of Contents

I. "ON THE SHOULDERS OF GIANTS" The Concept of Force The Evaluation of Acceleration The Unity of Physics II. MOMENTUM The Motion of a System of Bodies The Momentum of an Airplane The Irrelevance of Velocity III. ROTATION Measurement of the Earth's Rotation The Coriolis Effect The Movement of Winds Angular Momentum and Angular Velocity Dropping a Cat IV. LIGHT Faraday and the Polarization of Light Maxwell and the Electromagnetic Theory of Light Using Radar to Measure Distance The Units of Distance The Velocity of Light V. PROPAGATION OF SOUND WAVES The Doppler Shift-The Sonic Boom VI. THE UNIQUENESS OF LIGHT A Hypothetical Ether The Absurdity of the Ether Concept Measuring Velocity The Michelson-Morley Experiment VII. ON COMMON SENSE The Experience of Everyday Life Time: A Private Matter "The "Route-Dependence" of Time" VIII. THE NATURE OF TIME The Peculiarities of High Speeds The Relationships of Inertial and Moving Observers A More Complicated Situation Relativity Explains a Supposed Discrepancy The Value of k: A Fundamental Ratio IX. VELOCITY Einstein's Long Trains Determining Relative Velocities by the Radar Method The Relationship between k and v Velocity Composition Proper Speed The Unique Character of Light X. COORDINATES AND THE LORENTZ TRANSFORMATION The Meaning of Coordinates Rotation of Axes The Lorentz Transformation Four Dimensions Application of the Lorentz Transformation The Aberration of Light XI. FASTER THAN LIGHT? Cause and Effect Simultaneity of Spatially Separated Events Past and Future: Absolute and Relative The Light Cone XII. ACCELERATION Acceleration and Clocks "The Twin "Paradox" How Far Can We Travel in Space? XIII. PUTTING ON MASS The Stretching of Time Increasing Mass Accelerating Protons Einstein's Equation Theory and Observation INDEX

About the Author

Mathematician and cosmologist Sir Hermann Bondi (1919-2005) is best known for developing the steady state theory of the universe with Fred Hoyle and Thomas Gold as an alternative to the Big Bang theory. His most lasting legacy, however, will probably be his important contributions to the theory of general relativity.

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