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Relativity: The Special and the General Theory PDF

Albert Einstein
Routledge (1916 onwards)  ISBN 0-415-25384-5
Translator: R.W. Lawson

Special and general relativity. First published 1916, first English edition 1920 Fifteenth enlarged edition published in English, January 1954


PART I: The Special Theory of Relativity

    1. Physical meaning of geometrical propositions
    2. The system of co-ordinates
    3. Space and time in classical mechanics
    4. The Galileian system of co-ordinates
    5. The principle of relativity (in the restricted sense)
    6. The theorem of the addition of velocities employed in classical mechanics
    7. The apparent incompatibility of the law of propagation of light with the principle of relativity
    8. On the idea of time in physics
    9. The relativity of simultaneity
    10. On the relativity of the conception of distance
    11. The Lorentz transformation
    12. The behaviour of measuring-rods and clocks in motion
    13. Theorem of the addition of velocities. The experiment of Fizeau
    14. The heuristic value of the theory of relativity
    15. General results of the theory
    16. Experience and the special theory of relativity
    17. Minkowski's four-dimensional space

PART II: The General Theory of Relativity

    1. Special and general principle of relativity
    2. The gravitational field
    3. The equality of inertial and gravitational mass as an argument for the general postulate of relativity
    4. In what respects are the foundations of classical mechanics and of the special theory of relativity unsatisfactory?
    5. A few inferences from the general principle of relativity
    6. Behaviour of clocks and measuring-rods on a rotating body of reference
    7. Euclidean and non-Euclidean continuum
    8. Gaussian co-ordinates
    9. The space-time continuum of the special theory of relativity considered as a Euclidean continuum
    10. The space-time continuum of the general theory of relativity is not a Euclidean continuum
    11. Exact formulation of the general principle of relativity
    12. The solution of the problem of gravitation on the basis of the general principle of relativity

PART III: Considerations on the Universe as a Whole

    1. Cosmological difficulties of Newton's theory
    2. The possibility of a "finite" and yet "unbounded" universe
    3. The structure of space according to the general theory of relativity
Appendix 1: Simple derivation of the Lorentz transformation 
Appendix 2: Minkowski's four-dimensional space "world" 
Appendix 3: The experimental confirmation of the general theory of relativity
a) motion of the perihelion of Mercury
b) deflection of light by a gravitational field
c) displacement of spectral lines towards the red
Appendix 4: The structure of space according to the general theory of relativity
Appendix 5: Relativity and the problem of space (1952/54)
a) the field
b) the concept of space in the general theory of relativity
c) generalised theory of gravitation

Download relativity.pdf

The Principle of Relativity

Einstein and others
Dover Press 1952 (from 1923)  ISBN 0-486-60081-5

Contains some of the key historic scientific papers on relativity theory, translated into English where necessary.

  • (1895) H.A Lorentz
    "Michelson's interference experiment"
  • (1904) H.A. Lorentz
    "Electromagnetic phenomena in a system moving with any velocity less than that of light"
  • (1905) A. Einstein
    "On the electrodynamics of moving bodies"

    – Einstein's 1905 paper on what later became known as special relativity
  • (1905) A. Einstein
    "Does the inertia of a body depend upon its energy-content?"
    – the famous E=mc2 followup
  • (1908) H. Minkowswki
    "Space and time"
    – the four-dimensional view of special relativity
  • (1911) A.Einstein
    "On the influence of gravitation on the propagation of light"

    –  gravitational time dilation
  • (1916) A. Einstein
    "The foundation of the general theory of relativity"
  • (1916) A. Einstein
    "Hamilton's Principle and the general theory of relativity"
  • (1917) A. Einstein
    "Cosmological considerations on the general theory of relativity"
  • (1919) A. Einstein
    "Do gravitational fields play an essential part in the structure of the elementary particles of matter?"
  • (1918) H. Weyl
    "Gravitation and electricity"

The Meaning of Relativity

Albert Einstein
Routledge 1952 (from 1923)  ISBN 0-486-60081-5

The core of the book consists of a transcription and translation of Einstein's May 1921 lectures at Princeton University.
It's a book with lots of squiggly math, not aimed at the general reader, and even Einstein's mathematically-intensive description of ealier physics will probably lose most people. It does, however include a few little interesting allusions to things like the general theory's support for effects predicted by Mach's Principle.

Einstein later used the book as a "vehicle" for two further pieces, which were added as appendices in 1946 and 1950
  • Space and Time in Pre-Relativity Physics
  • The Theory of Special Relativity
  • The General Theory of Relativity
  • The General Theory of Relativity (continued)
  • Appendix I (1946) - On the Cosmologic Problem
  • Appendix II (1950) - Relativistic Theory of the Non-symmetric field

Sidelights on Relativity

Albert Einstein
Dover Press 1983 (Dutton 1922)  ISBN 0-486-24511-X
Translations by G. B Jeffery and W. Perrett

There's not much to say about this book: its a slim volume that contains just two lectures.  "Ether and the Theory of Relativity" discusses historical attitudes to space and the idea of a medium in which signals propagate, while "Geometry and Experience" deals more with mathematical projections and the like.

One nice feature of the "Geometry ..." lecture is a diagram that explains how to project a closed spherical surface onto an infinite plane.  This means that if we assume that the universe is closed and finite, by using this projection we can instead describe it as infinite, but with a density variation that exactly compensates, so that the two descriptions become geometrically equivalent. It's a neat trick.

  • Geometry and Experience (1921)