Relativity: A Graphic Guide

Bruce Bassett and
 Ralph Edney
Icon Books
Relativity: A Graphic Guide

You don’t have to delve deeply into gravity, black holes and cosmology to come across phrases like ‘curved space-time’. But what exactly is being ‘curved’? And how? This pocket guide has all the answers you need…

Cosmologist Bruce Bassett and mathematician-cartoonist Ralph Edney are awe-inspiring in their attempts at a popular explanation of one of the most daunting areas of science. A cartoon version of Albert Einstein leads us through the demonstrations, one to each page, assisted by a cast of helpers, ranging from crows and apes to leading scientific lights.

One real plus of this approach is to show us the faces of so many scientists we usually only know by name, often with a quote. We meet computer pioneer John von Neumann, for example, who tells us: “One never understands mathematics, one simply gets used to it.”

Within this format, the authors cover everything from time dilation to black holes, string theory to dark energy. Not surprisingly, the going sometimes gets tough: you’d probably need A-level physics to absorb all of the concepts fully. But the format means it’s an easy book to dip into, making cutting-edge science available to everyone.

Nigel Henbest 

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