Ralph D, particle physics, and BS

Jim Jaszewski ab975 at main.freenet.hamilton.on.ca
Sat Jun 17 16:39:48 MDT 1995

On Sat, 17 Jun 1995, Rahul Mahajan wrote:

> I've never read any philosophy of special relativity, and I think there's
> bloody little point in doing so. The important aspects of special
> relativity can be understood with high-school algebra -- an excellent and
> very conceptual book is _Spacetime Physics_ by Taylor and Wheeler
> General Relativity: _General Relativity from A to B_,   Robert Geroch
>                     _Was Einstein Right?_    Clifford Will -- This is all
> about experimental tests of GR, but you also get a good feeling for the
> physics.
>                     _Subtle is the Lord_    Abraham Pais -- the only
> biography of Einstein written for physicists, it has some very good
> chapters on the birth of GR, although it's quite technical
> Particle Physics:   _Inward Bound_, Abraham Pais

	One neat little book is the one I first got from the library when
I was a kid. I bought a copy years later. It's:

	'Relativity in Illustrations' by Jacob T. Schwartz
	[ISBN 0-486-25965-X]

	You know -- the one with Dick and Pete the cartoon gunslingers in
it...  |>    I KNOW it's simple, but wouldn't it be a great present for
an inquisitive kid??

> I'll anti-recommend anything by Kuhn, who I think has an amazingly trivial
> mind. I would definitely recommend _Physics and Beyond_ by the
> anti-communist Nazi Werner Heisenberg himself. Much of it is personal
> reminiscence, which, by the way, doesn't make him sound too much like a
> Nazi,

	Since when has a postwar nazi ever been anything but a 'hale good
fellow' in the service of capitalism??

	I'm sure MANY of come across as sweet old grandaddies...

 but there are some interesting philosophical discussions, especially
> one between H and Einstein, essentially about logical positivism.

	So take the good stuff and chuck the ideolog...

	Jim Jaszewski
	jjazz at freenet.hamilton.on.ca

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