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Einstein and the Total Eclipse (Postmodern Encounters)
by Peter Coles
ISBN 184046089X / 9781840460896 / 1-84046-089-X
Publisher Totem Books
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In his deft review of how the total solar eclipse in 1919 illuminated Einstein's famous general theory of relativity Peter Coles helps make some difficult but hugely important scientific ideas come to life and he shows how those ideas and society itself interconnect. He starts with a brief review of Newtonian physics and how Einstein's ideas shifted the scientific paradigm of his day. He then cites some interesting "Thought Experiments" that help the reader to figure the conceptual leaps that Einstein made and built into his theories. Coles goes on to show how the Cumbrian astronomer Arthur Eddington's work to prove Einstein's theories helped to propel the famous scientist (who wrote his early, arguably most important work, when he was still a patent clerk) to iconic status. "Science does not deal with "rights" and "wrongs"--It deals instead with descriptions of reality that are either "useful" or "not useful". Science is not a religion and should not pretend to be one." An excellent introduction to an important figure. --Mark Thwaite [via]