The Meaning of Relativity

by Albert Einstein

Introduction by Brian Greene

Brian Greene is my favourite physics author. We speak the same language (English), at least in some of his books.

So when I saw The Meaning of Relativity on Amazon I had to have it. Besides, am I really going to read a book by Albert Einstein? – Me, Albert Einstein!

Oh, ho hum, let’s see what I’ll pick up today … what’s this?  Ahh, Albert Einstein. So it came to pass that I began reading The Meaning of Relativity.

It has been a while since I read Brian Greene. His love of physics is contagious. His simple explanations bring concepts into focus for simple me. It was pure joy to read his Introduction.

Then the Introduction ended and the main event began:  The Meaning of Relativity.

page 1:

“The theory of relativity is closely connected with the theory of space and time. I shall therefore begin with a brief investigation of the origin of our ideas of space and time, although in doing so  I know that I introduce a controversial subject. …”*

As much as I cherished the lessons from Brian Greene, here now was Albert Einstein, talking to me like I understood every word. And I did!

Bliss.

Communication is so important. Despite the wide chasm in our I.Q.s, we were doing just fine since we met 3 minutes ago. I eased myself deeper into the Macy’s Martha Stewart medium and extra firm pillows, took some deep relaxing breaths, and rejoiced in my good luck to finally be introduced to him, Albert Einstein, after all these years. Why had I resisted for so long?

page 3:

“…By means of simple changes in position we can bring two bodies into contact…”*

He is a sweet talker. I don’t mind.

But then, as all relationships do I suppose, a perturbation arose when I turned to page 4;  a lack of understanding if you will, a gap. What was that? – An equation.

I read the passage once more, and again.  Yes, phew, got through that hurdle.  And we are back on track.

“Does anyone ever call you Al?”

Onward, to page 5.

Here again was a challenge. Another equation. But it was small, simple letters.

Ok, got it. Where there is a will there is a way Al.  Now that I’ve found you I’m going to persevere.

And so Al continued his discourse. Simpatico. Wow! Who knew? Me and Al.

Until page 6, where a total communication break down occurred.

Sadly, it was obvious our relationship was over.

With a heavy heart I turned off the light. I will always remember the hope. And now, to dream.

 

*The Meaning of Relativity by Albert Einstein with an Introduction by Brian Greene
Princeton University Press, New Princeton Science Library Edition, 2014
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