Newton to Einstein: The Trail of Light: An Excursion to the Wave-Particle Duality and the Special Theory of Relativity

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9780521423236: Newton to Einstein: The Trail of Light: An Excursion to the Wave-Particle Duality and the Special Theory of Relativity

This engaging text takes the reader along the trail of light from Newton's particles to Einstein's relativity. Like the best detective stories, it presents clues and encourages the reader to draw conclusions before the answers are revealed. The first seven chapters cover the behavior of light, Newton's particle theory, waves and an electromagnetic wave theory of light, the photon, and wave-particle duality. Baierlein goes on to develop the special theory of relativity, showing how time dilation and length contraction are consequences of the two simple principles underlying the theory. An extensive chapter derives the equation E = mc2 clearly from first principles and then explores its consequences.

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Book Description:

This undergraduate text takes the reader along the trail of light from Newton's particles to Einstein's relativity. Like the best detective stories, it presents clues and encourages the reader to draw conclusions before the answers are revealed. The first seven chapters describe how light behaves, develop Newton's particle theory, introduce waves and an electromagnetic wave theory of light, discover the photon, and culminate in the wave-particle duality. The book grew out of a popular one-semester course for non-science students.

About the Author:

RALPH BAIERLEIN received his PhD from Princeton University; his thirty seven years of classroom teaching were spent at Harvard and at Wesleyan University, Connecticut. He has published papers in astrophysics, cosmology and relativity theory. For eight years he served as book review editor of the American Journal of Physics, and has written many papers related to the teaching of physics. In 1996 he was elected a fellow of the American Physical Society.

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