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Relativity: The Special and General Theory
Albert Einstein
Relativity: The Special and General Theory
(December, 1916)
The present book is intended, as far as possible, to give an exact insight into the theory of
Relativity to those readers who, from a general scientific and philosophical point of view, are
interested in the theory, but who are not conversant with the mathematical apparatus of theoretical
physics. The work presumes a standard of education corresponding to that of a university
matriculation examination, and, despite the shortness of the book, a fair amount of patience and
force of will on the part of the reader. The author has spared himself no pains in his endeavour to
present the main ideas in the simplest and most intelligible form, and on the whole, in the sequence
and connection in which they actually originated. In the interest of clearness, it appeared to me
inevitable that I should repeat myself frequently, without paying the slightest attention to the
elegance of the presentation. I adhered scrupulously to the precept of that brilliant theoretical
physicist L. Boltzmann, according to whom matters of elegance ought to be left to the tailor and to
the cobbler. I make no pretence of having withheld from the reader difficulties which are inherent to
the subject. On the other hand, I have purposely treated the empirical physical foundations of the
theory in a "step−motherly" fashion, so that readers unfamiliar with physics may not feel like the
wanderer who was unable to see the forest for the trees. May the book bring some one a few
happy hours of suggestive thought!
December, 1916