From Newton to Einstein

From Newton to Einstein

Ask the Physicist about Mechanics and Relativity

F. Todd Baker,
ISBN: 9781627054966 | PDF ISBN: 9781627054973
Copyright © 2014 | 94 Pages | Publication Date: 12/01/2014

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From Newton to Einstein is a book devoted to classical mechanics. "Classical" here includes the theory of special relativity as well because, as argued in the book, it is essentially Newtonian mechanics extended to very high speeds. This information is expanded from the author's popular Q&A website, a site aimed primarily at general readers who are curious about how physics explains the workings of the world. Hence, the answers emphasize concepts over formalism, and the mathematics is kept to a minimum. Students new to physics will find discussion and quantitative calculations for areas often neglected in introductory courses (e.g. air drag and non-inertial frames).

The author gives us a more intuitive approach to special relativity than normally taught in introductory courses. One chapter discusses general relativity in a completely non-mathematical way emphasizing the equivalence principle and the generalized principle of relativity; the examples in this chapter can offer a new slant on applications of classical mechanics. Another chapter is devoted to the physics of computer games, sci-fi, superheros, and super weapons for those interested in the intersection of popular culture and science.

Professional scientists will find topics that they may find amusing and, in some cases, everyday applications that they had not thought of. Brief tutorials are given for essential concepts (e.g. Newton's laws) and appendices give technical details for the interested reader.

Book 2: Atoms and Photons and Quanta, Oh My! Ask the Physicist about atomic, nuclear, and quantum physics.

Table of Contents

Newtonian Mechanics
Special Relativity
General Relativity
Wacky Questions: Scifi, Super Heroes, Computer Games, Fantastic Weapons, etc.

About the Author(s)

F. Todd Baker, University of Georgia (retired)
Dr. F. Todd Baker received AB and MA degrees from Miami University and his PhD degree from the University of Michigan. His area of research is nuclear physics and he has more than 70 publications in refereed journals as well as numerous presentations at conferences and workshops. He has more than 35 years of college and university teaching experience. In 2006 he retired from The University of Georgia where he taught and performed nuclear physics research for 32 years. Previously, he held a postdoctoral research associate position at Rutgers University and teaching positions at Carroll College (Wisconsin) and St Lawrence University. He now lives in Athens, Georgia, with his wife Sara. He enjoys cycling around town, playing the violin, cooking and baking, outdoor activities, DIY projects, films, music of many genres, working puzzles, reading mainly European murder mysteries, and hanging out in coffee houses. He is a father of four. His full curriculum vitae may be seen at


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