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The Perfect Theory A Century of Geniuses and the Battle Over General Relativity by Professor Pedro G. Ferreira
  

The Perfect Theory A Century of Geniuses and the Battle Over General Relativity

Popular Science   The Real World   All Shortlists and Winners   

Sue Baker's view...

Shortlisted for the Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books 2014.

Einstein’s Theory of Relativity was launched on the world in 1915 and as the centenary fast approaches Pedro Ferreira looks back on a century that was changed utterly by this elegant theory. Without bogging down the general reader in a mire of statistics and theories, Pedro Ferreira constructs a narrative that takes in scientific feuds, experimentation, invention and the wonders of our universe.

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Synopsis

The Perfect Theory A Century of Geniuses and the Battle Over General Relativity by Professor Pedro G. Ferreira

Shortlisted for the Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books 2014.

Albert Einstein's General Theory of Relativity is possibly the most perfect intellectual achievement in modern physics. Anything that involves gravity, the force that powers everything on the largest, hottest or densest of scales, can be explained by it. From the moment Einstein first proposed the theory in 1915, it was received with enthusiasm yet also with tremendous resistance, and for the following ninety years was the source of a series of feuds, vendettas, ideological battles and international collaborations featuring a colourful cast of characters. A gripping, colourfully told story, A Perfect Theory entangles itself with the flashpoints of modern history. In this first complete popular history of the theory, Pedro G. Ferreira shows how the theory has informed our understanding of exactly what the universe is made of and how much is still undiscovered: from the work of the giant telescopes in the deserts of Chile to the way in which the latest work on black holes is providing a fresh, new perspective on what space and time are truly made of.

Reviews

'Prof Ferreira is an outstanding storyteller, and the tales here reveal more about how science really works than any number of textbooks' BBC Focus

'You couldn't ask for a better guide to the outer reaches of the universe and the inner workings of the minds of those who've navigated it' Marcus du Sautoy, Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science at the University of Oxford and author of The Music of the Primes

'Einstein's beautiful theory is almost a century old, and its ramifications have stimulated a crescendo of discovery ever since. It is now, more than ever, one of the liveliest frontiers of science. Pedro G. Ferreira describes, accessibly and non-technically, how the key breakthroughs have been made, and the personalities who made them. Even readers with zero scientific background will enjoy this finely written survey of one of the greatest of recent scientific endeavours, and get a real feel for the social and human aspects of science' Lord Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal

'This is a fascinating introduction to our present understanding of space, time, and gravity, and to the confusion about how to go about finding a still better theory. Ferreira tells the story without equations or graphs, just well-chosen words about the science and how it grew. I particularly recommend the sketches of scientists in all their curious variety of character traits' James E. Peebles, Albert Einstein Professor of Science, Emeritus. Professor of Physics, Emeritus

Pedro G. Ferreira's The Perfect Theory is especially welcome. It provides us with an enthralling account of the ideas and personalities of those who were involved -- Sir Roger Penrose, Emeritus Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics at the Mathematical Institute of the University of Oxford and Emeritus Fellow of Wadham College

About the Author

Raised in Portugal and Britain, Pedro G. Ferreira arrived at Oxford University in 2000, by way of London, Berkeley and CERN. For over twenty-five years he has worked on the frontline of general relativity and cosmology research. Now forty-five, he is Professor of Astrophysics at Oxford University.

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Book Info

Publication date

30th November 1999

Author

Professor Pedro G. Ferreira

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Author 'Like for Like'
    recommendations

Author's Website

www.pedroferreira.co.uk

Publisher

Format

Hardback

Categories

Popular Science
The Real World
All Shortlists and Winners


ISBN

9781408703106

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