An engaging popular history of Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, taking in the sheer magnificence of its discovery, as well as the infighting that the theory sparked across a century.
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. As we near the first centenary of Einstein's iconic theory, scientists the world over are wondering once again if we have reached the limits of the theory and just how much of the universe's future it can explain.
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 Wadha
The Perfect Theory is a rollicking good read. We watch as Einstein's brilliant successors struggle and squabble about everything from black holes to quantum gravity. With crisp explanations and narrative flair, Ferreira offers us a fun, fresh take on a magnificent part of modern science - Steven Strogatz, Schurman Professor of Applied Mathematics, Cornell University, and author of The Joy of x
Einstein's general relativity is a theory of unrivaled elegance and simplicity. But the history of general relativity is messy, unpredictable, and occasionally dramatic. Pedro G. Ferreira is an expert guide to the twists and turns scientists have gone through in a quest to understand space and time - Sean Carroll, theoretical physicist and author of The Particle at the End of the Universe
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.