1st Edition

The Special Theory of Relativity

By David Bohm Copyright 1997

    Based on his famous final year undergraduate lectures on theoretical physics at Birkbeck College, Bohm presents the theory of relativity as a unified whole, making clear the reasons which led to its adoption and explaining its basic meaning. With clarity and grace, he also reveals the limited truth of some of the "common sense" assumptions which make it difficult for us to appreciate its full implications.
    With a new foreword by Basil Hiley, a close colleague of David Bohm's, The Special Theory of Relativity is an indispensable addition to the work of one of greatest physicists and thinkers of the twentieth century.

    1. Introduction 2. Pre-Einsteinian Notions of Relativity 3. The Problem of the Relativity of the Laws of Electrodynamics 4. The Michelson-Morley Experiment 5. Efforts to Save the Ether Hypothesis 6. The Lorentz Theory of the Electron 7. Further Development of the Lorentz Theory 8. The Problem of Measuring Simultaneity in the Lorentz Theory 9. The Lorentz Transformation 10. The Inherent Ambiguity in the Meanings of Space-Time Measurements, According to the Lorentz Theory 11. Analysis of Space and Time Concepts in Terms of Frames of Reference 12. "Common Sense" Concepts of Space and Time 13. Introduction to Einstein's Conceptions of Space and Time 14. The Lorentz Transformation in Einstein's Point of View 15. Addition of Velocities 16. The Principle of Relativity 17. Some Applications of Relativity 18. Momentum and Mass in Relativity 19. The Equivalence of Mass and Energy 20. The Relativistic Transformation Law for Energy and Momentum 21. Charged Particles in an Electromagnetic Field 22. Experimental Evidence for Special Relativity 23. More About the Equivalence of Mass and Energy 24. Towards a New Theory of Elementary Particles 25. The Falsification of Theories 26. The Minkowski Diagram and the K Calculus 27. The Geometry of Events and the Space-Time Continuum 28. The Questions of Causality and the Maximum Speed of Propagation of Signals in Relativity Theory 29. Proper Time 30. The "Paradox" of the Twins 31. The Significance of the Minkowski Diagram as a Reconstruction of the Past. Appendix - Physics and Perception


    David Bohm (1917-1992). A close colleague of Einstein's at Princeton University after World War II, Bohm would himself go on to become one of the great physicists of the twentieth century. Persecuted for his radical politics during the era of the McCarthy hearings, he left the US in 1952 to teach first in Brazil and then in the UK. Popular Science/Physics/Philosophy