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Pages: 92
Publisher: Methuen & Co Ltd
Year: 1940/1955/1959/1961
ISBN: B0007J0M52

The Special Theory of Relativity (Methuens Monographs on Physical Subjects) (Buy Now)

Herbert Dingle

The Special Theory of Relativity is presented as a generalization from experiment, to the effect that there is no meaning in absolute motion. The distinctive feature of the book is the development of the familiar formulae of the theory from the single postulate regarding length.

The book was first published in 1940. By the time the fourth edition was about to be published in 1961, Dingle had come to believe that the theory was no longer tenable, and wrote as follows in the Preface to the 1961 Edition: "Since this book was written, reasons have appeared, which to me are conclusive, for believing that the theory is no longer tenable. Though this is not yet generally accepted, it has not been questioned that, so far as experimental evidence goes, an alternative theory is equally possible. This is quite a different situation from that existing previously, when the theory seemed the only possible interpretation of the facts of experiment. My first impulse was to withdraw the book from circulation, but on second thoughts it seemed more fitting to re-issue it with an explanation of the present position in relation to the presentation of the theory given here."

An Amusing Anecdote (http://www.hmc.edu/academicsclinicresearch/academicdepartments/physics/history/earliest.html?PHPSESSID=543550807dbc300c28f54a02a7a674f6)

It seems that it was Enos who came up with the idea of teaching special relativity to our freshmen and when he discussed this with Tom the two agreed that it was worth trying. In those days very few if any institutions included relativity in their introductory physics course, so finding an appropriate textbook for the course presented a problem. Tom thought he had solved that problem when he found in our library what seemed to be just the right book, ?The Theory of Special Relativity? by Herbert Dingle. Enough copies were ordered to take care of that year?s freshman class and the bold experiment seemed ready to start. When the books arrived, however, Tom discovered to his dismay that the publisher had sent Dingle?s latest edition, which was not at all like the one he had reviewed. It seems that Dingle had become convinced that Einstein?s theory was all wrong and thus had written an entirely different text in which he attacked the whole theory. By this time it was too late to find and order another text so Tom was forced to write up some notes of his own. Over the next couple of years those notes were not only used for the course but also were refined to the point where several publishers began pressing Tom to put them into print Tom signed with Allyn and Bacon in 1965 and in 1966 the book carne out That book, ?An Introduction to Special Relativity,? has stood the test of time and is still used at several colleges and universities, including HMC. When I visited Lewis and Clark College a number of years ago, I found that they were using Tom?s book for their relativity course, even though it was no longer in print, because, they said, ?We have never been able to find anything that even comes close to it.?