What Is Relativity? or as Jeffrey Bennett Explains: Black Holes Don’t Suck

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As our homeschooling journey is now complete, I’ve been winding down on those kind of review posts and topics.  But I couldn’t resist taking just one more on even right when Amber was graduating.  I mean how can you not be intrigued by a book written by a prominent author and astrophysicist that explains the fact that despite what our TV and DVDs tell us; Black Holes Don’t Suck, but also in a way that the average Joe (or Tammy in this case) can actually understand it?! 

With that simple idea in mind, Jeffrey Bennett begins an entertaining introduction to Einstein’s theories of relativity, describing the amazing phenomena readers would actually experience if they took a trip to a black hole in (affiliate link) What Is Relativity? An Intuitive Introduction to Einstein’s Ideas, and Why They Matter (Columbia University Press, March 2014).

I freely admit that my right brain does not compute science and math very well, case in point back in the olden days when I was in high school to enter university to study a bachelor of arts degree only one science credit was required, I chose biology, nuff said.  While Amber was slogging away through advanced science and math through high school (no worries my husband taught those subjects) I tried learning right along with her.  And yet, the ability to do so was still difficult for me…all those equations! 

Sure enough though Jeffrey Bennett understands that some of us just need it broken down into plain English without all those E=mc2 formulas cluttering up the theories.  And I’m living proof that anyone can learn a lot from this book. It’s one of the reasons I am excited to recommend it to parents who are homeschooling their middle school and high school students (or anyone else who just wants the theories of relativity broken down for them).

What is Relativity?  will guide you or your student through the process of the theory, using examples and diagrams that are effective and easy to understand.

It’s fun to read.  Exploring the reasons why your favorite Sci-Fi movies and TV shows need to use warp drives and hyperspace to travel the universe makes the scientific explanation understandable.

The only thing that didn’t ‘work’ for me in the book was the Big Bang Theory explanation towards the end of it.  Of course I am strong believer in a Creator and a young Earth so that doesn’t mesh with how I believe the galaxy came into existence.  I think it’s a worthwhile read in spite of my opinion of that portion of the book (which is very short) because it doesn’t effect what one can learn from Bennett’s down to Earth (yes, my attempt at a pun) explanation of the theory of relativity, how it works and how it is applicable to life even to those of us who don’t think ‘science’ when we do everyday activities.

Jeffrey Bennett (www.jeffreybennett.com) is the winner of the 2013 American Institute of Physics Science Communication Award, holds a B.A. in biophysics from the University of California, San Diego, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in astrophysics from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He is the lead author of best-selling textbooks in astronomy, astrobiology, mathematics, and statistics and has written numerous award-winning books for the general public and children, including Math for Life and the first children’s books to be launched to the International Space Station, as a part of the Story Time From Space program.

You can find (affiliate link) What Is Relativity? An Intuitive Introduction to Einstein’s Ideas, and Why They Matter on Amazon.com and other book retailers online and offline.

4 thoughts on “What Is Relativity? or as Jeffrey Bennett Explains: Black Holes Don’t Suck

  1. I love when an Author can break down a tough subject into small easy to read pieces. I have a weakness for science so I'll pick this book up! I had to giggle at your headline Tammy!

  2. I'm blown away that this could possibly be fun to read like you said. I'm not a science or math girl either, but if you say it's fun, then it's fun and I'll give it a go.

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