Review of The Perfect Theory: A Century of Geniuses and the Battle over General Relativity by Pedro G. Ferreira

Phillip Helbig

The Observatory, 134, 1241, 214–216 (August 2014)

This is a book review of The Perfect Theory: A Century of Geniuses and the Battle of General Relativity by Pedro G. Ferreira. The author, a professor of astrophysics at the University of Oxford, calls his book "the biography of general relativity", which is an apt description. The book manages to cover all the essential ground, both before and after the death of Einstein, without being too long; this is possible because essentially only GR is discussed---neither, beyond what is absolutely necessary, special relativity (let alone other work by Einstein) nor the contexts of the various applications and developments of GR. It would be hard to find someone even remotely interested in general relativity, astrophysics, cosmology, or the recent history of science who would not enjoy reading this book. Even though much might be familiar some, the story of GR is well told, the whole is more than the sum of the parts, and many will learn something new.

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