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ISBN: 9780801891359

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The field of kinematics—the science of motion—has long been neglected and misrepresented. Despite rich traditions rooted in ancient times, modern physical kinematics never became a professional discipline; no journals or academic societies were founded to support its development and study. Most physicists took the science of motion for granted. Yet some came to doubt its very principles, even denouncing its basic language—coordinate algebra—as an impediment to scientific progress. In this unique history of kinematics, Alberto A Martínez rescues the forgotten roots of this fundamental field that led to Einstein's theory of special relativity. He shows how kinematics was torn in divergent directions by various fields: mathematics, engineering, philosophy, and psychology. All students of physics and general science study basic kinematics. Martínez analyzes the development of this elemental science through clear explanations and accessible language. He draws from an unparalleled wealth of sources on the origins of Einstein's theory of special relativity and offers the most comprehensive history of kinematics available. Martínez demonstrates that modern kinematics inherited old and unresolved ambiguities. The neglected science of motion here re-emerges as an intriguing and provocative field, essential to the study and evolution of physics today.''Anyone interested in the development of our current concepts of space, time, and motion will learn an enormous amount from this book. It combines broad scope and meticulous attention to detail, all recounted in a lively fashion. Reading it is not only instructive—it is a pleasure.''—John Stachel, Boston University''Martínez's careful reconstruction of Einstein's path to relativity is an absolute tour de force!''—Scott Walter, Poincaré Archives''The chapters on Einstein form a compelling narrative as the author mines a rich vein of letters and later reminiscences, which make the book very accessible, and of interest to many readers.''—Daniel Kennefick, Einstein Papers Project

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