Relativity: The Special and the General Theory

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The original 1920 English publication of the paper.

Relativity: The Special and the General Theory began as a short paper and was eventually published as a book written by Albert Einstein with the aim of giving:

. . . an exact insight into the theory of relativity to those readers who, from a general scientific and philosophical point of view, are interested in the theory, but who are not conversant with the mathematical apparatus of theoretical physics.

— from the Preface

It was first published in German in 1916 and later translated into English in 1920.[1][2][3] It is divided into 3 parts, the first dealing with special relativity, the second dealing with general relativity and the third dealing with considerations on the universe as a whole. There have been many versions published since the original in 1916, the latest in December, 2011. The work has been labeled[by whom?] unique in that it gives readers an insight into the thought processes of one of the greatest minds of the 20th century.


  1. ^ Einstein, Albert (1917). Über die spezielle und die allgemeine Relativitätstheorie : (Gemeinverständlich) (Erstaufl. ed.). Braunschweig: Vieweg. Retrieved July 5, 2016 – via ECHO – Cultural Heritage Online - Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Library.
  2. ^ Einstein, Albert (1920). Über die spezielle und allgemeine Relativitätstheorie (5 ed.). Braunschweig: F. Vieweg & Sohn. Retrieved July 5, 2016 – via Internet Archive.
  3. ^ Einstein, Albert, Ph.D. Professor of Physics at the University of Berlin (1920). Relativity: The Special and the General Theory: Popular Exposition; authorised translation by Robert W. Lawson, D.Sc., University of Sheffield (3 ed.). London: Methuen & Co. Ltd. Retrieved July 4, 2016 – via Internet Archive.

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