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July 27 , 2008

Geometry, Relativity and the Fourth Dimension


This is a highly readable, popular exposition of the fourth dimension and the structure of the universe. A remarkable pictorial discussion of the curved space-time we call home, it achieves even greater impact through the use of 141 excellent illustrations. This is the first sustained visual account of many important topics in relativity theory that up till now have only been treated separately.
Finding a perfect analogy in the situation of the geometrical characters in Flatland, Professor Rucker continues the adventures of the two-dimensional world visited by a three-dimensional being to explain our three-dimensional world in terms of the fourth dimension. Following this adventure into the fourth dimension, the author discusses non-Euclidean geometry, curved space, time as a higher dimension, special relativity, time travel, and the shape of space-time. The mathematics is sound throughout, but the casual reader may skip those few sections that seem too purely mathematical and still follow the line of argument. Readable and interesting in itself, the annotated bibliography is a valuable guide to further study.
Professor Rucker teaches mathematics at the State University of New York in Geneseo. Students and laymen will find his discussion to be unusually stimulating. Experienced mathematicians and physicists will find a great deal of original material here and many unexpected novelties. Annotated bibliography. 44 problems.

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