Theory of Relativity

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Written: 1916 (this revised edition: 1924)
Source: Relativity: The Special and General Theory (1920)
Publisher: Methuen & Co Ltd
First Published: December, 1916
Translated: Robert W. Lawson (Authorised translation)
Transcription/Markup: Brian Basgen
Transcription to text: Gregory B. Newby
Thanks to: Einstein Reference Archive (
The Einstein Reference Archive is online at:

Transcriber note: This file is a plain text rendition of HTML. Because many equations cannot be presented effectively in plain text, images are supplied for many equations and for all figures and tables.



Part I: The Special Theory of Relativity

01. Physical Meaning of Geometrical Propositions
02. The System of Co-ordinates
03. Space and Time in Classical Mechanics
04. The Galileian System of Co-ordinates
05. The Principle of Relativity (in the Restricted Sense)
06. The Theorem of the Addition of Velocities employed in
Classical Mechanics
07. The Apparent Incompatability of the Law of Propagation of Light with the Principle of Relativity
08. On the Idea of Time in Physics
09. The Relativity of Simultaneity
10. On the Relativity of the Conception of Distance
11. The Lorentz Transformation
12. The Behaviour of Measuring-Rods and Clocks in Motion
13. Theorem of the Addition of Velocities. The Experiment of Fizeau 14. The Hueristic Value of the Theory of Relativity
15. General Results of the Theory
16. Expereince and the Special Theory of Relativity
17. Minkowski's Four-dimensial Space

Part II: The General Theory of Relativity

18. Special and General Principle of Relativity
19. The Gravitational Field
20. The Equality of Inertial and Gravitational Mass as an Argument for the General Postulate of Relativity
21. In What Respects are the Foundations of Classical Mechanics and of the Special Theory of Relativity Unsatisfactory?
22. A Few Inferences from the General Principle of Relativity 23. Behaviour of Clocks and Measuring-Rods on a Rotating Body of Reference
24. Euclidean and non-Euclidean Continuum
25. Gaussian Co-ordinates
26. The Space-Time Continuum of the Speical Theory of Relativity Considered as a Euclidean Continuum
27. The Space-Time Continuum of the General Theory of Relativity is Not a Eculidean Continuum
28. Exact Formulation of the General Principle of Relativity 29. The Solution of the Problem of Gravitation on the Basis of the General Principle of Relativity

Part III: Considerations on the Universe as a Whole

30. Cosmological Difficulties of Netwon's Theory
31. The Possibility of a "Finite" and yet "Unbounded" Universe 32. The Structure of Space According to the General Theory of Relativity


01. Simple Derivation of the Lorentz Transformation (sup. ch. 11) 02. Minkowski's Four-Dimensional Space ("World") (sup. ch 17) 03. The Experimental Confirmation of the General Theory of Relativity 04. The Structure of Space According to the General Theory of Relativity (sup. ch 32)

05. Relativity and the Problem of Space

Note: The fifth Appendix was added by Einstein at the time of the fifteenth re-printing of this book; and as a result is still under copyright restrictions so cannot be added without the permission of the publisher.


(December, 1916)

The present book is intended, as far as possible, to give 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. The work presumes a standard of education corresponding to that of a university matriculation examination, and, despite the shortness of the book, a fair amount of patience and force of will on the part of the reader. The author has spared himself no pains in his...
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