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Relativity and relatives

18 May 2015, 14:11 UTC
Relativity and relatives
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[ I assembled two new bookshelves, so I have room for my science books for the first time in a long while. In honor of the occasion, I’m writing a few personal essays inspired by books. Here’s the first installment. ]
Books on relativity and cosmology. [Credit: moi]A book is sometimes more than itself. Books famously can help us get through hard times in life, lead us toward empathy with those different than ourselves, shore up faith in humanity when it’s needed, tear down creaky concepts when they need demolishing, or simply provide a break from the stresses of life. And sometimes books are entangled in our lives thanks to the person who gave them to us, or when we first read them, or some combination of all of these. I confess I’m a bit of a book hoarder, keeping books long after they are likely to be useful to me again on the off chance that maybe, some day, they will be exactly what I need.
Physics books aren’t stereotypically the life-changing variety, though I’ve certainly had my mind expanded or changed from reading them. However, on occasion a book can be symbolic as well as useful, and one ...

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