Special relativity provides the foundations of our knowledge of space and time. Without it, our understanding of the world, and its place in the universe, would be unthinkable. This book gives a concise, elementary, yet exceptionally modern, introduction to special relativity. It is a gentle yet serious 'first encounter', in that it conveys a true understanding rather than purely reports the basic facts. Only very elementary mathematical knowledge is needed to master it (basic high-school maths), yet it will leave the reader with a sound understanding of the subject. Special Relativity: A First Encounter starts with a broad historical introduction and motivation of the basic notions. The central chapters are dedicated to special relativity, mainly following Einstein's historical route. Later chapters turn to various applications in all parts of physics and everyday life. Unlike other books on the subject, the current status of the experimental foundations of special relativity is accurately reported and the experiments explained. This book will appeal to anyone wanting a introduction to the subject, as well as being background reading for students beginning a course in physics.