E=MC2, by Jeff Stewart (Hardcover, 2010)|
(You can print this review in landscape mode, if you
want a hardcopy)
Mark Lamendola, author of over 6,000 articles.
Entertaining, humorous, brilliant, and educational. Well done, Mr.
I've long been a physics buff, but I think even someone not so
inclined would enjoy reading this book just because it's humorous. For
those of us who are partial to this topic, it makes for a light-hearted
review that sure beats dragging out a few dozen big books to jog those
Physics can be daunting (I found mechanical physics very challenging,
when I first encountered it in college), especially if you get bogged
down in the math and are not the kind of person who does math problems
for entertainment. This book uses simple math, so you aren't going to be
confronting difficult equations or lines of Greek letters. The author skips those equations, but does use examples from the classic physics literature (physics buffs will recognize them). He also uses
some that are simpler variations or just new.
This book contains no factual errors, or at least I did not notice
any. The grammar and writing are also flawless. And the author sticks to
the topic of the book, which is commendable in today's nonfiction world.
Something I run into frequently is the person who does not understand
basic physics. For some reason, this always astounds me. It seems
inexplicable. But with this book now available, nobody has any excuse!
When you understand the basic concepts of physics, you have huge
cognitive and perceptual advantages over the person who does not. If you
have this understanding, I don't need to explain this. If you don't have
this understanding, an explanation of the advantages it brings is not
the solution you need. The understanding itself is. You can get that
understanding with this book, and have a lot of fun doing so.
This book consists of 10 chapters in 170 pages in a small format book
(about the height and width of a typical paperback novel). It has an
index and a metric conversion table.
The author starts off by giving us a brief history of physics, in
Chapter 1. And it really is brief. You get the major points, and they
are good to know. For people who want more, there are books and movies
on individual physicists, on all areas of physics history.
Chapters 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 respectively cover forces, energy and
power, momentum, heat and matter, waves, and electricity.
Chapter 8 discusses Relativity, which is almost synonymous with
Einstein. Naturally, that discussion is followed by one on Quantum
Physics in Chapter 9.
The final chapter looks at some of the questions physicists and
astronomers are trying to answer about the universe.
This is a great book to add to any nonfiction collection. It would be
great for schools to use this in the classroom, but my experience also
indicates that many adults would benefit from reading it.