"You have changed my life" is a common refrain in the emails Walter Lewin receives daily from fans who have been enthralled by his world-famous video lectures about the wonders of physics. "I walk with a new spring in my step and I look at life through physics-colored eyes," wrote one such fan. When Lewin's lectures were made available online, he became an instant YouTube celebrity, and the New York Times declared, "Walter Lewin delivers his lectures with the panache of Julia Child bringing French cooking to amateurs and the zany theatricality of YouTube's greatest hits."
For more than 30 years as a beloved professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Lewin honed his singular craft of making physics not only accessible but truly fun, whether putting his head in the path of a wrecking ball, supercharging himself with 300,000 volts of electricity, or demonstrating why the sky is blue and why clouds are white.
Now, as Carl Sagan did for astronomy and Brian Green did for cosmology, Lewin takes listeners on a marvelous journey in For the Love of Physics, opening our eyes as never before to the amazing beauty and power with which physics can reveal the hidden workings of the world all around us. "I introduce people to their own world," writes Lewin, "the world they live in and are familiar with but don't approach like a physicist - yet."
Could it be true that we are shorter standing up than lying down? Why can we snorkel no deeper than about one foot below the surface? Why are the colors of a rainbow always in the same order, and would it be possible to put our hand out and touch one? Whether introducing why the air smells so fresh after a lightning storm, why we briefly lose (and gain) weight when we ride in an elevator, or what the Big Bang would have sounded like had anyone existed to hear it, Lewin never ceases to surprise and delight with the extraordinary ability of physics to answer even the most elusive questions.
©2011 Walter Lewin and Warren Goldstein (P)2011 Tantor
"As joyful as Richard Feynman's Lectures in Physics (but without the math), this text (written with the aid of University of Hartford historian Goldstein) glows with energy and should please a wide range of readers." (Publishers Weekly)
A transplanted Englishman, I spend my time on biography, history and military books. I appreciate good English and good narration.
A very useful book. I do not pretend to understand all these science books I keep reading (!), but I am getting more and more inside my head. Lewin is very good at making things interesting, particularly when he draws upon our real life experiences as examples. So why 3 stars? I am not anti- Semitic...nor anti American... nor anti anything like that but please...please Mr. Lewin...why the heck should I Iisten to long monologues on your father and the holocaust? There are books on that subject, I have read several, and their authors did not digress into physics. They left you to do that...rather well. In other words, hijacking my interest to provide a soapbox for your inner, irrelevant thoughts is offensive to me.
I enjoyed this book quite a bit, but must admit there was much I didn't understand as he goes pretty deep into space. Great nuggets throughout though.
I have a feeling that the author really is an excellent teacher and that his classes are awesome even on youtube. He seems to be an engaging and charismatic individual. It's only that I did not buy this book because of that. I wanted to learn something about physics. But all the personal details about his jewish roots and personal history, touching as it is, comes of a slightly disturbing. I think for most people this is a plus and gives the content a human face. But it just doesn't work for me.
As for the physics, maybe I am way above average (although I suspect not), but most of it was trivial to me. I don't have any physics education except some in high school. Still I did learn some. Anyway, this is not a point of criticism, just an observation that if you do know a bit of physics it may be too basic.
yes, I will be more attentive to the content of the books before I purchase another
for my personal taste, I think he should turn down his personal history. I failed to see how this was directly relevant to the matter at hand
the part about growing up and escaping Nazi Germany. I did not understand the relevance. If I wanted to read about that I believe I could find a more suitable exposition. That said, I am also a big fan of authors using their own life history. Just because it didn't work for me it may for others.
It is a good book and many will probably enjoy it, but it just didn't fit the expectations I had based on the description.
Too much astrophysics. Wish I had known table of contents prior to purchasing the book.
this is a great book. it will make you look at the world and universe with renewed fascination you will not be disappointed get this book
I'm not a physicist or an expert, so correct me if I'm wrong.
I'm surprised and confused, why this author didn't include a drop of info about Nikola Tesla, even in the section that discusses electromagnetic fields, d.c. motors, and such. It makes me wonder if he was ignorant about Tesla's contribution, or if he's just part of the J.P. Morgan empire.
He even says there is no "energy free-lunch". As far as I understand, Tesla was working on exactly that issue... providing "free electricity" to the world. J.P. Morgan wouldn't fund the project because he didn't want the world to have free electricity.
this was a fantastic introduction to the world of physics! to be honest I have never taken a physics class and felt that this might be a bit daunting to understand but the subject matter was broken down and made digestible and comprehensible. enjoyed the book so much that I went to youtube to watch his videos.
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