In one of the most exciting and accessible explanations of The Theory of Relativity in recent years, Professors Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw go on a journey to the frontier of 21st century science to consider the real meaning behind the iconic sequence of symbols that make up Einstein's most famous equation, exploring the principles of physics through everyday life.
©2010 Brian Cox & Jeff Forshaw (P)2010 WF Howes Ltd
Eclectic mixer of books of my youth and ones I always meant to read, but didn't.
It is always hard to know where to make your pitch. This must be true of every non-fiction title, but I expect it is particularly true of physics. One can't get any more iconic than the formula at the heart of this title, but very few of us know what it really means or why it is so important. I got interested in finding out about the time reports were leaking out of CERN about a particle that was faster than light. I thought it was time to turn to Cox and Forshaw for help (again). Of course they supplied the answers, but pitched at a level that was a bit too general for my liking. I was having fun with the maths (now that I don't need to pass exams) and getting into the dimensions they explore in the text when, suddenly I couldn't follow the math myself and I read the dreaded words (or words to the effect of), "take it from me, if you do the maths, this is the result". I wanted to do the maths. So, i ordered the hardcopy from Amazon, hoping it would be filled with lots of nice tables, diagrams and appendices. There are some diagrams, but the detail is omitted. That's fine of course for where the authors pitched the text, but I was a bit disappointed. I of course went out and got Physics for Dummies (or something akin to it), then went onto a text book and now I'm happy and ready to write this review.
The rub is, if you know nothing and are happy with something, then you'll be well pleased with this. If you want to do the math (like me) then it's a beginning, not an ending.
Jeff Forshaw reads the title with interest and is easy to listen to. No problem with the performace, at all.
Audio books, in the main, are an effective means of absorbing difficult concepts.
There are however pit-falls. E=MC2 falls into one of them.
This audio version only needs a few diagrams to make it the best tutorial on Relativity.
A complementary web site would lift it from frustratingly incomplete to brilliant.
This is a great introduction to understanding how energy has been converted to mass and back into energy, creating every bit of known matter. The first part of the book introduces the reader to the concept of e=mc2, in very simple and easy to understand terms. In the second part of the book, the authors breakdown the equation to teach any curious learner the math behind the equation. Even if you are not interested in breaking down the math, I would still highly recommend this book if you are curious about special or general relativity.
I found the 3rd part of the book to be the most enjoyable. The authors give a fantastic and extremely easy to understand survey of the various types of stars in the universe. Stars are one of my favorite things to read about, and I have read my share of books about them. I would definitely say these authors excelled at explaining the relationship between mass and type of star as well as the forces at work to keep stars active. There is a beautiful dance that exists between the inward pull of gravity and the outward push of fusion and electron repulsion. The way the authors organized this discussion was so simple and beautiful. I think anyone interested in the dynamics of stars would love this book. They did not mention my favorite star, the brown dwarf. That was a tiny bit disappointing.
The final part of the book gave an extremely brief summary of the standard model as well as a summary of some of the particles accelerators and wave detectors. The authors chose not to bog the reader down with the various particles of the standard model. They were more interested in trying to help the reader understand how these particles are at work in e = mc2.
I would definitely recommend this book for someone who is looking for an introduction or a refresher.
It is difficult to organize the information at times when just listening. This is especially true if u listen while performing other tasks in which you're likely to be interrupted (such as driving). The information is intriguing and the story telling/thought experiments captivating.
I love just a few things... Family, Drumming, Baseball, and Intellect.
I fully plan to listen to the book again... and again... and again. I have a general understanding of the topic and am not a physicist or mathematician, but I know enough to do the math in this book, I just want to understand it better.
Mathematically changing the unit of measurement from meters per second to the speed of light (c).
He has a similar accent to Brian Cox and sounds like he REALLY KNOWS this material. It was a pleasure to listen to him through the reading.
It made lightbulbs go off over and over again... it was GREAT!
great book you will need to read it more then once to get all the info and becuse of that it great that it on mp3 so you can listen with easi
I thought that this book did a real good job of explaining the theory of relativity with out using any more complex math then Patagium theorem.
No, it is better to have breaks and think about what was discussed.
Very interesting book, well written about hard-to-grasp subject.
I am afraid this might be an accent thing, but the reader has tendency to Emphasis every Other word WithOut any Relation To Context. Also, he avoids vowels, for example word "unimaginable" becomes "'nmginble". This makes listening to at least this book tiresome experience.
There probably are many explaining illustrations in this book - which are not available when you are listening in a car.
"Good but not suited to an audiobook"
Whilst far from being an expert physicist I have read a fair bit about relativity and quantum mechanics etc so I was coming to this book looking to get a clearer understanding of the subject matter it deals with. The only problem is that I don't think I'm any clearer now than when I started.
I have no doubt that this is in large part due to the fact I was listening to it as an audiobook rather than reading it so don't want to put the book down too much. The book started off okay but quite quickly descended into multiple equations that I just found impossible to follow in my head which meant that large swathes of the book became impenetrable - and since each section relied on the previous it meant that everything went pear-shaped for me quite early on.
The book is a good attempt to explain how Einstein reached his famous equation but in the end, at least as an audiobook, the ideas just required too much abstract and mathematical thought in order to properly ensure understanding.
"Relatively easy relativity."
There is no denying that relativity is not a subject that most of us need to understand. I'm not sure if it's something that most of can even begin to understand whether we need to or not. That said 'Why Does E=MC2 and Why Should We Care' goes some way to making sense of the subject for the layman using real life examples and simple mathematical explanations. Read by one of the authors, Professor Jeff Forshaw, the narration is authoritative without patronising the listener. I didn't think I would enjoy this as much as I did but it was a really good listen and I am happy to give it 5 stars.
"Easier than I thought"
For the first time I actually understand about time and the observer.
Brilliant book enhanced by the readers accent.
The descriptions work and while the spoken equations get a little confusing - switched off for bits - the overall value of the book is excellent.
Knocks spots of books like "A brief history of time" for ease of understanding.
Overall I liked it, they do their best to explain the things which are generally out of the everyman's grasp but unfortunately for me, I'm still not quite tall enough! There were some "aha!" moments but the bit I found hardest was listening to the equations. If there's one thing harder than looking at equations, it's hearing them! With a couple more listens though, I might get there, I'll try again once my fried brain has recovered, which should be in 1 year of space time. Or should that be one minute of space-time? You see I still don't get it.....
"Essential Listening for the Physics Layman"
This is a superb book, exceptionally well read and very easy to absorb. It answered pretty much all the questions that have ever irked me about relativity and the Standard Model. It all seems so straightforward now and the fact that mankind's discovery of these processes was derived from seemingly simple thought experiments almost beggars belief.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough. If, like me, you are a physics layman then you simply have to give this book your attention.
"Good, but some equations on paper would help"
Liked it. Some part are heavy but the overall thread is good. The authors strike good balance between informality accessibility and robust science. At no point does it feel dumbed down. The only real downside of an audiobook is lack of diagrams and written equations. A little pdf with the missing bits would be great.
"Excellent book, expertly pitched and addictive"
This is a great listen, goes at just the right pace and keeps you hanging on for more. The Ionian enchantment really did blow me away. I had goose bumps at one point.
The formulas are lost on the audio listener, but if you have the book in print to back it up, that's a great partnership.
Perfect for the car, just don't drift away on a thought experiment ;-)
"Good book but needs a visual medium"
Really enjoyed it but I need to go through it again so I can pause it at the maths sections and work the maths on paper.
"Interesting, but not quite there and NOT narrated by Brian Cox"
Ok, I bought this book just to hear Brian Cox's voice. My bad, as it is narrated by the other author... It's a pity, really, as Brian obviously had added some "wonderfull", "brilliant", and "physics is great!" into the narrative and now they're a bit wasted when not said by him.
Then secondly, the book is diagram and mathematical formula heavy - not very suitable for an audio book.
"Almost, really good attempt, very enjoyable"
Audio quality is good and the reading is generally engaging and excellent. The mathematics is not massively difficult (O-Level maybe) but I'd recommend getting the hardcopy as well, as having it in black and white certainly helps understand the niceties. Like most good things it takes a certain amount of effort to achieve, but the pay off of understanding is certainly worth it :-) I'd probably give it 5 five stars for it's valiant attempt at explanation. However the fact that it will not quite pull it off for most folks with out the hard copy and the occasional knocking of others (no matter how daft) points of view, rather than concentrating on it's own narrative mean four stars from me.
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