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.
"love the book, the audio book is harder to follow"
without the diagrams it's a little hard to follow but a nice recap to reading the book a few months ago.
"Great, but better read with equations to look at!"
Really good listen overall, although I'm not sure they always achieve their goals of making it completely accessible!
"Interesting but not the best"
I've read a lot of popular science books and felt rather let down by this one. The performance was a little lacklustre I'm afraid. Obviously the authors have great enthusiasm for the subject but it didn't really work for me in this format. Big fan but sorry not my fave.
"Try, Try and Try again."
If you have a love of the subject then great book for you, needed to go over some chapters a couple of times to make sure I understood, but definitely worth the effort.
This book is so complicated to listen to. I wish I hadn't wasted a credit
"Excited Pace Covering A lot of Material"
So, the subject matter has a high barrier to entry. However, without skipping much or trying to defer things indefinitely, the subject matter is built from the ground up and eventually encompasses a lot. The narrator obviously enjoys delivering the content and his enthusiasm, that is so obvious, becomes infectious.
I've listened this in the car, looking out to sea at the beach and walking around the supermarket. I mention this so that you can appreciate how accessible it is. I intend to revisit some chapters just for clarity and enjoyment, but that is more to do with my own personal states or tiredness than difficulty with the presentation.
Excellent book well narrated. If you only listen to the audio, without the hardcopy book at hand, then following some of the equations in detail is tricky but even so book is a fantastic listen.
"Doesn't work as an audio book - need to see maths"
Should have the maths as a .PDF; impossible to follow along to someone telling you equations.
Impossible to follow along to the maths without seeing it written down
Very disappointed, lots of interesting ideas ( facts ) presented, but overall, the lack of the maths made it difficult to follow.Don't buy if you want a physics introduction either as it's way too shallow.
"easy to follow"
Very nicely told story, given the sophisticated nature of the subject it is very easy to follow.
"A great listen"
Overall I thought the book was very well written and some of the difficult concepts were explained very well indeed. The maths is hard to follow as audio, but thankfully there's not too much of it and even if you don't get it, it doesn't really matter as the points are explained so well.
Would think this book is more for the intermediate physics reader and would perhaps be hard going for someone new the subject, although you could still give it a go!
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