"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)
This is book has interesting stories and I love physics, but .... the reader is rushing through the material, not even pausing between chapters. It's all strung together in one long torrent of words. Pretty tough to follow. And even tougher to understand the physics. Sometimes you need time to absorb some of the more difficult facts, but the reader never lets up. Too bad.
I loved this listen. Professor Lewin made physics the living fascinating thing it is. The vivid examples and explanations gave me a new appreciation for rainbows and cans of paint.
If you loved Physics in school I recommend this book as an interesting listen. If you hated Physics. I highly recommend this book as an eye opening explanation of so much of the world that surrounds us.
For the Love of Physics was a great read. If you have watched any of Walter Lewin's lectures online, you know that he is a great teacher. In this book, he gives a good overview of physics. Towards the end of book, he goes into x-ray astronomy and talks about his research. Overall, this is a great book, I highly recommend it.
All of my great teachers were able to show me the importance of the seemingly insignificant in some dramatic style. Walter Lewin is a master of dramatic presentation. After listening to "for the love of physics", twice, I found myself watching hours and hours of his lectures and demonstrations on the web.
the thoughts and writing are engaging and lively and I will never look at rainbows the same way. Because of this book I now know how to look for rainbows as well.
Thank you Professor Lewin.
Mr. Cassella's narration is very good, warm and well paced.
Why didn't I get taught this in high school.....hell!... elementary school. I would have loved it if it was taught like this.
I'm a keen, if eclectic, reader.
I never thought I would use the word “love” and “physics” in the same paragraph! Yet Walter Lewin and Warren Goldstein introduced me to the science that I had previously thought unapproachable. Clearly Professor Lewin is an outstanding teacher. If our schools were filled with teachers like Mr. Lewin, it would surely change the world.
The story is about Physics and all that it encompasses, which is everything really. And that part had me fascinated. It is also about teaching Physics and this part was just wonderful. I found myself in my garage with a tennis ball and string, attempting to duplicate the pendulum demonstration (Yes, Physics works), and in my front garden, spraying my garden hose toward the Sun to create a rainbow (Yes, red is always on the outside). Not many books motivate me to such action.
Kent Cassella does an admirable job in communicating difficult names and locations whilst still being able to convey the humour and irony in particular stories.
Overall it was a compelling read. A book of Science. Of Teaching. And a remarkable personal story of a European immigrant to America who has certainly helped us better understand the world.
Applying what I learned in this book, I would measure the uncertainty of this review to be within ± .5 stars.
I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.
Walter Levin is clearly an excellent teacher who loves physics. Every science teacher in America should read this book and think about what Levin does to be so effective. I love physics and respect and value great science teachers like Levin but I found this book a little boring. The stories and recollections are nice and demonstrate what Levin does that is so extraordinary but this book is not as compelling as those of Feynman or Green. I really hate giving this book less than 5 stars.
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.
not particularly because it turned into a rant on global warming.
The discussion on Physics was outstanding. He should have stayed focused on it rather than delve into environmentalism. his discussion on the makeup of stars, and effects of tars and light could have been condensed.
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