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For the Love of Physics: From the End of the Rainbow to the Edge Of Time - A Journey Through the Wonders of Physics [Kindle Edition]

Walter Lewin , Warren Goldstein
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.00
Kindle Price: $12.99
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Book Description

“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 thirty 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 three hundred thousand 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 readers 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.

Recounting his own exciting discoveries as a pioneer in the field of X-ray astronomy—arriving at MIT right at the start of an astonishing revolution in astronomy—he also brings to life the power of physics to reach into the vastness of space and unveil exotic uncharted territories, from the marvels of a supernova explosion in the Large Magellanic Cloud to the unseeable depths of black holes.

“For me,” Lewin writes, “physics is a way of seeing—the spectacular and the mundane, the immense and the minute—as a beautiful, thrillingly interwoven whole.” His wonderfully inventive and vivid ways of introducing us to the revelations of physics impart to us a new appreciation of the remarkable beauty and intricate harmonies of the forces that govern our lives.

Editorial Reviews


"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 [listeners]." ---Publishers Weekly Starred Review

About the Author

Warren Goldstein is the history department chair at the University of Hartford and the author of books including Playing for Keeps and William Sloane Coffin: A Holy Impatience.

Walter Lewin, Professor Emeritus of physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is the recipient of the NASA Award for Exceptional Sceintific Achievement, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and numerous other awards.

Kent Cassella is an actor who divides his time between Vermont and New York. Television and film credits include all of the Law and Order franchise shows, FX's Rescue Me, Showtime's Brotherhood, and the Ben Affleck film The Town.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2891 KB
  • Print Length: 322 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: B00CF6L8F8
  • Publisher: Free Press (May 3, 2011)
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003UV8TFE
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #253,924 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
78 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rock Star May 3, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
If physics has rock stars, Walter Lewin is one. If physicist rock stars can have groupies, I confess to being one.

As I read the publisher's text about the book, I felt a little blush. Could that refer to me?! Truly, Walter Lewin's online lectures changed MY life. Sounds silly? Well it's true. Not only did I get very interested in a subject I thought out of my grasp, but I continued my education in physics. I "discovered" a lot of application of physics to my business practice. To shorten the story, I use physics in my business and my clients have benefited greatly and my career has blasted off.

Now, the book is like listening to Dr. Lewin talk. For a fan, what could be better? The videos of his lectures might be better but they are very math intense. The book is light on the math. That's good.

I do wish the book had more than than the too brief picture collection about 2/3'ds through. I would like some illustrations to go with the topical discussions. Still, overall, I love the book but that's because I see Dr. Lewin as a sort of virtual mentor. I could never afford MIT or qualify to get in to MIT. Dr. Lein's lectures opened MIT to me.

So a physics fan, and especially a Walter Lewin fan, will love the book. I hope every one of his students will buy two copies (I did)---cherish one and give the other away. Your gift may inspire the next Einstein (male or female).

The only negative? That beautiful Dutch accent, which lends itself to physics, doesn't come through in print.

Great read.
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43 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Viewing the World of Physics with Wonderment June 1, 2011
I have very little doubt that any university freshman who has had Professor Lewin for any physics courses will never forget the experience. Why? The book's cover says it all. In the first 69% or so of the book, Professor Lewin discusses basic physics - touching upon various topics such as Newton's Laws, gravity, optics, sound, electricity, etc. The physics is very elementary such that a science buff is not likely to learn anything new here. But the highlight of these discussions is the joy of discovery that they impart to the reader. The author's enthusiasm and amazement for his subject matter is truly exceptional. Throughout, he describes various demonstrations that he's done in class in order to illustrate some particular points - and relishes his students' reactions. He goes out of his way to ensure that the students have fun and will remember what they've seen. Also located in the earlier part of the book is a bit of autobiographical information: mainly Professors Lewin's childhood in his native Holland during World War II and how difficult and horribly tragic life was at that time.

In the next few chapters, comprising about 27% of the book, Professor Lewin discusses his professional life and achievements in x-ray astronomy. This was a treat for me because, once again, his enthusiasm does not cease to grace every page and the details that he provides were mostly new to me. Finally, in the last chapter, he discusses mainly his love for modern art.

Written in clear, very friendly and lively prose, this book should be of particular interest as much to high school students and university freshmen for the clear information that it contains as to the seasoned science buff for the way it is expressed and for the information on the discovery and evolution of x-ray astronomy. If all science classes were taught like Professor Lewin teaches his physics classes, there would probably be more scientists in the world.
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60 of 68 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Two good books, but who will want to read both? July 11, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a well-written book to whet your appetite for physics, if you know nothing at all about physics yet have a burning desire to learn about X-ray astronomy. I would think that narrows the audience a bit.

Physics was my favorite subject in college, and I have continued to read books for the layperson (Hawking, Greene, Kaku, etc.). Those authors have a way of explaining new leading developments in modern physics in a way that speaks to the non-scientist. Lewin has a way of explaining basic, established Newtonian physics that is easy to understand but won't appeal to many of us who have had a college course or two in general physics, or even a really good high school physics course. The best audience might be high school students who are about to take their first physics course.

This first part of the book takes on a conversational tone, talking down a bit, taking pains to reach us on our own level, almost like Mister Rogers if he had taught physics. ("See how revealing good measurements can be?")

The first two-thirds of the book covers a range of interesting topics, although I think that one of the author's favorite topics is himself and his wonderful teaching style. He has received countless accolades for his classroom presentation, and cares about teaching a lot more than many physics professors who phone in their lectures while focused on research, so he deserves credit. But he really wants us to know that he is able to get his students to roar with laughter, or shriek in delight--"The students' eyes widen....As you may imagine, it's really very dramatic and my students are always quite shocked.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars loved it
I loved this book. Bravo !
Published 24 days ago by sandra wohlers
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great product, service and I would recommend it to friends.
Published 29 days ago by Lupe
5.0 out of 5 stars See Walter Lewin's videos after reading the book
This is a great book for anyone who loves physics. Lewin's videos are back online again at:
Published 1 month ago by lynnc
5.0 out of 5 stars Professor Lewin is a brilliant physics teacher
Professor Lewin is a brilliant physics teacher. I loved his book, but then I love physics in good part to Dr. Lewin's lectures at MIT. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Tommy Charles Sewall
5.0 out of 5 stars An affair between students of Physics and Lewin
I do not know of another person who has contributed more to teaching fraternity than Walter Lewin. He has made Physics so simple to understand for everyone.
Published 5 months ago by Suresh Chandra Benjamin
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Quick & as represented.
Published 5 months ago by Robert Mills
4.0 out of 5 stars I expected more of this book.
I believe that this book has a problem: if you are familiar with Walter Lewin, his lectures, his "madness" and have a little knowledge about physics, you will love this... Read more
Published 5 months ago by David Hernández
5.0 out of 5 stars Science made fun
The most interesting, entertaining science book I've ever read
Published 5 months ago by kenneth r jaegers
5.0 out of 5 stars Just get it.
This book is a must read for anyone who loves Physics. Walter Lewin is really a genius when it comes to teaching concepts, as we can see from his lectures at MIT. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Guilherme Gomide
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book from a great writer
Great book from a great writer. It gives a deeper and personal insight of the lectures and professional life of Walter Lewing, with all the dynamics of teaching so characteristic... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Matias Troncoso
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