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The Manga Guide to Physics Paperback – May 23, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Hideo Nitta, PhD, is a professor in the Department of Physics at Tokyo Gakugei University. He has had many papers and books published by Japanese and overseas publishers on subjects including quantum dynamics and radiation physics. He also has a strong interest in physics education. He is a member of the International Commission on Physics Education (ICPE), which is a commission of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP).

Trend Pro, Inc. is a pioneer of Ad-Manga--advertisement and advertising using Manga--in Japan. The company has produced over 1,700 Ad-Manga for over 700 clients, including many well-known public companies and government agencies. The company has over 100 registered professional Manga artists.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 and up
  • Series: Manga Guide To...
  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: No Starch Press; 1 edition (May 23, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593271964
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593271961
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #60,647 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By John Jacobson on June 28, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book is another in the series of Japanese Manga about science, this time introducing Newtonian physics. It has 232 pages, and a four page index. It is written by a physics professor, Hideo Nitta PhD, a professor at Tokyo Gakugei University. His stated purpose in writing the book is to "reach as many readers as possible who think 'physics is tough' and who 'don't like physics.'"

The chapters are cleverly divided into two sections, the first following in a cartoon story a gifted athlete who does poorly in physics, as she learns how a knowledge of physics can improve her tennis game. The second portion of the chapter (usually called The Laboratory) is written in prose, and reviews the lessons learned in the Manga section and adds detail including the relevant equations and graphs. There are no problems given to work through. The book is not a text book.

The four chapters are:

Law of Action and Reaction
Force and Motion

There are brief asides regarding trigonometry, calculus and vector analysis.

The scope of the book primarily involves Newtonian mechanics, and the background you need to understand the topic. Other areas of introductory physics such as electricity, magnetism, wave-particle dualism of matter, and basic atomic theory are not discussed. The index is quite comprehensive.

This book would be helpful to the visual learner, it might also provide insight to a student struggling with non-calculus based introductory physics. For those of us who took physics years ago, enjoyed it, and perhaps have forgotten why we enjoyed it, it provides an entertaining introduction to Newtonian/Galilean mechanics.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Rob Wehrli on July 4, 2009
Format: Paperback
I think that this book would be an excellent introduction to physics for teens and adults alike. My initial impression of the book is probably tainted by my previous exposure to physics, which were presented in a complete flat and rigid way compared to the content of this book.

I believe that those who are not already through college undergraduate-level physics would benefit the most from this book. I'm certain that the presentation method is easier to accept and is certainly more interesting for all. I found that the first chapter labored a bit on the lesson, but that subsequent chapters went by rather efficiently. Then there was the "inner-geek" in me who loves continuous mathematics who wanted to argue that the ball-in-hand is not a static state but dynamic, though for the purposes of the book, the explanations were appropriate.

As far as the story goes as presented by the illustrations, I found a bit to dislike. The characters exhibited extremely wide ranges of emotions from seething rage to adoration, sometimes as quickly as within a couple of pages. While this may help boltser the effect of the lesson, I found it distracting and overstated. Of course, my opinion is based on my exposure to this kind of material, and this is a first of such trips into the realm of Japanese manga.

I would strongly like to offer the book to a 15-16 year old who is pre-high school physics and take their reaction as input to this review because I think that we'd have a profound effect compared to handing Cutnell's "Physics" 0471663158 (1088 pages) to a teenager.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By J. Kelly on July 1, 2009
Format: Paperback
My understanding of many physics concepts is a bit fuzzy after so many years away from high school and college, so I enjoyed getting a good overview of many of the concepts that are so important to "how things work" in this world.

This is the third in the Manga series from No Starch Press that I've read... Electricity and Statistics are the other two. This one is my favorite, hands down. The story is creative, and the way the writer is able to mix in equations, vector mathematics, and simple yet easy-to-follow illustrations make the book a no-brainer purchase for anyone wanting to re-learn OR for anyone currently studying physics and not quite understanding many of the vague concepts.

Like the other books in the series, the manga/comic storyline is broken up with text-based instructions that help further cement the reader's understanding of the previous manga section they just read... things like a refresher on basic trigonometry are nice... Newton's Laws! Finally I have a little better understanding of how they can be used in real-world situations!

This was a fun book... the story was entertaining and the lessons given were just as useful. I'm looking forward to The Manga Guide to Calculus so I can relearn that subject, too!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Frank Mitch on September 30, 2009
Format: Paperback
Reviewed by Ken Rogers, GCPCUG Member

Should cartoon characters be smarter than their readers? Brilliantly mad scientists and charming absent-minded professors may be stock characters in the comics, but their intellects always seem more fantastic than realistic. A cartoon character with realistic scientific intellect - someone who might remind us of our high school physics teacher, or that lab partner who always seemed one step ahead of you - can too easily remind us of our own intellectual shortcomings, and spoil the casual fun that is at the heart of comics' appeal.

This absence of ordinary genius in comics is what makes Ryota and Megumi, the main characters in The Manga Guide to Physics, so remarkable. The latest in the delightful series of manga technical guides from TREND-PRO and No Starch Press, The Manga Guide to Physics uses a tutor-student relationship to explain complex scientific concepts with real-world examples. Ryota, the tutor, is a schoolboy science whiz who has to be the most unremarkable character I've ever seen in a manga comic. Clean-cut, dressed in a conservative suit and tie, ever polite and reserved - if manga characters were soft drinks, Megumi would be a glass of tepid water. Megumi, the frustrated student-athlete who pleads with Ryota to provide her with physics lessons, is only slightly more colorful - call her a decaffeinated, sugar-free soda.

Both tutor and student are ordinary, but the same cannot be said of their lessons. Make no mistake; The Manga Guide to Physics is a serious work of technical writing. If you don't find vector diagrams and algebraic equations inherently appealing, you'll find this book more than challenging at times.
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