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Mr. Tompkins in Paperback Paperback – March 26, 1993


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 186 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (Canto Imprint) (March 26, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521447712
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521447713
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #309,550 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

'Not only entertaining; the ordinary reader can learn from it a great deal about sub-atomic particles, electrons, neutrons and the rest, and the strange rules which govern their behaviour.' The Observer

'Will vastly fascinate the whimsical, and is also entirely scientific.' Scientific American

'Enthusiastically recommended to both scientific and general readers.' The Guardian

Book Description

Known and loved by thousands since its introduction over fifty years ago, this classic work provides a clear explanation of the central concepts in modern physics--from atomic structure to relativity and quantum theory to fusion and fission--through the fantastic adventures of its bank clerk hero.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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This book was a pleasureable read.
Adam Helland
Mr. Tompkins in Wonderland, and Mr. Tompkins Explores the Atom, are two adorable gems by physicist George Gamow.
Marynna L. Lindsey-Kerce
If needing some extra help on physic concepts, this is a great introductory course.
Aubree Scott

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Palle E T Jorgensen VINE VOICE on September 22, 2003
Format: Paperback
A lovely reprinted edition of a peral from Gamow. The original edition has been out of print for a number of years. This 1993 edition has added commentary and a fascinating bio of Gamow. He was born in Odessa, in what was then Russia, --before the Soviet Union. The story of his escape to the West is straight out of a thriller. Only it is real! Gamow was referred to by a journalist, some time during the Cold War, as "the only scientist in America with a real sense of humor". He can take the most technical stuff and make it simple. Fun too! The book:--Intellectual treats, whimsy, but deep. Illustrated with lovely drawings by Gamow himself. Much of it can be understood by a child, and other parts might require a little concentration. All of it is great fun. Follow your imagination, and while you explore, you will learn about Einstein's theory of relativity. And in unexpected ways! You will see the wonders of physics thru the eyes of a child. With his unexpected thought experiments, Gamow has captured the imagination of generations of readers, and he has inspired a degree of curiosity that comes naturally to children.
The author George Gamow started in nuclear physics, during the Golden Age of Physics, worked with Niels Bohr in Copenhagen, then later in the US, on the Manhattan Project during WWII; and after the War, he was professor in Boulder Colorado. He has a building on campus of The University of Colorado named after him! He is one of the few scientists who wrote popular books. They are precious pearls, and they have been equally popular with my parent's generation as with mine. For awhile they were out of print, but luckely some have now been reprinted in recent years!
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Stan Ruby (sruby@earthlink.net) on November 10, 1997
Format: Paperback
I first read this about 50 years ago in graduate school, and was wonderfully stimulated. Despite many advances since, this book is still thoroughly up-to-date (except for particle physics and quarks). I remember mainly how Mr Tompkins suffers in a room where the speed of light has been reduced to 100 mph. Could never again think of simultaneity again in quite the familiar Newtonian way. That is but one example of the freshness of view that Gamow's fun-loving mind creates. It taught me more than most formal texts; and with so much more ease.I hope that he and Lewis Carroll have found each other in Heaven, and are discussing how to educate and amuse.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 3, 1999
Format: Paperback
Whe I taught introductory physics, the section on modern physics was pretty hard to grasp for some of my students. When I found this text, then titled "Mr. Tompkins in wunderland", I began to use it to help them (and me!) with the less intuitive concepts. I wish I could have met the obviously delightful man. What all physics teachers should be. I am so glad to see this back in print after all these years so a new generation of budding physicists can be delighted with their physical world.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By S. Vorstoffel on November 21, 2005
Format: Paperback
I am nothing more than a humble interested amateur and my formal science education is limited to some advanced classes for my high school diploma many years ago. I picked up "Mr Tompkins" following a conversation with a physicist sitting next to me on a long flight. I found it to be an excellent introduction to modern physics in general and quantum mechanics in particular. I found it challenging and I wouldn't claim I understood every last detail, but it is definitely not necessary to have a profound knowledge of mathematical and physical concepts to read this book. The writing is witty, precise and thoroughly enjoyable. In fact I was so intrigued that I went and picked up two other books (Alice in Quantumland and Taking the Quantum Leap), both of which I found harder to read and not as suitable for the uninitiated as Mr Tompkins.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By G. Lombardi on May 13, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book is about 50 years old, but it has aged well. The basic ideas discussed in the book have not changed, although some discoveries in the intervening years have made a few parts obsolete. Gamow's writing is witty, yet rigorous. Without compromising scientific accuracy, he manages to make his narrative engaging and entertaining.
Gamow touches on some classical topics, as well as relativity and quantum mechanics. For instance, he explains probability theory and how it relates to thermodynamics using a vignette about a gambling system to win at Monte Carlo.
The author, renowned for his contributions to 20th Century physics and to its popular exposition, assumes a fair amount of sophistication on the part of the reader. This does not mean that it will be beyond the reach of most people, but it will challenge the reader.
This book is one of the recommended readings for a class I teach at drphysics.com. Many of my students have found this book to be helpful.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Pike on March 10, 2004
Format: Paperback
I'm a novice at this subject matter, and I've recently started reading introductory books on quantum physics for fun. I read, "The New Quantum Universe" prior to reading this. This easy to read book filled in some gaps that that I had. It helped me grasp some concepts that had otherwise passed over my head when reading the other book.
I understand that this is a classic text and I can see why. It's fun to read, and provides a foundation for further understanding. It explains uncertaintity, radioactive decay, and electron shells especially well.
I may not fully appreciate the concepts I was able to internalize from this book for quite some time. I can say that I strongly recommend it to the layman or anyone who's eager to understand some basics of this incredible field of study.
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