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The Cartoon Guide to Physics (Cartoon Guide Series) Reprint Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
However, I was disappointed. The guide indeed tries to cover a significant amount of the usual high-school physics course - mechanics, electricity and magnetism (missing are thermodynamics and optics) - but it is not really as charmingly funny as the Cartoon History of the Universe. As a physicist, I can assure you that the problem does not lie in the simple fact that the history is more interesting topic than physics - physics is plenty interesting, thank you! But the desired blend between the textbook and the cartoon resulted in something that is not educational enough to actually learn something from it and too boring to make a good cartoon.
Trying to find some bright spot, I am happy to report I have not discovered any major flops in the science part of the book. Also, I believe the book actually becomes somewhat more interesting toward the end. But then again, if I would have to choose between, say, the chapter on relativity and Joseph Schwartz's Einstein for Beginners, I would probably opt for the latter.
Whenever possible, I have avoided physics classes--they scare me--which is difficult to do. But knowing this, I became obsessed with facing my fear and picked up this book (and a few others). I wasn't disappointed. Although it wasn't as easy to follow his other two books (perhaps because I'm more familiar with the subject of the other two books), it made physics more interesting, and less scary. I was able to reread sections and then cross reference them with a 'real' physics text until I got the point.
I'm still no physicist, and I never will be. But I've got a basic grasp now that I didn't have before, and can understand the simple physics of the world around me. However, the biggest kudo I can give to this book is this: I've enrolled in a physics course at the local university--a course I don't *have* to take but want to take. It's something I never would have done without this book easing my fears and taking the mystery out of the subject.
Bravo Gonick! Where's the Cartoon Guide to the Quantum Theory?! We're waiting....
There are two sections in the book: `Mechanics', and `Electricity and Magnetism'. The first section deals with motion, forces, Newton's Laws, Energy, and associated topics. The second section deals with electricity and electrical fields, and magnets and magnetic fields. It also touches on relativity and quantum electrodynamics. They do not cover topics such as String Theory or Chaos Theory, which have become increasingly more publicized since this book was published.
This book works well as an introduction to the topic, or as a refresher. There is not enough substance for this to serve as a text book, nor do they provide a bibliography to assist the reader in finding more in depth books on any of the topics. However, Gonick does a wonderful job of blending the history of the field with the topics that are covered, and he does so in a way which does not overwhelm the reader.