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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 Paperback – February 7, 2012
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"Fascinating...A delightful scientific memoir combined with a memorable introduction to physics."--"Kirkus"
"As the hundreds of thousands of studentswho have witnessed [Lewin's] lectures in person or online can attest, thisclassroom wizard transforms textbook formulas into magic...Lewin's rarecreativity shines through...a passport to adventure." --"Booklist" (starredreview)
""For the Love of Physics" captures Walter Lewin's extraordinary intellect, passion for physics and brilliance as a teacher. Hopefully, this book will bring even more people into the orbit of this extraordinary educator and scientist."
"Fascinating... A delightful scientific memoir combined with a memorable introduction to physics."
"MIT's Lewin is deservedly popular for his memorable physics lectures (both live and on MIT's Open Course Web site and YouTube), and this quick-paced autobiography-cum-physics intro fully captures his candor and lively teaching style... joyful... [this text] glows with energy and should please a wide range of readers."
"As the hundreds of thousands of students who have witnessed [Lewin's] lectures in person or online can attest, this classroom wizard transforms textbook formulas into magic... Lewin's rare creativity shines through... a passport to adventure."
"Walter Lewin's unabashed passion for physics shines through every page of this colorful, largely autobiographical tour of science. The excitement of discovery is infectious."--Mario Livio, author of The Golden Ratio and Is God A Mathematician?
"In this fun, engaging and accessible book, Walter Lewin, a superhero of the classroom, uses his powers for Good - ours! The authors' share the joy of learning that the world is a knowable place."--James Kakalios, Professor and author of The Physics of Superheroes and The Amazing Story of Quantum Mechanics
About the Author
Walter Lewin taught the three core classes in physics at MIT for more than thirty years and made major discoveries in the area of X-ray astronomy. His physics lectures have been the subject of great acclaim, including a 60 Minutes feature, stories in the New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Newsweek and US News and World Report. They have also been top draws on YouTube and iTunes University. He was awarded three prizes for excellence in undergraduate teaching. He has published more than 450 scientific articles, and his honors and awards include the NASA Award for Exceptional Scientific Achievement, the Alexander von Humboldt Award, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He became a corresponding member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences and Fellow of the American Physical Society in 1993. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Warren Goldstein is a professor of history and chair of the History Department at the University of Hartford. A prizewinning historian, essayist, and journalist, he has had a lifelong fascination with physics. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune and many other national periodicals. His prior books include Playing for Keeps: A History of Early Baseball and William Sloane Coffin, Jr.: A Holy Impatience.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
This book should come before any of those. Explanations of common every day events like rainbows or pendulums with only minimal math. The only reason I say it is the second book on physics you should read is that Surely You're Joking Mr. Feynman is a better place to start. It gives little real explanation of physics but does a better job of changing your perception of physics. That book will give you enough excitement about learning physics to push you through the more complicated parts of this book then maybe even some of the more advanced texts on the subject.
The first chapter isn't much about physics. Professor Lewis touches various topics on his life. Even though it is not about science, do not skip it. I loved the first chapter because I got to know him as a person not as a boring guy that is going to explain boring science stuff to me. He goes over his childhood and family in Netherlands in which a great deal of suffering happened from World War 2. Also, he explains how he could not thrive as a scientist in his homeland because of bureaucracy and authoritarian leadership. Getting to know Professor Lewis is very important in understanding the physics, as weird as it may sound. Trust me. His lessons are intertwined with his life experiences. This way is very effective. For instance, he does not just explain how the red light's maximum refractory degree is 42 and blue light 40 in rainbow. He tells his personal story on how he was able to apply these scientific facts to find a regular rainbow on a trip, and discover a new type of rainbow - glassbow. I had to understand the scientific statements and facts to follow his interesting and cool stories.
The last few chapters cover astronomy and his contribution to X-ray bursts. The way he explains is so easy to grasp and intriguing. At no time have I felt bored with the topics and scientific concepts. He wrote this book to help readers to see the world through the eyes of the physics. He gives a warning: you will not be able to see the world as you did before after reading the book. He could not be more right. He puts it as “YOU HAVE LOST YOUR VIRGINTY.” I saw a rainbow yesterday. I was verifying antipolar point, confirming that the red band within the rainbow was on top within 42 degree from the antipolar point. At night, I looked up at the night sky with stars. I was telling myself that one third of stars were binary systems in which two stars look like a star to naked eyes. Today, I was conversing with a friend while I was driving. An ambulance was passing us by. I told my friend how the sound waves' frequency increases while the ambulance was coming towards us due to its speed and the direction, evidenced by higher pitch, and vice versa as the ambulance was going away from us. I finished my lecture by saying "isn't science amazing?" I can't forget his confused expression on his face. He didn't see that coming from a guy like me who is a full time soldier in the Army – to know and even extol a nerdy subject with such an excitement. Who cares? Doppler Effect is so amazing!
Just as the title of the book tells, For the Love of Physics, Professor Lewis loves physics. And it is contagious. Please let him take you to the world of physics with which you will fall in love.