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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
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.
"For the Love of Physics" is the wonderful, educational book that enlightens the layperson to physics. Professor Lewin's passion for physics shines throughout the book as he takes readers on a journey from the tiniest particles to the utter vastness of our universe. Acclaimed MIT professor Walter Lewin, helps us see the world through the eyes of physics. This book is in essence a two-part book, in the first part Lewin focuses on the basics of physics. The second part has to do with his area of expertise, X-Ray Astronomy. An enjoyable, instructive read that is perfect for the layperson who wants to learn about physics through a practical lens versus a mathematical one. This 320-page book is composed of the following fifteen chapters: 1. From the Nucleus to Deep Space, 2. Measurements, Uncertainties, and the Stars, 3. Bodies in Motion, 4. The Magic of Drinking, 5. Over and Under, Outside and Inside, the Rainbow, 6. The Harmonies of Strings and Winds, 7. The Wonders of Electricity, 8. The Mysteries of Magnetism, 9. Energy Conservation - Plus ca change..., 10. X-rays from Outer Space!, 11. X-ray Ballooning, the Early Days, 12. Cosmic Catastrophes, Neutron Stars, and Black Holes, 13. Celestial Ballet, 14. X-ray Bursters! And. 15. Ways of Seeing.
1. A well-written book about physics that focuses on the beauty of it rather than the details.
2. Well-researched book that is accessible to the masses.
3. Professor Lewin's goal are to educate and to exude excitement over his topics...mission accomplished. As a reader and reviewer, I appreciate the passion
4. An inside look at the world of a physicist. The love for astronomy...Interesting.
5. One of the great strengths of this book is how Lewin educates his students on physics. By using everyday experiences, he is able to convey complex topics in an understandable and hands on way.
6. There are some heart-warming and tragedy behind Professor Lewin's fascinating life and he is kind and brave enough to share them with the readers.
7. The wonderful world of optics. One of the most fascinating optical phenomena...glories.
8. Newton's three laws of motion.
9. The gravity of the situation. Mass vs. weight.
10. Does a wonderful job of properly attributing discoveries to their discoverers.
11. Answers a lot of everyday questions through physics: why is the sky blue, what causes rainbows, how do planes fly, etc....
12. The basics of sound waves. Myths debunked along the way.
13. Electricity in a whole new light. Magnetism. The physics of lightning. The great Maxwell.
14. How energy works. The various types and applications.
15. The second part of the book, the author concentrates in his area of expertise X-ray astronomy. A tour deluxe of the x-ray universe. The author goes in more depth and takes you out of the classroom. It feels like a memoir of sorts.
16. A lot of amusing tales regarding his days in the field.
17. Neutron stars, supernovae, black holes, neutrinos, pulsars..oh my!
18. Some of the most amazing facts you will ever read, "A teaspoon of neutron star matter would weigh 100 million tons on Earth".
19. X-ray bursts!
20. Stellar spectroscopy...the most powerful tool in astrophysics.
21. The golden age of cosmology.
22. Find out about Professor Lewin's "other" love.
23. Links, very helpful links that add depth to the topics discussed.
1. The Kindle version omits the picture inserts unless you count the links for the Kindle Fire.
2. This book is intended for the masses so those in the field of physics will find it too basic.
3. Let's face it, it pains me to say it but a lot of people just can't handle science even at its most accessible.
In summary, after reading this educational book the quote that best summarizes it, " A woman does not want to be understood, she wants to be loved". I apologize for not properly attributing the quote but I feel it captures the essence of this book. Professor Lewis wants you to learn about physics but his focus is for you to fall in love with physics. The love for physics will drive one's innate curiosity toward learning physics. It's a wonderful philosophy to have and this book emanates rays of wisdom. If you are a layperson and want to see the world in a different light by all means pick up this book!
Further suggestions: "Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100" by Michio Kaku, "The Physics Book: From the Big Bang to Quantum Resurrection, 250 Milestones in the History of Physics (Sterling Milestones)" by Clifford A. Pickover, "Death from the Skies!: These Are the Ways the World Will End . . ." by Phillip C. Plait, "Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries" by Neil deGrasse Tyson, "A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing" by Lawrence Krauss, "Knocking on Heaven's Door: How Physics and Scientific Thinking Illuminate the Universe and the Modern World" by Lisa Randall, "Wonders of the Universe" and "Why Does E=mc2? (And Why Should We Care?)" by Brian Cox, "Big Bang: The Origin of the Universe (P.S.)" by Simon Singh, and "The Grand Design" by Stephen Hawking.
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.