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The New World of Mr Tompkins: George Gamow's Classic Mr Tompkins in Paperback Paperback – Illustrated, March 26, 2010
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"This revision makes Mr Tompkins not only more accessible to the present generation of both scientists and nonscientists, but more in tune with current science and sensibilities." Science Books and Films
"The best just got better....It is absolutely the best place to get a feel for the most important scientific ideas of the 20th century. It is also a perfect way to get to visual grips with relativity theory and quantum mechanics." The Independent
"The real measure of Stannard is that the new material is covered comprehensibily and in a style that matches the original." The Times Higher Education Supplement
"The best just got better...It is absolutely the best place to get a feel for the most important scientific ideas of the 20th century. It is also a perfect way to get to visual grips with relativity theory and quantum mechanics." The Independent
"The reader will get both entertainment and plenty of information about modern physics." Scientific American
"...a lovely book which I am sure everyone interested in modern physics, from the age of eleven upwards, will enjoy enormously." Nature
"If newcomers who have not seen the original read the book, they will find a charming, whimsical introduction to modern physics...The New World...is a unique book." Physics Today
- Item Weight : 13.1 ounces
- Paperback : 272 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0521639921
- ISBN-13 : 978-0521639927
- Product Dimensions : 5.5 x 0.68 x 8.5 inches
- Publisher : Cambridge University Press; 3rd Revised ed. Edition (March 26, 2010)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #160,480 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Generally, the layout takes the following form. One chapter will contain a lecture by the professor. While the next chapter will contain Mr. Tompkin's dream, where he is in a fantastic land where the theory from the lecture is demonstrated. For example, in an early chapter, we find Mr. Tompkins in a land where the speed of light is only 25 miles per hour, and where bicycle riders appear to be flattened, when viewed by bystanders on the sidewalk. In another chapter, we find Maud and the professor inside a glass of a beverage, watching molecules of water whiz by, bumping into microscopic chunks of barley, and admiring the orderly array of water molecules in a nearby ice cube. This particular chapter illustrates Maxwell's Demon, and teaches the second law of thermodynamics. Maxwell's Demon can best be explained, or supplemented, by a Maxwell's Demon computer game that is easily accessed for free on the internet. It consists of fast-moving red dots and slow-moving blue dots, distributed evenly inside a rectangular box. The operator (your child) can operate a gate that separates the two halves of the box, eventually resulting in all the fast dots being located in one side, and the slow dots in the other side.
The book is best read to children by an adult who has taken college physics and is able to explain the stories. Now, if only there could be another Mr. Tompkins storybook that illustrates Newtonian physics. FIVE STARS.
Russell Stannard, an able popularizer of science, courageously tackled this difficult problem of modernizing "Mr Tompkins." Four chapters out of 17 are entirely new. Old chapters describe the theory of relativity, quantum physics and atomic and nuclear physics through Mr Tompkins' adventurous dreams and a series of lectures given by "the professor" to the lay-audience. Tompkins is among the listeners of the lectures, gets acquainted with the professor's daughter Maud, and . . . Maud's look, hairstyle and dresses in illustrations and the episode of romance have also been modernized. The new chapters treat black holes, a high-energy accelerator ("atom smasher") and the results of physics gotten by it, quarks and the Standard Model, and the relation between the life of the Universe and particle physics.
Even the old chapters have been rewritten considerably. For example, Chapter 2 newly tells about an experimental evidence by neutral pion decay for the constancy of light speed, demonstration of relativistic time dilation at CERN by the change of life time of muons traveling at high speed, etc. The "twin paradox" of relativity has also been added in Chapter 2, and its further explanation is given in Chapter 3 (here is a minor but confusing error of "she" and "he" wrongly interchanged). I like this addition very much, because the "paradox" bothered me even after I had learned the theory of relativity at a university. (For a more complete explanation of the twin paradox, I recommend Max Born's "Einstein's Theory of Relativity" to readers of an inquiring mind.)
Being one of old Japanese fans of Tompkins, I feel a little sorry that the name of Hideki Yukawa has disappeared from the present version. Surely, his meson theory of nuclear forces became outdated, because constituents of nucleons and mesons, i.e., quarks and gluons, had been discovered. However, Yukawa's theory was a strong driving force for the birth of particle physics, and a good place where his name can be mentioned remains in Chapter 13 (in the original version it appeared in a later chapter, which has been omitted in the present version).
I highly recommend this book especially to young people who wish to major in physical sciences. There are a small number of simple equations of relativity and formulas of particle reactions. For those who are eager to learn about mysteries of the micro world and the universe, however, the presence of these would not be any hindrance to the enjoyment of the book but rather be an attractive feature. Some of old fans of Tompkins would also read the new version to welcome Stannard's good job.
Top reviews from other countries
It allows the reader to understand difficult and advanced concepts in physics.
Gamow uses his imagination to help us understand it for example 'what if speed of light was 30mph' and he then explores a world with such limitations and shows how special relativity works.
There are many other concepts explored, like entropy, gravity, etc etc
A great book for people interested in physics!
Easy to understand and fun.
Excellent service as usual from amazon, ordered it and it arrived the next day! And one final note - my A-Level Physicists are hooked!