- Paperback: 561 pages
- Publisher: Insight Press; 2nd edition (August 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0935218068
- ISBN-13: 978-0935218060
- Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.2 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #219,369 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Thinking Physics: Practical Lessons in Critical Thinking Paperback – August, 2002
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Top Customer Reviews
A. hitting an immovable brick wall
B. having a head-on collision with an identical car (both) traveling at 50 mph
The usual response is to say B. However, Newton's 3rd law of motion ("forces always act in pairs - if a exerts a force on b, then b exerts an equal and oppositely-directed force on a) maintains that the damage is the same, ie, the wall strikes the car with the force of a head-on collision. This problem by the way is particularly juicy - I remember the head of a university physics department discussing this one at considerable length with two other physicists. (They more or less agreed, with provisos, after several minutes, that B. is indeed the correct answer.) The author encourages thinking without mathematics to come to terms with the physical reality of whatever we're analyzing. This approach closely mirrors that of Michael Faraday and James Clerk Maxwell, who felt that mathematics was useful only as an adjunct to science and no substitute for clear thinking. A marvellous book.
While a lot of physics (from what I can tell) *is* calculation, the heart of it (also from what I can tell) is in the understanding, the *why.* You won't get much math out of Thinking Physics, but that's what the *other* textbooks are for. And math without understanding isn't much help.
Thank you, Mr. Epstein, for writing this book.
I have adopted several examples from this book into my standard repetoire of teaching tools.
I have had students (who were initially negative about physics) tell me that they often find themselves getting lost in this book for an hour or two, because they found it _that_ interesting... Strong praise indeed!
Whatever level of physics you are at, this book has something for you. Whether you're a curious 10-year-old, or a university professor of physics, this book has something to teach you.
A big thank you from me also Mr. Epstein!
I am sure that if you are not a professional physicist but you like physics, like me, you will enjoy with this book. The only one thing I do not like from this book is that answers are written upside down. It deserves 5 stars.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
VERY good and fun to read - Excellent guide if you need to look something up to show a practical (yet often funny) example.Published 18 months ago by P. Tuggle
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in learning physics. You'll get a wonderful intuition and understanding of physical processes. Read morePublished on February 24, 2014 by Stanley
I taught high school physics for 26 years and always told my students to buy this book. Many of them did and their entire family learned physics from it. Read morePublished on February 11, 2013 by Nino Deprophetis
Good book for beginners and experts who are rusty. Some concepts needed a little more explanation for beginners.
I'd like to see follow-on volumes. Read more
Very helpful book for visual learners. Provides a fundamental understanding of physics that relates to real life situations.Published on September 30, 2009 by Jentry Fairchild
The book is a compilation of science/physics puzzles, brain teasers, one to two pages long. It's the kind of book to have for the odd moment. Read morePublished on January 14, 2009 by D. Oliphant