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17 Reviews
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Higher ground
Learning is a bit like climbing a mountain. Every step is a little bit harder than the last but the view gets better all the time.

In this excellent book, the author takes us through fifty of the most important laws of physics, by way of a series of short and entertaining essays. Beginning with the fundamental laws of heat, motion and energy - those we learn at...
Published on 25 Aug 2007 by Simon

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Missed Opportunity
I had bought this book after having read the previous three Amazon reviews so should have been prepared. The book has a steady and ultimately illuminating theme of bringing all the theories together, and from this perspective it does so well if the reader perseveres. However, although the summaries are good I felt that the explanations are often far from clear (so...
Published on 28 Feb 2009 by Big Uig


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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and mind-expanding!, 27 Nov 2009
By 
John M "John M" (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This book covers 50 key concepts in physics building chronologically from the ideas of forces, planetary motion and gravity, the nature of waves and light, through quantum mechanics and the latest ideas in particle physics and the nature of the universe. Each chapter is about 4 pages only, but covers ideas concisely and in a relatively understandable manner. The purpose is to give the non-specialist an insight into the topics covered. Naturally the coverage of some topics is brief and can only really scratch the surface, but it does evoke a sense of wonder and certainly encourages the reader to explore topics of special interest in more depth. I do agree with some reviewers that certain topics could do with further detail and diagrams, and I did find the explanations in a few chapters not totally transparent, but this is probably as much due to me as much as the explanation itself! I found the chapter on Schrodinger's cat particularly well done. The final chapters concerning cosmology certainly made me realise how little we really know of the universe. Oh, and I'm sure quantum mechanics is just made up.......! Despite some criticisms, it was still a thoroughly good trip through the world of physics
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2.0 out of 5 stars Mediocre, 8 Dec 2013
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This review is from: 50 Physics Ideas You Really Need to Know (50 Ideas You Really Need to Know series) (Kindle Edition)
Would have liked to see slightly more explanation on each subject
It feels like multiple article snippets from Wikipedia glued together
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4.0 out of 5 stars Really useful overview for the layperson, 24 Nov 2013
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This review is from: 50 Physics Ideas You Really Need to Know (50 Ideas You Really Need to Know series) (Kindle Edition)
I bought this book as I wanted to find out more about the sciences.
I have that this has for me been a very readable and entertaining primer on physics. It is not I know of a substantial academic nature but has suited me down to a T. I just wanted an overview and I have had that.
Really pleased I bought this for my Kindle and is the first book that I have read on it.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Confusing as often as illuminating, 5 Mar 2011
By 
R. K. Ltd (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
If I had been able to open this book before ordering, I never would have bought it. If you like a book whose layout is a crazy quilt of blocks of type in different styles, plus pointless, ugly little pictures, then go right ahead. But if you find this patronising and irritating, it's not for you.

I am giving this book two stars instead of one, as I did learn a few things. But I was also confused by some of the writing, which was out to simplify at the expense of understanding. An opening paragraph would mention a term that was not explained until the next page or would provoke a question that it did not answer. For instance, the section on static electricity refers to a plastic comb being able to attract bits of paper. A reader wonders why this should be--what is there in the nature of plastic or paper that makes this happen?--but is not answered until later. I got the feeling throughout of an incompetent writer or editor simply wanting to brush aside matters that he or she did not understand or was incompetent to summarise concisely and completely.

The reductio ad absurdum of this style is the last line to each section, headed "condensed idea." Examples: energy budget, spotting structure, the big chill. These are not ideas. These are idiocies. If the author/editor meant, these are ideas that have been condensed, then they have been condensed into meaninglessness.

Let's stop falling for these cutesy books with pretty covers and just buy an elementary physics textbook!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars, 5 Sep 2014
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Good ideas explained well however using equations would make it easier to follow
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8 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointed with the obvious errors, 6 July 2010
I bought this book in an airport, with the hope of skimming over some of the quantum theory that I missed at University. However, I was disappointed almost as soon as I started reading. The first sentence of the first chapter reads "A child whirling on a merry-go-round is tugged outwards by the distant stars." At this point, I would have liked to have taken the book back, but was already on a plane!

Over the first few chapters I noticed two further inaccuracies. My problem is that if I can see errors in the basic chapters, how can I read the more complicated chapters and ensure that I'm learning correct science?

This book needs to be revised and edited by an actual physicist. This book could be amazing if only a little thought had been put into the editing.
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0 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars 50 Physics Ideas, 13 Aug 2011
I will not advise this book to anyone. First of all, it is badly written. Secondly for a science textbook, it is not rigorous enough.
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