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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Higher ground, 25 Aug 2007
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This review is from: 50 Physics Ideas You Really Need to Know (50 Ideas You Really Need to Know series) (Hardcover)
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 school and brush up against in the trials of everyday life - we gently ascend through to more recent advances in understanding -bits of the picture that fall well outside the realms of everyday experience: the sub-atomic world of waves and particles: the forces, such as dark energy, that are at work within (and outside?) our expanding universe. Amongst the highlights are an extremely lucid explanation of Einstein's theories of General Relativity and Special Relativity.

Not only does the book demonstrate and celebrate how humankind has slowly begun to unravel the mysteries of life but, for the average reader, it helps us shuffle a few steps up that mountain of learning.

For me, one of the real triumphs of the book is the way that the author shows how even the fundamental laws fit in to the broader picture. For instance, I don't remember my college lecturer explaining how the Second Law of Thermodynamics could determine the ultimate fate of the universe. He should of done - how often do physics students ask the question, "Why do we need to know this?" Well, this book might have the answer and step by step, inch by inch (or should that be nanometre by nanometre) you will be ascending a bit of that mountain I talked about before. I even found myself going back to re-read some of the essays, so clear is the progression between them.

If, like me, you have an interest in science and physics but are by no means a great intellect, this book is a great place to gain a better insight into the way everything sticks together and stays together. Or doesn't, as the case may be !
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