My introduction to the world of the mild-mannered bank clerk with an interest in modern Physics came through copies of the original 1940s books rescued from a school library "disposal" pile. Unlike the school librarian I treasured those books, which presented hard science in a humorous, accessible way, and learned a lot from them.
George Gamow brought his original material up to date for "Mr Tompkins in Paperback" shortly before his death in 1968. However, since then Physics has moved on still further, and a new update was appropriate. Russell Stannard took on the challenge, and has done a superb job.
The new version brings both the science and the charming human back story fully up to date, and also addresses some inconsistencies in the earlier text and illustrations caused by their derivation from a group of separate magazine articles.
The books tackles all the main areas of modern Physics, from relativity to particle physics. Each topic is presented by both a serious (but straightforward) lecture text, and also by analogies in a dream experienced by one off the main characters. The two reinforce one another, and should leave the reader with a good basic understanding of all the key concepts. Familiarity with basic arithmetic and elementary concepts of classical physics are the only prerequisites, but the text should also be enjoyable for those with greater background knowledge.
I am very glad to see this classic developed for a new generation, and thoroughly recommend it.
on 17 September 2000
George Gamow's classic introduction to a number of modern physics has been updated by Russell Stannard. Why? Well, despite it being an excellent introduction for young and old to the frankly bizarre concepts and affects of relativity and quantum physics, the original text was becoming somewhat dated. Telling a young girl to 'run along' as physics did not concern her, or talking about a 'tiger shoot' in todays modern climate, could distract the more sensitive away from the ideals of the book. What Stannard has done is modernise the text and analogies, provide more consistent stories and explanations, added some recent developments in modern physics, and updated the illustrations, all with the approval of Gamow's family. The result is a more accessable book that is still fun and thought-provoking. Buy it for yourself or your kids!
on 8 April 2012
As a physics student studying my A levels, I found this book extremely helpful.
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.
on 6 May 2012
I had read the original both in paperback and on the kindle once it was released, I love the book! The way Gamow explains difficult concepts in such an illustrated way is excellent. I am a Physics teacher and wanted to read sections of the book to my class as an introduction to Special Relativity. I read various reviews, but final decided to purchases the more up-to-date version. I have to say it is very similar, but the author has done well in modernising the story without loosing its charm. All in all it's a must read for anyone interested or studying Physics. It is one of the greats!
Excellent service as usual from amazon, ordered it and it arrived the next day! And one final note - my A-Level Physicists are hooked!
on 25 January 2001
From the outset this book tries to portray the often complex world of Physics in a easy to understand way. Many books have attempted this but have failed, this is truly one of the best Physics books I have read for my age group. This book was one of the major contributing factor in me passing PHO2. This is one of the greatest rewriting of a book I have ever read. And pays much due respect to Gamov for his inventive way of teaching physics, to both physicists and the average person alike. And that is why I have given it 4 stars.