• RRP: £9.99
  • You Save: £0.01
FREE Delivery in the UK on orders with at least £10 of books.
Only 3 left in stock (more on the way).
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
Quantity:1
We Need to Talk About Kel... has been added to your Basket
FREE Delivery on orders over £10.
Used: Very Good | Details
Sold by the book house
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: This item will be picked, packed and shipped by Amazon and is eligible for free delivery within the UK
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

We Need to Talk About Kelvin: What everyday things tell us about the universe Paperback – 2 Sep 2010

4.2 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

See all formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
£9.98
£3.54 £0.01
Note: This item is eligible for click and collect. Details
Pick up your parcel at a time and place that suits you.
  • Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
  • Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
How to order to an Amazon Pickup Location?
  1. Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
  2. Dispatch to this address when you check out
Learn more
£9.98 FREE Delivery in the UK on orders with at least £10 of books. Only 3 left in stock (more on the way). Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Special Offers and Product Promotions


Frequently Bought Together

  • We Need to Talk About Kelvin: What everyday things tell us about the universe
  • +
  • What a Wonderful World: Life, the Universe and Everything in a Nutshell
  • +
  • Quantum Theory Cannot Hurt You: Understanding the Mind-Blowing Building Blocks of the Universe
Total price: £29.44
Buy the selected items together

Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.




Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; Main edition (2 Sept. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571244033
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571244034
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 1.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 269,934 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

A new popular science book that should be bought for its clever title alone! -- The Independent, September 16, 2009

Chown writes with ease about some of the most brain-bending of concepts. -- BBC Focus Magazine, October 2009

An elegant pop-physics pick'n'mix. -- The Guardian, October 17, 2009

Chown makes cutting-edge science clear and meaningful. His new book will literally change the way you see the world. -- Bookhugger, October 2009

For entertainment value, and driving pace, Kelvin never lets the reader down. -- www.popularscience.co.uk, October 2009 --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Book Description

We Need to Talk About Kelvin, by Marcus Chown, is a hugely accessible exploration of the science of the everyday world and the universe, from the bestselling author of Quantum Theory Cannot Hurt You and The Solar System.

See all Product Description

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
It is clear why this outstanding, highly-original book is shortlisted for the Royal Society Prize for Science Books. Marcus Chown has a marvellous gift for rendering cutting-edge science extremely accessible and entertaining. His latest work is a brilliant excursion through everyday life, showing what we might learn about the universe from things we see around us, including our own reflections in window glass, the variety of chemical elements, darkness at night and so forth. From simple phenomena, Chown transports readers on spectacular journeys through the realms of quantum physics, cosmology and other topics in modern science, explaining difficult concepts in a clear, methodical fashion. He weaves each tale with fascinating and humorous anecdotes about pivotal figures such as Fred Hoyle, Wolfgang Pauli and many other scientific luminaries, as well as literary references to Blake, Whitman, Poe and others. Highly recommended!

-Paul Halpern
Author, Collider: The Search for the World's Smallest Particles
Comment 26 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There are good explanations of some of strangenesses of the physical world, though as with most books like this you get the idea that it really isn't telling you the real stuff. The real stuff is too complicated if you are not in the swim of modern physics.

I heard the author criticise Feynman because he said "If you think you understand qantum mechanics the you don't understand quantum mechanics." The author said this was not fair because anyone with a bit of application can understand quantum mechanics. The author had missed the whole point of Feynman's assertion. What he meant (I think) is that quantum mechanics is so strange that even those who are deep in its study know that their understanding is limited.

What this book CRIES OUT FOR is some diagrams. The author describes things which could easily be drawn, and which would make some parts much clearer.
2 Comments 30 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
I have really enjoyed reading this book, which is saying something because I don't usually stick it out through popular science titles. No, I'm not an artist but a physics teacher!

Chown weaves a really interesting tale of how the everyday things we see, and take for granted, are a consequence of quantum behaviour. Into this he also threads biographical information about the great scientists who discovered the 'properties' of nature. He uses excellent mind-pictures of how particles interact and what distinguishes them from each other. Finally, I found a book that describes quantum spin in approachable (if not fully detailed) terms.

If this book was reprinted with diagrams, especially for some of the wave concepts, it would be unassailable (and worth 5 stars). However, minus diagrams, it sells at a very low price for such a good book. No, I did not drop off to sleep (see 1 star review) and yes I will be buying copies for my pupils.
Comment 12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
The Sun could be made of bananas, and it wouldn't make a sod of difference to us. Though that said, it would make for tasty but rather scorched banana bread. It's not that the Sun is on fire because it's made of flammable stuff. The Sun is on fire because there is such a lot of it. The crushing force of gravity increases pressure and correspondingly heat within its contents, producing the mind-numbingly melty temperatures within.

This is one of the many surprising assertions made in We Need To Talk About Kelvin by Marcus Chown, which I mentioned receiving and enjoying last week, so I was consequently thrilled when I heard he'd be interested in guest blogging here on December 11th! YAY! So, I've read the book, and experienced no less than three Eureka moments.

Such as: Stuff is made up mostly of nothing but energy. According to Chown, if all the space were removed from atoms, the entire human race could be fit into the space of a single sugar cube. It's actually highly mysterious that I don't plummet straight through the seat on the Tube and to gory death on the tracks below, book in hand, as tiny electric forces are basically the only things holding me up. For the record, this is not a great thing to think whilst one is sitting on the Tube reading.

Which brings me neatly around to the book, of course. We Need To Talk About Kelvin, jacketed with what seems to be aggressive non-threateningness, is a book about relating everyday phenomena, such as starlight, your reflection in a window, the fact that aliens haven't enslaved everybody yet - into powerful illustrations of quantum mechanics at work in the world.
Read more ›
Comment 28 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
Fantastically interesting book,but be warned your brain will inflate and eventually burst trying to get to grips with the subject matter covered.(Not recommended for loo reading...it makes your legs go numb!)
Comment 11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
The premise of this book is that everyday observations tell us about fundamental principles in physics. Unfortunately the author doesn't always give satisfactory explanations for the phenomena he has chosen. He uses everyday phenomena as a launch pad to start explaining an aspect of physics. But once he's explained the physics he doesn't always relate it back to the initial example very well. The format also becomes a bit repetitive and seems contrived.

The book's strong point is the way the author takes you through the story of how physicists developed their ideas. But the explanations of these, admittedly tricky, concepts is sometimes a bit lacking and he occasionally makes logical leaps that are hard to follow. In his discussion of quantum physics the text becomes very dense and difficult. A few simple diagrams might have made the concepts easier to explain and understand.

All in all the book has some interesting bits, but it gives the impression of having been written in a hurry and is not well thought out.
Comment 10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews



Feedback