We Need to Talk About Kelvin: What everyday things tell us about the universe Paperback – 2 Sep 2010
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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.
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
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Top Customer Reviews
Author, Collider: The Search for the World's Smallest Particles
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.
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.
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 ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Bought this as my latest "bathroom" book. Just love this type of book where you can dip in and out for as little or as long as you like. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Khad
Chown is always brilliant. Can turn Englih Lit adults like me into science literates.Published 15 months ago by Mrs. Gillian Gabel
It's a while since I read this, but I actually bought it for my teenage son to try and inspire him with some science reading. It worked for me, but I'm already a convert. Read morePublished 18 months ago by TONY MEREDITH
I bought the book Quantum Theory Cannot Hurt by Marcus Chown you which I found very interesting and easy to understand. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Salty Sam
not as simple or interesting as the author claims. worthy effort. old adage true that the more we know the more we see how little we know. Read morePublished on 12 July 2014 by Richard Powell
I really like Marcus Chown and have read a couple of his books, which over all I could understand relatively easily. Read morePublished on 5 Jun. 2014 by Amazon Customer