Intellectural treats, whimsy, but deep. Illustrated with lovely drawings by Gamow himself. Much of it can be understood by a child, and other parts might require a little concentration. All of it is great fun. The author Gamow started in nuclear physics, during the Golden Age of Physics, worked with Niels Bohr, then later in the US, on the Manhattan Project during WWII, and after the war, he was professor in Boulder Colorado. The books he wrote are pearls, and they have been equally popular with my parent's generation as with mine. Luckely some have been reprinted! Other Gamow titles: Biography of Physics, Atomic Energy [dedicated to the hope of lasting peace], Physics of the Strapless Evning Gown,...We are lucky that Dover has reprinted some of them. Do more Dover!
I first read this book when I was 14. It seeded my interest in science and mathematics. I really enjoyed spending several hours experimenting with the ideas in the book. It was a great introduction to the concepts of Relativity. After 26 years, and my son now turning 14, I had a feeling of nostalgia about the book. So, I bought a used copy via www.amazon.com in the USA. We are enjoying reading the book. This book is like a Hawking's 'Brief History of Time' of yesteryear! Don't hesitate - get it!
Seems that this book inspired many young people (of the not so young past) to find out more about science or become scientists and I can see why, it's well written, well organised and very informative.
Science books get old fast, yet I read this sixty years after its first publication and I find it better than other more modern books in similar topics.
The style may be a bit dated, and some theories have been proven wrong (i.e. the shape of the universe) but topics on relativity, quantum physics, non-euclidean geometry, apparatuses and major physics experiments are explained in a simple manner yet without insulting the intelligence of the reader.
The basic mathematics/calculus/statistics/geometry in the book always tie with issues in physics and how the universe works. Some parts may need a bit of concentration and re-reading but no previous knowledge is assumed.
I read this book long long ago (30 years) in a place far far away (in Chenappady, India where I was born and raised). I was in high school and Prof. Gamow introduced me to the wonders of science - everything from Fermat's last theorem to the theory of relativity to the stars and galaxies and atoms and electrons. This book influenced my career choices; it taught me to look up and wonder, to sit down and think, and to appreciate the wonders of science and the greatness of the minds of the scientists who explored and invented and dreamed up science and math. I read the book from cover to cover again recently, and I still loved it! Thank you Prof. Gamow.
I first read this book when I was thirteen and recently rediscovered it. Written in a conversational tone with many anecdotal illustrations, it is a fun introduction to math concepts, spatial math, relativity and similar matters. Not simple, but not hard either - it would be enjoyed by mathematically inclined teens or adults who have forgotten a lot of what we learned in high school and college.
On my 15th Birthday (many many years ago) I asked my aunt to buy this for me. Her response was "Are you sure?". It was a book that gave me a love of science and an interest in mathematics. From that young boy (who was not doing too well at school) I eventually became a scientist and published my own books.
The book expands the ideas of mathematical thinking and excitement of science for the lay person in a way that is easy to appreciate and even understand.
A very interesting book that I first read when in my mid to late teens. Gamow has a very interesting style of writing and considering that he was Russian this was quite an achievement. Of course, most the science promulgated at that time has since been superceded by current discoveries and thinking but much is still true and pertinent today. I wish that I was a tenth as clever as Mr. Gamow. The illustrations are also very good and funny.
This book changed my life! I wore out one copy and the second copy is showing wear also. This book led me to a life in mathematics and computer science and a 30 year teaching career. Hofstadter's "Godel, Escher, Bach" has become my more recent fount of wisdom and speculation, but I still reread "1,2,3 ..." from time to time.