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on 11 July 2000
I read this first while doing a Physics degree in the 70's. I was impressed that such a great scientist as George Gamow could translate the complex and inside out worlds of relativity and quantum mechanics to Joe Public in such a clear and humorous way. By slowing down the speed of light to about 100 mph, he shows what would happen to the travellers and viewers of people who ride bikes and trains, and how that by living in such a weird place the uncommon becomes a way of life. Moving on to tunnelling ( a field in which Gamow achieve Nobel status) he agian shows that the seemingly impossible only remains so to those who refuse to see. Thanks George!
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on 7 May 2012
This book was recommended to me back when I was studying Physics to A Level standard. 35 years later, while some of the details may have been superseded by more recent research, the basic grounding this gives into the curious sub-atomic and relativistic views of the world still make it a great primer for both student and general readers.

In the intervening years, I have loaned my copy of this book to others who, despite know formal knowledge of the quantum principles explained here, wanted to understand that concept better. It has always taken a long time for the book to be returned as they have read it from cover to cover.

Admittedly some of the writing style makes this feel a little quaint and old-fashioned these days and for this reason, I feel it now falls short of a 5 star review. However, as an introduction to topics that are still quite challenging for new students, I don't think the stories in this book have been bettered elsewhere.
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on 6 November 2002
Gamow wrote this book out of some articles he published over 50 years ago. The basic facts of modern physics are presented through the explanations that an Einstein-looking old professor gives to a bank clerk. The dreams, nightmares and reveries of this clerk introduce you in the realms of the relativity or take you to a wild journey among quantum creatures.
There is also a revised version (The New World of Mr Tompkins) that incorporates discoveries made since the original work was published.
Easily readable by the general public this though-provoking book remains fresh and enjoyable.
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on 17 September 2003
A lovely reprinted edition of a peral from Gamow. The original edition has been out of print for a number of years. This 1993 edition has added commentary and a fascinating bio of Gamow. He was born in Odessa, in what was then Russia, --before the Soviet Union. The story of his escape to the West is straight out of a thriller. Only it is real! Gamow was referred to by a journalist, some time during the Cold War, as "the only scientist in America with a real sense of humor". He can take the most technical stuff and make it simple. Fun too! The book:--Intellectual 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. He has a building on campus named after him! 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. Gamow's list of scientific accomplishments includes a 1948 landmark paper on the origin of chemical elements, the Big Bang model, and later work with F. Crick on DNA and genetic coding.-- Do more Gamow editions, Dover!
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on 21 October 2013
I loved Mr Tompkins when I came across it in 1973, and have recommend it to many many people over the years.

A couple of years ago I looked for it for yet another student but sadly it had become a very expensive second hand book.

I'm really delighted to see it is now reissued with a comment by the author's son, and at mere £8.93 on Kindle it's must for all A-level Physics students.
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on 11 June 2015
Very well done and intriguing, this classic book (from some 60 years ago) really helps understand some very interesting things in physics. A must for anyone with curiosity in physics.
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on 5 November 2014
A fine book, let down by the Kindle edition, that has the formulae in a hard-wired small font, so they can't easily be read.
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on 5 September 2014
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