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Magnetism: A Very Short Introduction

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  • Posted January 12, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Magnetism is electricity¿s less appreciated twin. In our daily l

    Magnetism is electricity’s less appreciated twin. In our daily lives we only think of magnetism in the context of fridge magnets, magnetic clasps, or at most when considering the needle of the compass. However, magnetism is one of the most pervasive and useful natural phenomena, and in so many ways modern life would be unimaginable without it. 




    This very short introduction aims to give a very comprehensive account of the phenomenon of magnetism. The book goes into the history of our understanding of magnetism, describes some significant discoveries, provides theoretical explanation of magnetism, and examines some of the most significant applications of magnetism today. Some of these applications have become so ubiquitous that we don’t even think of them much any more – such as the magnetic memory that is the bases of all hard drives that are in use today. Others are a bit more obscure but no less fascinating. The book is written with a non-scientist in mind, although some degree of scientific literacy and appreciation of science will go a long way in making the most out of this material. Aside from a very short appendix, the book contains no equations and “scary” scientific graphs. There are a few neat diagrams though, that manage to explain concepts visually for those of us who like that kind of thing. Even if you are an experienced scientist, or even a physicist (like myself) you’ll find a lot of useful and intriguing tidbits of information within this short volume. This is particularly true if you happen to teach some course that deals with magnetism. 




    The writing in this book is very lucid and engaging. It is definitely one of the better-written popular science books. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who wishes to broaden his or her understanding of science. 

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