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John Katzman"Everyone talks about the beauty and elegance of physics, but this is the first beautiful and elegant physics book."
—founder of The Princeton Review
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Posted March 30, 2006
'Categories on the Beauty of Physics' is a science book for the literary and art minded person. The book is an all around delight. The pages are heavy, glossy paper and all the original art and the reproductions are in full color. The book is composed of 39 'chapters.' Each chapter is a term used in physics from acceleration to force to mass to work. The chapter begins with a passage from a book that illustrates the term under discussion. The passages come from science books and literature as well as philosophy and psychology. To give you an idea, Ben Franklin is used for electricity 'Don Quixote' for entropy 'Hamlet' for uncertainty. The passage is then followed by a dictionary definition of the term. Next is an original piece of collage art followed by a physicist's single page explanation of the concept, a list of related terms in the book, and the equation (if there is one). Next comes a section called 'Think About It' that supplements the physicist's explanation and includes related themes. After this is 'Read About It.' This is my favorite section because it lists two or three books and sometimes films, that further illustrate the concept. All recommended materials were verified by the editors to be readily found in libraries and bookstores. To be sure, quite a number of science books are suggested, but none of them are textbooks or for a specialized audience. But not all of the books are science books. For example, in the chapter on energy, the books recommended are 'Nuclear Madness: What You Can Do' by Helen Caldicott and 'Physics for Poets' by Robert March. The 'Read About It' section is followed by 'Talk About It.' Here can be found questions to ponder and discuss such as a few found in 'Entropy' which ask 'Is decay always undesirable? Can entropy be seen as the progression from whole to particulate? Are rare objects precious because they cannot be remade or regenerated?' Once your brain is whirling from the questions, there is a photo of a work of art that further illustrates the term. For instance, Mary Cassatt's 'The Bath' is used for the 'Orbit' chapter. The chapter concludes with a short 'review' of the book from which the chapter's opening passage was taken. At the back of the book, the editors kindly provide a bibliography that includes all of these books as well as all of the books from the 'Read About It' sections. And let me just say, my TBR list has several new additions. What I liked about this book is that it not only makes the concepts easy to understand, but it also provides a wider context for them. I've not come across any other book that can bring a concept like 'particle' to life in science (atoms, electrons, dark matter), art ('A Sunday in La Grande Jatte' by Seurat) and literature ('Swann's Way' by Proust). It really shows the interconnections between art and science and just how much they depend upon each other. 'Catergories on the Beauty of Physics' is definitely worth your time.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 1, 2006
I just purchased a copy of 'Catagories On The Beauty of Physics,' and can not reccommend it highly enough. As did most of us, I studied the rudiments of physics in high school, but came away with only a minimal understanding of physical law, and a general desire to steer clear of the subject in the future. As an adult however, and most certainly as a parent, I have found myself wanting to understand more completely (and more confidently) how aspects of the natural world function and interact. In H.T. Hamann's book, concepts of physics are not just presented and explained in a clear and utterly comprehensible manner, they are then linked to works of art and literature in a seemless and sensitive, and frequently thrilling presentation. The book itself is beautifully and meticulously compiled, with the care and thoughtfulness that went into it's production evident on every page. What an amazing experience reading this book has been, for me as well as for my family. As the title implies (and as I am now able to appreciate), Physics is truly a thing of beauty.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 16, 2006
One of the most outstanding blends of art and science ever achieved. Accessible, fascinating text combines with alluring, lush art -- both classics from the world's greatest artists, as well as dozens of new work from the hand of master collage artist John Morse -- to create a new genre of literature. Bravo.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.