Why Does E=mc2?: (And Why Should We Care?)

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Overview

Professors Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw embark on an illuminating journey to the frontier of cutting-edge, twenty-first century science to consider the real meaning behind the iconic sequence of symbols that comprise Albert Einstein's most famous equation, E=mc[superscript 2], Breaking down the symbols themselves, Cox and Forshaw pose a series of questions: What is energy? What is mass? What has the speed of light got to do with energy and mass?

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Why Does E=mc2?: (And Why Should We Care?)

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Overview

Professors Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw embark on an illuminating journey to the frontier of cutting-edge, twenty-first century science to consider the real meaning behind the iconic sequence of symbols that comprise Albert Einstein's most famous equation, E=mc[superscript 2], Breaking down the symbols themselves, Cox and Forshaw pose a series of questions: What is energy? What is mass? What has the speed of light got to do with energy and mass?

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
British theoretical physicists Cox and Forshaw offer lay readers a fascinating account of modern scientists' view of the world, and how it got that way. Without using complicated mathematics, Cox and Forshaw show how the search for "mathematical consistency" can guide scientists in finding the "laws that describe physical reality." The authors provide the historical context that set the stage for Einstein's discovery, providing an easy-to-grasp explanation of counterintuitive experimental evidence, demonstrating how the speed of light acts as a "cosmic speed limit," the exception that proves the rule of relativity. The authors also clearly explain the tide shift that Einstein caused, transforming scientists' understanding of the world-"common-sense notions regarding space and time are dashed and replaced by something entirely new, unexpected, and elegant." Though the basics are covered in detail, there's plenty here for science buffs to ponder.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
From the Publisher

Blogcritics.org, 8/22/10
“Cox and Forshaw make a good point in stating that space, time, and even nature are contained within the equation…Although the theory might be tricky, the authors show they understand readers are not on their level. By going one step at a time, the buildup ensures each chuck is absorbed slowly rather than all at once.”

Booktrade.info, 8/24/10
“This book takes the world’s most famous equation apart and puts it back together again in a way that is lively and understandable.  We were delighted to find our knowledge of equations—long forgotten since leaving school for some of us—reinvigorated and felt ourselves rediscovering our enjoyment of mathematics.”
 

Choice, September 2010
“Thorough, engaging.”
 

New Scientist, 8/28/10
“Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw tackle the most famous equation of all time in a remarkable comprehensible way…The pair make some surprising points that I haven’t seen expressed in quite the same way…Well worth a read.”
 
January, 8/16/10
“Particle physics professor Brian Cox and professor of theoretical physics, Jeff Forshaw are clearly trained to have the answers. But here's something that training as a physicist simply can not teach: they deliver their message not only clearly, but with a deep and resonant humor.”
 

BiblioBuffet.com
“[Cox and Forshaw are] good communicators overall (they find understandable ways of explaining most concepts) and they have important things to say…What’s important about this book is not that it says something new about science. It’s that it gives a primer for understanding how a certain type of scientist sees the universe.”
 

New YorkJournal of Books
“[An] easy-to-read little book…[Cox and Forshaw] very cleverly introduce all the ideas we will need to get to the world’s most famous equation, E=mc2. What is more, they focus on the most puzzling part: the question of what c, the speed of light, is doing in there…Their arguments are so presented so clearly…It is to their credit that they do not always hide the complexity nor the long history of ideas behind relativity…It is also to their credit that they make the case, as Feynman and others have done before them, that, at some level, the weirdness of the universe just has to be accepted…Will help school science teachers as much as it will their students.”
 

The Guardian, 10/18/10
“The reader is in supremely capable hands with Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw…For anyone afraid of technicalities, Cox and Forshaw lead the reader by the hand through the complexity, adding in rest stops of wit and real-world examples. Even the hardest bits feel like being taken on an army assault course by the two friendliest drill sergeants in the world. You may have to read some bits twice but, boy, will you feel better for it once the insights become clear. In the process of exposing the science, the authors do a good job of showing how the hard end of research works: abandon all assumptions and re-build everything from scratch.”

London
Daily Telegraph, 10/19/10
“[A] brilliant exposition of Einstein’s famous equation… [Gives] a fresh understanding of Einstein’s genius. A truly impressive achievement.”

The Independent,
10/20/10

“Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw take Einstein's description of the relationship between energy and matter, pull it apart and put it together again, with some detours into space and time along the way. Not an easy read, but not an easy subject.”
 

Nature, 10/28/10
“Provide[s] an accessible explanation of Einstein’s iconic equation.”
 

CapeTimes (South Africa),11/5/10
“Fans of the physical sciences will undoubtedly enjoy this read…The true success of Why Does E=mc2? lies in Cox and Forshaw having made the most esoteric of ideas…accessible to the layman…The pair manage to hold their readers' hands as they skip through the figures and facts—without patronizing them—to create a logical map between theory and consequence.”
 

MidwestBook Review, December 2010
“An easy survey of science for non-scientists.”

LondonTimes (UK), 1/6/11
Name one of the “Top 10 Science Books of 2010.”
 
The Scotsman (Scotland), 12/11/10
Named one of the “Top Reads of 2010.”

 

The Bookseller, UK, 3/25/11
“[Cox] will join an elite group of just eight authors who’ve penned a science book that has sold in six figures.”

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780306817588
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press
  • Publication date: 7/14/2009
  • Edition description: None
  • Pages: 264
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author


Brian Cox is a distinguished particle physicist and popular TV host who divides his time between Manchester, England, and Geneva, Switzerland.

Jeff Forshaw is a professor at the University of Manchester and a recipient of the Institute of Physics Maxwell Medal. He lives in Manchester, England.

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Table of Contents

1 Space and Time 1

2 The Speed of Light 17

3 Special Relativity 37

4 Spacetime 57

5 Why does E=mc[superscript 2]? 103

6 And Why Should We Care? Of Atoms, Mousetraps, and the Power of the Stars 143

7 The Origin of Mass 171

8 Warping Spacetime 219

Index 243

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 61 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(35)

4 Star

(11)

3 Star

(7)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

(4)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 61 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2010

    very well presented

    They did an exceptional job of presenting this complex topic in down to earth language that explained it far better than any of my physics courses in college.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 28, 2009

    Great book but...

    I thought the book was great. It really made you think about stuff that maybe a "regular guy" just doesn't get around to thinking about during his typical craziness that is life. I try to read as much science/philosophy books as I can and the chapter about life was particularly fascinating.

    The only thing about the book that I must say really against it (the "but" part of my headline) is that I think it might come across slightly as one of those heretical conspiracy-type books. When the author discusses things such as life on Mars and the supposed cover up/backtracking of everything it gets to sounding like its on the verge some crazy who has an ax to grind with anyone and anything. Again, this is very slight. It is NOT one of those "the CIA knows everything and we are just the sheep" type books-not even close. It does however, leave that kind of aftertaste after reading a couple of those chapters.

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 18, 2012

    Either the equations are messed up or the symbols don't translat

    Either the equations are messed up or the symbols don't translate correctly in the electronic version. The authors say they are going to explain relativity using math no more complex than the pythagorean theorum and then claim it isn't a book about "maths" when they produce a result without explaining how they got there. At a minimum there should be an appendix showing the calculation.

    But that isn't the worst part. The authors add symbols without telling you what they are or where they came from. So, on p. 38, the square root of 1/ (c squared - ^ squared) becomes 1/ square root c squared ^ v squared. Huh? Where did v come from? Is it a variable, an operator, what? We don't know because the authors don't say. We know it doesn't mean velocity, because that's what ^ is defined as. Confusing enough, but then further down the same page, the square root c squared ^ v squared becomes ^squared/ c squared, again with no explanation. Thanks for the "maths" lesson guys.


    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2014

    How sad.

    .

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2014

    To All

    My cousin was the eight year old boy. We were super close. I was there when he died. We were watching the race and then the bombs went off. I lost my leg, but he died. I always look back on that day, wishing it was me instead who died. I loved him so much. I know some of you think that we should forgive the bombers, for what they did was an innocent mishap, but they will never be forgiven by me. I loved my cousin. He loved me. I broke down at his funeral. My mom was mad because she was embarassed by what i did. I dont care because then everyone knew how much i love him. I sometimes wish i could go back to that day d kill those men. I wear purple everyday. People wonder why, but i do it anyway. Im glad so many people care.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2013

    I care

    Im gonnwear purple tomorrow

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2013

    I care...

    I have a prayer request... my teacher is going to the Eugene marathon in Oregon. I am worried that there will be another bombing...

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2013

    I care

    I think that the guy who did this is a horrible sicko ho probably just wanted to get famous fr doing it and i alo think hes some guy from korea whos trying to help his country. Not to be racist or anything....

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2013

    I care!

    What happened was awful, it should never have happened, lets just hope it doesnt happen again, the salt lake marathon is scaring alot of people, but many chose to run just to suppirt Boston. Good luck everyone!

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2013

    I CARE

    WHAT HAPPEND IN BOSTON WAS TERRIBLE AND I LIVE ONE HOUR FROM FARGO ND AND THE FARGO MARITHON WILL BE HAPPENING SOON AND ON APRIL 10TH MY DISTENT COUSIN(AND I MEAN DISTANT)HIS GRANDMA WAS KILLED BY A CROSSBOW AND WHEN THE POLCE GOT THERE SHE WAS DEAD :(((((((((((((((((((

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2013

    I CARE.....so messed up

    Its so sad so many messed up things..... a guy came into our mall and shot 2 the same this same week........the worlds pretty messed up right now

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2013

    I CARE

    I care a ton. It's so sad. An eight year old died, the last thing he did was hug his father as he crossed the finish line :*( the women who died, her boyfriend was planning on proposing.....i feel so bad it's just so sad! (P.s. I don't own any purple but i wear a TON of blue)

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2013

    I care

    I knew three people in boston. One was a little girl and she was killed. The other two are in the hospital

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2013

    The army should SERIOUSLY take out the North Koreans' nuclear weapon.

    I'm not saying they did the bombing, but if they keep saying they're going to annihilate us, we should go in and bomb some of their stuff that they would use for a nuclear missle.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2013

    I care.

    I care because in October my homeroom teacher resigned. I care because in December, my science teacher resigned because her mom died. I care because then in January my beloved math teacher died. I care because then Newtown happened. I care because in March my Latin teacher's mother died. And then Boston Marathon bombings happened. I know how to it is to mourn. I have been mourning since December. I care. But I think it is time to stop the violence. We need strict gun and explosives control. We can carry our pocketknives on planes, but still no liquids. We need to look out for our people. The government needs to adress this topic. Write to your senators, write to the President. Anyone who agrees, put this sign somewhere: +. (@,+)

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2013

    I CARE!!!!

    I didn't know anyone in Boston, but I am praying for the dead and wounded. Also, their families. I am glad that they killed one of the brothers that set the bombs off. And guess what? While his brother was trying to get away, he ran over his dead brother's body in a car!!! LOL ~Elie

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2013

    I care and to below

    Some of my parents friends were there but they are fine. What happened was that some guys put bombs near the finish line of the boston marathon.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2013

    To annomous

    True in the bible jesus forgives the people who are crucifying him.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2013

    I CARE ENOUGH TO POST HERE@@@

    I think its terrible that all those people died when the bombers came to boston. But think about what this is showing us. other countries hate America and we dont have a good enough security system to save all those people. We need to step up and put our foot down. There have been too many bombings in these few generations that have passed. Its time we stand up for ourselves and save the people in the future who might be affected by the bombs. Its our time to save the future!!! (Post a @ somewhere in your post if you agree)

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2013

    I care

    It's so sad. I will so wear purple tommorow.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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