E=mc2: A Biography of the World's Most Famous Equation

E=mc2: A Biography of the World's Most Famous Equation

by David Bodanis
3.9 20

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E=Mc2: A Biography of the World's Most Famous Equation 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
lit-in-the-last-frontier More than 1 year ago
Quick Version: This book is a well laid out explanation of each part of the equation, its history, and its role in our universe. Long Version: The genesis of David Bodanis' book was an interview he read in which actress Cameron Diaz expressed the desire-serious or in jest-to know what E=mc² really meant. Bodanis realized that the truth is that very few people have even a rudimentary knowledge of the usefulness of the world's most famous equation; this book is his attempt to rectify that. The format chosen is an interesting one. Those who are true novices to physics-or lack interest in pursuing the equation beyond the basics-can read the front half of the book and walk away far more knowledgeable than they were when they picked it up. After a brief introduction to the time and place in which Einstein generated the paper which introduce the theory to the scientific world, Bodanis goes on to break down the equation and discuss each of its parts separately. What do they mean, and how do they interact with each other? The reader is then led on a quick trip through history with regards to how the scientific community used the theory-the race to be the first to build "The Bomb" during World War II. Finally, the author discusses the theory in our universe. Those not interested in a brain drain of a read would still likely read the Epilogue, which discusses what else Einstein did, and the interesting appendix, which gives closure regarding the other key participants. Of particular interest with regards to the structure of the book are the notes. If you would like to know more details (and are not afraid of either the odd equation or in depth descriptions), Bodanis suggests that you read the notes, where he has taken things a bit further. It is here that I have a bone to pick. The format that was chosen was that of endnotes, as opposed to footnotes. When endnotes are used, there is absolutely no indication within the text that there is a back of the book furtherance of the topic-two members of our book club did not even realize they were there and thus missed the opportunity to add to their reading experience. For those readers that do choose to read the endnotes concurrent with the front half of the book, you are left constantly flipping between the text and the notes to see if you have reached the next note (they are listed by page number). This is extremely disruptive to the flow of a book which requires some level of concentration to read and annoyed me to no end. Footnotes within the text would have been grand. As a side note, a member of our group tried to read the e-reader version. Footnotes would have enabled her to flip from text to notes with ease. As it was, she quickly gave up on trying to maneuver between the two. The final section, a guide to further reading, is one of the finest source guides I have ever seen. Books are divided into categories and are each given a paragraph of explanation designed to help the reader ascertain if they are a good fit for their reading list. Bodanis tops off his two leveled read with one final feat-he has a website to which he directs the serious student for further, more in depth, study. Whether you are interested in a basic explanation of a complicated theory, have a fascination with physics and would like to know more, or would like to go beyond your high school physics knowledge, this book is likely to fit your need.
jcubedJJ More than 1 year ago
Good Book, neat subject.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anyone, particularly anyone without a background in physics, who has ever sat under a star lit sky and wondered how it all works, will find this book enlightening, informative, entertaining, and just a doggone good read. It is, without a doubt, the best simplified explanation of e=mc2 I have ever read. This book offers not only a lay-accessible explanation of the theory, but an outstanding review of real world applications. Great for the lay scientist and history enthusiast alike.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Although this book is some years old, I recently picked off a used shelf and was glad to find that I had wasted only $6. It is really not much of an effort to explain the physics, the developers or the times which have surrounded Einstein's work. Much of the explantion use examples or situations which demonstrate that the author is baised against many of the 'conservative' elements of cultures, applictions of physics (eg the bomb, atomic power, etc). The chapters on the WW2 effort are very clearly slanted and tell a very biased version of the atomic bombs development etc. Stick to Rhodes or Clark for the war effort or Enstein and to real scientific efforts to explain relativity to the lay audienbce
Guest More than 1 year ago
First, I really enjoyed this book. It was different from other typical science book. This book explains what the E=mc2 means with some biography backgrounds. This book was not about pure science or math. It was about history which enabled Einstein to develop this equation. This book focuses on the ¡°historical background¡± not on the scientist. This book has five chapters: Birth, Ancestors of E=mc2, the early years, Adulthood, and Till the End of Timer. In chapter two, there are some famous scientists who show how the letters come out and what those mean. They even show how ¡°=¡± and ¡°^2¡± came out. I think that you should read this book if you have chance to read because it will expand and let you know about the law of Relativity. As I am reading this book, I was surprised because even I who do not like to read enjoyed this book a lot. I guarantee that you will enjoy this book and you will learn about Einstein and the greatest equation, E=mc2. Lastly, if you want some mathematical book, I would not recommend you to read this book. This is about the history, so you can look for other books that have some pure mathematic equation and sciences topics. After reading this book, you will feel you are the intelligent.
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E=mc¿ states that energy equals matter going at the speed of light squared.
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BassmanDC More than 1 year ago
I was skeptical, but after the first few paragraphs, i was pulled in. Mr Bodanis has written a highly entertaining and informative look at the most famous equation in the world. I initially thought it would be dry reading, but it was far from it. He delves into the past for insight, and brings characters from history to life.
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