Physics: An Illustrated History of the Foundations of Science

Physics: An Illustrated History of the Foundations of Science

by Tom Jackson


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Here is the fourth book in the successful Ponderables™ series. Physics: An Illustrated History of Physics lays out the story of this science through the thoughts and deeds of its greatest thinkers and focuses on 100 of their most significant stories. Each story relates a confounding puzzle each thinker faced that became a discovery and changed the way we see the world. We call these Ponderables™.

Knowledge does not arrive fully formed, it requires many minds to puzzle over the evidence and, step by step, edge ever closer to the truth. Here we track the history of Physics, the field of enquiry that investigates the very foundations of Nature and without which all other sciences would be meaningless.

Our story shows how great physicists uncovered the truths about the Universe. In the 6th century BCE, Thales of Miletus, a philosopher from ancient Greece, refused to accept explanations for natural phenomena that did not match up with what he could observe himself. With that, the seeds of a new way of thinking were sewn. Today we call it science. It would take centuries to grow, and the many branches of modern science all stem from a central core of understanding. This is physics.

Physics deals with basics—space, matter, energy—and combines them to create forces, motion, heat, light and everything else in the Universe. The development of physics is a story of many chapters, each adding to our understanding of the way the Universe functions:

  • Archimedes has the original Eureka moment while taking a bath when he figures out the way objects float or sink.
  • Galileo discovered the principles of pendulums while watching a lamp swing in church.
  • Isaac Newton realized that the force holding the Moon in orbit was the same one that made apples fall from trees.
  • Otto von Guericke pits a team of horses against the power of air pressure—and the air wins.
  • By complete accident, Luigi Galvani turns freshly cut frogs legs into a simple battery and sparks humankind's link to electricity.
  • Heinrich Hertz invents a way to send and receive invisible radio waves, and his name is immortalized in the frequencies of the world's radio stations.
  • In just one miraculous year, Albert Einstein provides the first observable proof that atoms exist, reveals the mechanism behind light, and explains how space and time are really the same thing!
  • Richard Feynman figured out how subatomic particles behave while watching a student spin a lunch plate.

These physicists and many like them have changed the way we picture the Universe. As we study the stuff of nature in ever-closer detail, what will we see next?

With over three hundred exciting and historical illustrations, Physics: An Illustrated History of the Foundations of Science presents a history of this science in an original and entertaining way, and includes:

  • The life and works of the great physicists who changed the world
  • One hundred Ponderables™, the puzzles solved and inspirations reached, that tells the story of physics to the present day.
  • A glimpse of the Imponderables, the mysteries still to be solved!
  • Includes a removable foldout concertina neatly housed at the back of the book.
  • On the front side of this concertina, is a 12-page removable timeline which embeds the story of physics in historical context and allows the reader to see who did what when at a glance and what other great events were happening at the same time.
  • On the back of the timeline, take a look deeper inside physics and see how we measure the Universe.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780985323066
Publisher: Shelter Harbor Press
Publication date: 10/28/2013
Pages: 168
Sales rank: 1,234,696
Product dimensions: 9.50(w) x 10.90(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Tom Jackson is a science author based in the United Kingdom. He has written more than 80 books and contributed to many more, covering everything from axolotls to Zoroastrianism. He studied zoology at the University of Bristol, and still lives in the city with his wife and three children, where he can be found mainly in the attic.

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