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The Theoretical Minimum: What You Need to Know to Start Doing Physicsby Leonard Susskind
Synopses & Reviews
A Wall Street Journal Best Book of 2013
A world-class physicist and a citizen scientist combine forces to teach Physics 101—the DIY way
The Theoretical Minimum is a book for anyone who has ever regretted not taking physics in college—or who simply wants to know how to think like a physicist. In this unconventional introduction, physicist Leonard Susskind and hacker-scientist George Hrabovsky offer a first course in physics and associated math for the ardent amateur. Unlike most popular physics books—which give readers a taste of what physicists know but shy away from equations or math—Susskind and Hrabovsky actually teach the skills you need to do physics, beginning with classical mechanics, yourself. Based on Susskinds enormously popular Stanford University-based (and YouTube-featured) continuing-education course, the authors cover the minimum—the theoretical minimum of the title—that readers need to master to study more advanced topics.
An alternative to the conventional go-to-college method, The Theoretical Minimum provides a tool kit for amateur scientists to learn physics at their own pace.
"Readers ready to embrace their inner applied mathematician will enjoy this brisk, bare-bones introduction to classical mechanics drawn from Stanford University's 'Continuing Studies' program. Although physicist Susskind (The Black Hole War) and science advocate Hrabovsky touch briefly on electricity and magnetism, the book is primarily about mechanics and the motion of particles. The authors open with a look at closed and open systems and the reversibility of physical laws, a concept central to the field. Next are rigorous chapters on trigonometry and vectors, and a no-nonsense intro to differential and integral calculus, and how these tools are used to calculate the motion of objects through space. Not for the faint of heart, successive chapters introduce Newton's law of motion, the complex mathematics of 'systems' of particles, phase space, conservation of momentum, and the Principle of Least Action, which allows scientists to 'package' a system's velocity, mass, direction, and forces into a single function. The authors intend this book as a toolkit for determined readers who want to teach themselves basic mechanics. Although their discussions are clear enough, even the hardiest reader will want to bring a basic calculus text along for the journey. 62 line drawings. Agent: Katinka Matson, Brockman, Inc." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
A Wall Street Journal Best Book of 2013
If you ever regretted not taking physics in college—or simply want to know how to think like a physicist—this is the book for you. In this bestselling introduction, physicist Leonard Susskind and hacker-scientist George Hrabovsky offer a first course in physics and associated math for the ardent amateur. Challenging, lucid, and concise, The Theoretical Minimum provides a tool kit for amateur scientists to learn physics at their own pace.
In The Theoretical Minimum, physicist Leonard Susskind and hacker-scientist George Hrabovsky offer a first course and associated math for the ardent amateur. Popular physics books give readers a taste of what physicists know, but shy away from teaching the skills required to do the work. By contrast, Susskind and Hrabovsky cover the minimum--the theoretical minimum of the title--that readers need to study more advanced topics. Beginning with classical mechanics, the work ends with discussions of electromagnetic fields and chaos theory. An alternative to the go-to-college method, The Theoretical Minimum offers a tool kit for amateur scientists to learn physics at their own pace.
About the Author
Leonard Susskind has been the Felix Bloch Professor in theoretical physics at Stanford University since 1978. The author of The Cosmic Landscape and The Black Hole War, he is a member of the National Academy of Science and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the recipient of numerous prizes including the science writing prize of the American Institute of Physics for his Scientific American article on black holes. He lives in Palo Alto, California.
George Hrabovsky is a hacker-physicist in Wisconsin involved in as citizen science, or the community of individuals who do science at home. Since May 1999 he has been the president of Madison Area Science and Technology (MAST), a nonprofit organization dedicated to scientific and technological research and education. He lives in Madison, Wisconsin.
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