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For the Love of Physics: From the End of the Rainbow to the Edge of Time - A Journey Through the Wonders of Physicsby Walter Lewin
Synopses & Reviews
"You have changed my life" is a common refrain in the emails Walter Lewin receives daily from fans who have been enthralled by his world-famous video lectures about the wonders of physics. “I walk with a new spring in my step and I look at life through physics-colored eyes,” wrote one such fan. When Lewins lectures were made available online, he became an instant YouTube celebrity, and The New York Times declared, “Walter Lewin delivers his lectures with the panache of Julia Child bringing French cooking to amateurs and the zany theatricality of YouTubes greatest hits.”
For more than thirty years as a beloved professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Lewin honed his singular craft of making physics not only accessible but truly fun, whether putting his head in the path of a wrecking ball, supercharging himself with three hundred thousand volts of electricity, or demonstrating why the sky is blue and why clouds are white. Now, as Carl Sagan did for astronomy and Brian Green did for cosmology, Lewin takes readers on a marvelous journey in For the Love of Physics, opening our eyes as never before to the amazing beauty and power with which physics can reveal the hidden workings of the world all around us. “I introduce people to their own world,” writes Lewin, “the world they live in and are familiar with but don't approach like a physicist — yet.”
Could it be true that we are shorter standing up than lying down? Why can we snorkel no deeper than about one foot below the surface? Why are the colors of a rainbow always in the same order, and would it be possible to put our hand out and touch one? Whether introducing why the air smells so fresh after a lightning storm, why we briefly lose (and gain) weight when we ride in an elevator, or what the big bang would have sounded like had anyone existed to hear it, Lewin never ceases to surprise and delight with the extraordinary ability of physics to answer even the most elusive questions.
Recounting his own exciting discoveries as a pioneer in the field of X-ray astronomy — arriving at MIT right at the start of an astonishing revolution in astronomy — he also brings to life the power of physics to reach into the vastness of space and unveil exotic uncharted territories, from the marvels of a supernova explosion in the Large Magellanic Cloud to the unseeable depths of black holes.
“For me,” Lewin writes, “physics is a way of seeing — the spectacular and the mundane, the immense and the minute — as a beautiful, thrillingly interwoven whole.” His wonderfully inventive and vivid ways of introducing us to the revelations of physics impart to us a new appreciation of the remarkable beauty and intricate harmonies of the forces that govern our lives.
"For the Love of Physics captures Walter Lewin&'s extraordinary intellect, passion for physics and brilliance as a teacher. Hopefully, this book will bring even more people into the orbit of this extraordinary educator and scientist." Bill Gates
"Walter Lewin's unabashed passion for physics shines through every page of this colorful, largely autobiographical tour of science. The excitement of discovery is infectious." Mario Livio, author of The Golden Ratio and Is God A Mathematician?
"Fascinating....A delightful scientific memoir combined with a memorable introduction to physics." Kirkus
"MIT's Lewin is deservedly popular for his memorable physics lectures (both live and on MIT's Open Course Web site and YouTube), and this quick-paced autobiography-cum-physics intro fully captures his candor and lively teaching style...joyful...[this text] glows with energy and should please a wide range of readers." Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"As the hundreds of thousands of students who have witnessed [Lewin's] lectures in person or online can attest, this classroom wizard transforms textbook formulas into magic....Lewin's rare creativity shines through...a passport to adventure." Booklist (starred review)
Now in paperback, “For the Love of Physics captures Walter Lewin’s extraordinary intellect, passion for physics, and brilliance as a teacher” (Bill Gates).
Universally praised for the remarkably fun, inventive, and often wacky ways in which Walter Lewin brings the joys of physics to life — from super-charging a tricycle with a fire extinguisher to risking his life by putting his head in the path of a swinging wrecking ball — For the Love of Physics takes readers on a marvelous journey, opening our eyes as never before to the amazing beauty and power of all that physics can reveal to us, from the coolest, weirdest features of the tiniest bits of matter, to the wonders of our everyday lives. Lewin provides superbly clear and simple explanations of phenomena we’ve always wondered about, such as why rainbows form and why lightning strikes, as well as those beyond the wildest realms of imagination, such as what the Big Bang sounded like. A wonderful raconteur, Lewin always entertains as he edifies, and For the Love of Physics is a rare gem that will change the way readers see the world.
For more than forty years as a beloved professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Walter Lewin honed his singular craft of making physics not only accessible but truly fun. Now Lewin takes readers on a marvelous journey in For the Love of Physics, opening our eyes as never before to the amazing beauty and power with which physics can reveal the hidden workings of the world around us.
Whether introducing why the air smells so fresh after a lightning storm, or what the big bang would have sounded like, Lewin never ceases to surprise and delight with the extraordinary ability of physics to answer even the most elusive questions.
About the Author
Walter Lewin taught the three core classes in physics at MIT for more than thirty years and made major discoveries in the area of X-ray astronomy. His physics lectures have been the subject of great acclaim, including a 60 Minutes feature, stories in the New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Newsweek and US News and World Report. They have also been top draws on YouTube and iTunes University. He was awarded three prizes for excellence in undergraduate teaching. He has published more than 450 scientific articles, and his honors and awards include the NASA Award for Exceptional Scientific Achievement, the Alexander von Humboldt Award, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He became a corresponding member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences and Fellow of the American Physical Society in 1993. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Warren Goldstein is a professor of history and chair of the History Department at the University of Hartford. A prizewinning historian, essayist, and journalist, he has had a lifelong fascination with physics. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune and many other national periodicals. His prior books include Playing for Keeps: A History of Early Baseball and William Sloane Coffin, Jr.: A Holy Impatience.
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