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Other titles in the Great Discoveries series:
Einstein's Cosmos: How Albert Einstein's Vision Transformed Our Understanding of Space and Time (Great Discoveries)
Synopses & Reviews
How did Albert Einstein come up with the theories that changed the way we look at the world? By thinking in pictures. Michio Kaku?leading theoretical physicist and best-selling science storyteller?shows how Einstein used seemingly simple images to lead a revolution in science. Daydreaming about racing a beam of light led to the special theory of relativity and the equation E=mc2. Thinking about a man falling led to the general theory of relativity?giving us black holes and the Big Bang. Einstein's failure to come up with a theory that would unify relativity and quantum mechanics stemmed from his lacking an apt image. Even in failure, however, Einstein's late insights have led to new avenues of research as well as to the revitalization of the quest for a "Theory of Everything." With originality and expertise, Kaku uncovers the surprising beauty that lies at the heart of Einstein's cosmos.
"This latest entry in the Great Discoveries series which takes a detailed look at Einstein's role in the development of quantum physics. Kaku, host of the nationally broadcast radio program Explorations, presents a well-sketched-out yet concise account of Einstein's life. Kaku excels, as did his subject, in drawing word pictures that illustrate in everyday language complicated subjects like the photoelectric effect, Brownian motion, and special and general relativity. The public and the press were always drawn to Einstein because he presented his theories in language that the average person could understand. Even when writing for his colleagues, as Kaku points out, he strove for simplicity of expression: his equation describing the structure of the universe is only an inch long. For a half-century after Einstein's death, the standard account was that he had frittered away the last years of his career trying to find a unified field theory, hanging on like a drowning man to the bark of determinism while the Copenhagen school sailed off in many directions by applying probabilistic methods to the inner workings of the atom. In his final chapter, Kaku shows that in fact Einstein's activities in his final years anticipated recent advances such as detecting gravitational waves, 'supersymmetry' and even the attempt to reconcile science with religion. This accessible biography is recommended to readers eager, but never quite able, to understand what this relativity business is all about." Publishers Weekly
Book News Annotation:
Kaku (physics, City University of New York) has written a physicists' biography of a physicist—recounting the facts of Einstein's life but spending little energy analyzing, debating, or speculating on his personal life. Instead, the subjects he makes accessible to a lay audience are those of the most interest to physicists: the astonishing depth and subtlety of Einstein's theories, and especially the deceptively simple physical intuitions that guided them. Einstein's life is skillfully woven into the explication of his theories, but the structure of the book reflects Kaku's intention. The first part is dominated by special relativity, with additional material on pre- Einsteinian physics and Einstein's early years; the second is concerned with general relativity; and the third is about Einstein's attempts to unify general relativity and quantum physics, as well as his experiences in World War II.
Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Michio Kaku?leading theoretical physicist and bestselling science storyteller?shows how Einstein used seemingly simple images to lead a revolution in science.
In paperback for the centenary of the discovery of relativity, "a fresh and highly visual tour through Einstein's astonishing legacy" (Brian Greene).
A dazzling tour of the universe as Einstein saw it.
The year 2005 marks the 100th anniversary of the publication of the paper that launched Einstein's career, made E=mc2 famous, and ushered in a revolution in science'"the paper that announced the theory of special relativity. And there's no better short book that explains just what Einstein did than Einstein's Cosmos. Keying Einstein's crucial discoveries to the simple mental images that inspired them, Michio Kaku finds a revealing new way to discuss these ideas, and delivers an appealing and always accessible introduction to Einstein's work.
About the Author
Michio Kaku, Henry Semat Professor of Theoretical Physics at the City University of New York, is the author of Hyperspace, Visions, and Beyond Einstein. He hosts Explorations, a nationally broadcast radio show. He lives in New York City.
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