Synopses & Reviews
The most accessible, entertaining, and enlightening explanation of the best-known physics equation in the world, as rendered by two of today's leading scientists.
Professor Brian Cox and Professor Jeff Forshaw go on a journey to the frontier of 21st century science to consider the real meaning behind the iconic sequence of symbols that make up Einstein's most famous equation, E=mc2. Breaking down the symbols themselves, they pose a series of questions: What is energy? What is mass? What has the speed of light got to do with energy and mass? In answering these questions, they take us to the site of one of the largest scientific experiments ever conducted. Lying beneath the city of Geneva, straddling the Franco-Swiss boarder, is a 27 km particle accelerator, known as the Large Hadron Collider. Using this gigantic machine--which can recreate conditions in the early Universe fractions of a second after the Big Bang--Cox and Forshaw will describe the current theory behind the origin of mass.
Alongside questions of energy and mass, they will consider the third, and perhaps, most intriguing element of the equation: 'c' - or the speed of light. Why is it that the speed of light is the exchange rate? Answering this question is at the heart of the investigation as the authors demonstrate how, in order to truly understand why E=mc2, we first must understand why we must move forward in time and not backwards and how objects in our 3-dimensional world actually move in 4-dimensional space-time. In other words, how the very fabric of our world is constructed. A collaboration between two of the youngest professors in the UK, Why Does E=mc2? promises to be one of the most exciting and accessible explanations of the theory of relativity in recent years.
“Cox and Forshaw make a good point in stating that space, time, and even nature are contained within the equation…Although the theory might be tricky, the authors show they understand readers are not on their level. By going one step at a time, the buildup ensures each chuck is absorbed slowly rather than all at once.”Booktrade.info, 8/24/10
“This book takes the world’s most famous equation apart and puts it back together again in a way that is lively and understandable. We were delighted to find our knowledge of equations—long forgotten since leaving school for some of us—reinvigorated and felt ourselves rediscovering our enjoyment of mathematics.” Choice, September 2010“Thorough, engaging.” New Scientist, 8/28/10“Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw tackle the most famous equation of all time in a remarkable comprehensible way…The pair make some surprising points that I haven’t seen expressed in quite the same way…Well worth a read.” January, 8/16/10“Particle physics professor Brian Cox and professor of theoretical physics, Jeff Forshaw are clearly trained to have the answers. But here's something that training as a physicist simply can not teach: they deliver their message not only clearly, but with a deep and resonant humor.” BiblioBuffet.com“[Cox and Forshaw are] good communicators overall (they find understandable ways of explaining most concepts) and they have important things to say…What’s important about this book is not that it says something new about science. It’s that it gives a primer for understanding how a certain type of scientist sees the universe.” New York Journal of Books“[An] easy-to-read little book…[Cox and Forshaw] very cleverly introduce all the ideas we will need to get to the world’s most famous equation, E=mc2. What is more, they focus on the most puzzling part: the question of what c, the speed of light, is doing in there…Their arguments are so presented so clearly…It is to their credit that they do not always hide the complexity nor the long history of ideas behind relativity…It is also to their credit that they make the case, as Feynman and others have done before them, that, at some level, the weirdness of the universe just has to be accepted…Will help school science teachers as much as it will their students.” The Guardian, 10/18/10“The reader is in supremely capable hands with Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw…For anyone afraid of technicalities, Cox and Forshaw lead the reader by the hand through the complexity, adding in rest stops of wit and real-world examples. Even the hardest bits feel like being taken on an army assault course by the two friendliest drill sergeants in the world. You may have to read some bits twice but, boy, will you feel better for it once the insights become clear. In the process of exposing the science, the authors do a good job of showing how the hard end of research works: abandon all assumptions and re-build everything from scratch.”
London Daily Telegraph, 10/19/10“[A] brilliant exposition of Einstein’s famous equation… [Gives] a fresh understanding of Einstein’s genius. A truly impressive achievement.”
The Independent, 10/20/10“Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw take Einstein's description of the relationship between energy and matter, pull it apart and put it together again, with some detours into space and time along the way. Not an easy read, but not an easy subject.” Nature, 10/28/10“Provide[s] an accessible explanation of Einstein’s iconic equation.” Cape Times (South Africa),11/5/10“Fans of the physical sciences will undoubtedly enjoy this read…The true success of Why Does E=mc2? lies in Cox and Forshaw having made the most esoteric of ideas…accessible to the layman…The pair manage to hold their readers' hands as they skip through the figures and facts—without patronizing them—to create a logical map between theory and consequence.” Midwest Book Review, December 2010
“An easy survey of science for non-scientists.”
London Times (UK), 1/6/11Name one of the “Top 10 Science Books of 2010.” The Scotsman (Scotland), 12/11/10Named one of the “Top Reads of 2010.” The Bookseller, UK, 3/25/11“[Cox] will join an elite group of just eight authors who’ve penned a science book that has sold in six figures.”
This deeply fascinating, engaging, and highly accessible explanation of Einstein's equation uses everyday life to explore the principles of physics.
What does E=mc2 actually mean? Dr. Brian Cox and Professor Jeff Forshaw go on a journey to the frontier of twenty-first century science to unpack Einsteins famous equation. Explaining and simplifying notions of energy, mass, and lightwhile exploding commonly held misconceptionsthey demonstrate how the structure of nature itself is contained within this equation. Along the way, we visit the site of one of the largest scientific experiments ever conducted: the now-famous Large Hadron Collider, a gigantic particle accelerator capable of re-creating conditions that existed fractions of a second after the Big Bang.
A collaboration between one of the youngest professors in the United Kingdom and a distinguished popular physicist, Why Does E=mc2? is one of the most exciting and accessible explanations of the theory of relativity.
Cutting-edge scientists unlock the secrets of Einsteins iconic equation in this thrilling experience of passionate comprehension.” (Ann Druyan, co-writer, Cosmos)
About the Author
is a distinguished particle physicist and popular TV host who divides his time between Manchester, England, and Geneva, Switzerland.
Jeff Forshaw is a professor at the University of Manchester and a recipient of the Institute of Physics Maxwell Medal. He lives in Manchester, England.