Thursday, August 21, 2014

Book Review: The Evolution of Physics

The Evolution of Physics (Originally published 1938), by Albert Einstein and Leopold Infeld, is a great introduction to physics for those who are not as mathematically inclined, such as yours truly.  I found this book in the bottom of a pile at a used book store, which made it that much more exciting when I began reading.  Einstein was truly a genius in more ways than that which he is commonly known.  He was one of the first to really give the masses a crash course in what physics is really about.

After reading this book I feel I've grasped the basic concepts (Read: everything but the mathematics) of many principles of physics to include the theory of relativity.  As a science fiction author, it gives me great pleasure to be able to talk more intelligently about the subject so I can be better prepared to write harder Sci Fi rather than the mostly soft Sci Fi I've been into thus far in my career.

The beginning of the novel starts with Newton and continues on from there.  Einstein goes through each principle as though he was looking at it through the lens of the time, then continues to show how those theories were modified or disproved and how they were replaced.  Ultimately, he ends with the best understanding of physics at the time, with the understanding that his work would be expanded upon and would grow with time.

I would recommend this novel not just for the layman, but also for any freshman going into a physics program at university to refresh their memory and gain a better understanding of how the master viewed these principles.  It's fascinating to me to be given a window into his thought processes that I can actually understand (without delving into his dense papers on relativity, etc.)

Bookophile Rating of The Evolution of Physics: Excellent (For a novel that helps the lay reader gain a better understanding of physics.  The only thing that put me off was the old spellings of words that were a distraction, such as the continued usage of 'clew.'  I realize this is asinine of me.  I accept that.)

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