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Seven Brief Lessons on Physics by Carlo…

Seven Brief Lessons on Physics (2014)

by Carlo Rovelli

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Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
This slim book is a collection of articles written for an Italian newspaper by physicist Carlo Rovelli. As such, it is a very light introduction to some of the major ideas of modern science – General Relativity, Quantum Theory, cosmology, particle theory, a possible idea to join the Quantum and Relativistic worlds, and why probability and thermodynamics are such important and profound notions, along with a capping article of a more philosophical piece on why we are part of the cosmos and the Earth.

Rovelli certainly has a poetic turn of phrase and a knack for expressing the wonder of these ideas and I think that many people with a very limited knowledge would find their interest piqued enough to seek more information – which is precisely the aim of the book and of the original articles. As such, it is excellent, giving a brief and extremely clear overview of the ideas, with hints of why delving deeper would be worthwhile and fulfilling, and this is what my rating reflects.

However, as someone who considers myself moderately well-read – albeit in a fairly shallow, utterly non-professional manner – I found it a little lacking, largely as I already have gone beyond this level of knowledge and am already infused by the wonder of the universe that Rovelli evokes. I did find it frustrating that he stopped short of giving examples and delving deeper; it’s a fine balance and, of course, one of the deciding factors would have been the very limited wordcount for the original articles.

So, if you are just beginning to test the waters of popular physics this is very much the book for you. All the pieces are a great jumping off point - although a great idea would have been a list of further reading, perhaps graded by level of depth and complexity, for the intrigued reader to wade further.

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1 vote Pezski | Jun 8, 2017 |
The Wikipedia article on this book says it sold more in Italy than 50 Shades. Certainly not so in America, where people seem to prefer IQ destroying mental Novocain to something, anything, of substance. Even this short book that is light on substance. Mixed thoughts...good that he wrote it, but, short as it is, the author manages necessarily to not really say a lot. There are better books by say, Brian Greene, with a little more tooth, on the subject. Apologists might argue "At least he got people reading about physics...", but I think that a hollow victory. Regardless, it's still orders of magnitude better than 50, and doesn't cut your IQ in half. ( )
  Razinha | May 23, 2017 |
I vary between saying that math terrifies me but also there's absolutely nothing in this world that I can't learn, just that which I don't. I could say I picked this up to round out my artistic leanings with some hard science, but really I picked it up because I saw it--somewhere, where?--and thought that it looked like a book of pretty ideas. I don't purport to be much more knowledgeable about physics than I was before I read this, especially since the concepts are basic enough that I already had some familiarity with them. This book is more about framing science beautifully, extracting the beauty which sometimes becomes covered up by technical language. It's not a spin, it's an interpretation into prose-poetry for those who don't speak a scientific language. ( )
  likecymbeline | Apr 1, 2017 |
Incredibly brief - but also a wonderful introduction to contemporary physics and the scientific problems it wrestles with. I really wish I had read this when I was taking my college astronomy class - some of the black hole lessons might have made a lot more sense! I applaud the author on making this complex subject accessible to lay readers and I particularly enjoyed the final concluding discussion, which admitted was more philosophy than science, but still fascinating. ( )
  wagner.sarah35 | Mar 30, 2017 |
This was a nice little quick read. I didn't really learn anything I hadn't already learned from other science writing, but it's nicely done and I could see recommending it to someone who is just dipping a toe in and getting started with popular reading about physics. Translated from the Italian, and the writing is lovely. ( )
  charliesierra | Mar 22, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Carlo Rovelliprimary authorall editionscalculated
Carnell, SimonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Segre, EricaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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These lessons were written for those who know little or nothing about modern science. (Preface)
In his youth Albert Einstein spent a year loafing aimlessly.
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