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Six Easy Pieces: Essentials of Physics…

Six Easy Pieces: Essentials of Physics Explained by Its Most Brilliant… (1994)

by Richard P. Feynman

Other authors: Edward Hutchings (Editor), Robert B. Leighton (Editor), Matthew L. Sands (Editor)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Six Easy Pieces is a collection of six lectures by the Legendary Richard P. Feynman. Taken from the Lectures on Physics delivered at the California Institute of Technology, this slim volume covers physics that are “easy” or so I am led to assume from the title. At the same time, we are introduced to Richard Feynman as an educator. His sparkling wit and knack for coming up with analogies to demonstrate what was happening was a great asset.

So as the title of the book suggests, there are six major sections or lectures in the book. The first one discusses the atomic theory and the wonders that follow from that line of thinking. Basically, everything is made of minuscule objects called Atoms. Feynman begins with a thought experiment. Imagine a glass of water. If we zoom in on it with our most powerful optical microscopes, we can see tiny microorganisms swimming about. This would be the realm of Biology. If you zoom further, you would be able to see the individual molecules of water. This is the realm of Chemistry. And zooming yet further would allow you to see an atom itself. That isn’t even as far as we are able to zoom, the center of the atom contains the Nucleus, which is made up of Protons and Neutrons. You can go even further, but Feynman at the time of these Lectures did not know that.

The second talks about Basic Physics. It covers the Scientific Method and how we know what we know about things. It discusses the Electromagnetic Spectrum, and what we knew about the World prior to 1920. Incidentally, this is around the time that Quantum Physics became vogue and was popularized by the early pioneers of the subject. It gets further into the idea of the atomic theory and how we discovered the Neutron and the Proton and so on.

The third chapter is called The Relation of Physics to the Other Sciences. Although this book mainly focuses on Physics, Feynman also discusses other sciences along with it. He talks about Chemistry, Biology, Astronomy, Psychology, and so on. Once upon a time, “Natural Philosophy” encompassed all of the Sciences, but over time things became more specialized. Feynman also discusses how this came about in this chapter.

The fourth chapter is about Conservation of Energy. This is an important idea in that Energy is at a steady amount throughout the universe. It can change form, but there is always a certain amount of it everywhere. So we get inclined planes and some varieties of mechanics. It has something on Kinetic Energy and how to calculate it and lot of different images and examples.

The fifth chapter is about the Theory of Gravitation. This part of the book that includes the Inverse Square Law.

The sixth chapter is called Quantum Behavior. This chapter mainly deals with how an electron and other subatomic particles behave under certain conditions. For instance, it demonstrates the double-slit experiment. An electron can behave like a wave, or it can behave like a particle depending on how the experiment is designed and what you expect to find.

The book was good considering what the Publishers wanted from it. It describes the simple aspects of Physics without resorting to too many equations. Using a simple style is probably the best for the layman. ( )
  Floyd3345 | Jun 15, 2019 |
a must have ( )
  Eva_Filoramo | May 3, 2018 |
I have this on my iTouch and listening to it when I go running. Good review of physics 101.
( )
  dannyp777 | Aug 8, 2017 |
Richard Feynman is a charismatic writer who tackles difficult concepts in physics and simplify them for the nonscience reader. It reminds me of a basic physics primer and a great review for science lovers. ( )
  kendrabonnett | Jul 24, 2017 |
I guess my tastes have changed - these just didn't enthrall like they would have a few decades back. I did like one quote from the Special Preface:"

"First figure out why you want the students to learn the subject and what you want them to know, and the method will result more or less by common sense.""
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 5, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (16 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Richard P. Feynmanprimary authorall editionscalculated
Hutchings, EdwardEditorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Leighton, Robert B.Editorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sands, Matthew L.Editorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bridge, AndyCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Davies, PaulIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Goodstein, David L.Prefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hibbs, Albert R.Forewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Neugebauer, GerryPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Servidei, LauraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stoddart, JimCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This two-year course in physics is presented from the point of view that you, the reader, are going to be a physicist.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Le lezioni di fisica di Feynman sono ormai leggendarie per la loro perspicuità ed efficacia. Quelle che qui presentiamo sono le prime (saranno seguite da Sei pezzi meno facili) e partono da zero. Nel primo «pezzo», dopo una breve introduzione ai metodi e al significato della ricerca – tre paginette che valgono intere biblioteche di testi epistemologici –, si dice di che cos’è fatta la materia che cade sotto i nostri sensi: atomi in moto. Nel secondo si spiega che non tutto è così limpido come sembra, e che nella materia c’è anche dell’altro: il mondo quantistico e i suoi paradossi. Senza addentrarsi in una ricostruzione storica, Feynman riesce tuttavia a darci il senso dell’evolversi della fisica nel secolo appena trascorso, mettendone in luce i legami con le altre scienze. Gli ultimi tre saggi selezionano altrettanti capisaldi (energia, gravitazione, la realtà quantistica), presentati a livelli di complessità crescente: a ogni lettura cade una buccia della magica cipolla e si apre un nuovo, affascinante scenario. Chi prevedesse di naufragare su un’isola deserta, e volesse esser certo di avere con sé l’essenziale di quel che sappiamo sul mondo fisico, potrà mettere nello zaino i Sei pezzi facili.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0465023924, Paperback)

Six Easy Pieces: Essentials of Physics Explained by Its Most Brilliant Teacher is a publishing first. This set couples a book containing the six easiest chapters from Richard P. Feynman’s landmark work, Lectures on Physics—specifically designed for the general, non-scientist reader—with the actual recordings of the late, great physicist delivering the lectures on which the chapters are based. Nobel Laureate Feynman gave these lectures just once, to a group of Caltech undergraduates in 1961 and 1962, and these newly released recordings allow you to experience one of the Twentieth Century’s greatest minds—as if you were right there in the classroom.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:59:51 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

The six easiest chapters from Feynman's celebrated lectures on physics, which the Nobel Prize-winning scientist delivered from 1961 to 1963 at the California Institute of Technology, have been reprinted in this volume.

» see all 5 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140276661, 0141037547

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