Most helpful positive review
An Entertaining And Captivating Lecture
on April 3, 2003
This Review refers to the paperback edition of Feynman's Lost Lecture: The Motion of Planets Around the Sun with audio CD.
The title of Goodstein's book, Feynman's Lost Lecture, may be a bit misleading in terms of the overall content. The book is, in truth, mainly an explanation of the elliptic patterns performed by the planets, among other things, that an unpublished Feynman lecture originally referred to (although the lecture is included in text and on CD, the lecture is only a fraction of the overall book). Goodstein provides a geometrical means of explaining elliptical patterns that even a non-physicist will find easily comprehensible, especially considering the frequency of companion diagrams. The book also includes a rather unique introduction providing a brief biography of Feynman along with the author's personal experiences related to the well-known physicist. An unexpected, but greatly appreciated, addition is Feynman's original notes regarding his lecture contained in the back of the book.
Feynman's Lost Lecture details how to use geometric proofs to find answers to problems such as the speed of a planet when in motion around the sun and how to prove geometrically that an object is an ellipse. The author properly explains and demonstrates these concepts throughout the book via written and visual examples.
Goodstein presents the topics in such a fashion that the reader can easily try for himself\herself the idea portrayed. This is generally due to a generous selection of diagrams and exemplary situations, which properly convey the ideas that Goodstein presents (although it would probably be much more beneficial if more of the diagrams accompanied Feynman's actual lecture). The main text is also of a form easily understood and more than adequately conveys the topic that the author presents. However, the literary style is slightly lacking - in that it often becomes a bit informal in description and detail.
Overall, the literary shortcomings do not interfere with the author's ability to convey the topic and makes for a rather interesting read. Yet another above-par lecture accompanied by a surprisingly above-par explanation, Feynman's Lost Lecture: The Motion of Planets Around the Sun is more than worth it's price and should be a welcome addition to any reader's (both physicists and non-physicists alike) personal library.