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Six Not-So-Easy Pieces: Einstein's Relativity, Symmetry, and Space-Time Paperback – Mar 16 2005

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 184 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books (March 16 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465023932
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465023936
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 13.9 x 1.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 204 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #436,020 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

About the Author

Richard P. Feynman was raised in Far Rockaway, New York, and received his Ph.D. from Princeton. He held professorships at both Cornell and the California Institute of Technology. In 1965 he received the Nobel Prize for his work on quantum electrodynamics. He died in 1988.

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By James Yanni on Dec 30 2002
Format: Paperback
If you've got a fair background in beginning Calculus and elementary physics, you may find this book very worthwhile. I wouldn't know.
Don't be fooled, however, by reviewers who claim that Feynman explains things in such a way that even without those basic tools, the book isn't incomprehensible. I've HAD basic calculus, albeit a LONG time ago, and I'm a tad rusty. And I have even less grounding in physics. But I'm far from mathematically illiterate, or incapable. And it isn't true that I got nothing out of my reading of this book; the sixth chapter did, in fact, answer the question that I'd hoped to have answered when I bought it. But by and large, the book was close to impenetrable. Now, clearly, this may well be due to my lack of preparation in the prerequisites for understanding it. But it definitely is NOT the first step in the process of understanding physics, as one reviewer actually called it and others implied. Read "Six Easy Pieces" first, and brush up on first-year Calculus. THEN consider tackling this book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By John on April 4 2003
Format: Paperback
Six Not-So-Easy Pieces is the sequel to the book Six Easy Pieces. The first book is a collection of six of the easier lectures from Feynman's freshman and sophomore physics classes at CalTech. Six Not-So-Easy Pieces are some of the more difficult lectures from those classes. In contrast to the first book, these lessons are much more mathematical. Freshman calculus is definitely a prerequisite to reading this book. Courses in vector calculus and differential equations will help the reader to more completely understand the works, but they are not absolutely necessary. However, without much mathematical knowledge, one can just take Feynman at his word for all the equations, reading mainly the conceptual explanations, but one will invariably miss out on some of the points. For anyone reading the book, Feynman's teaching style is something that can be enjoyed. He explains the concepts in a comprehensive and not-too-difficult manner and seems to have a full understanding of what the student in the lecture hall is thinking. The six topics (chapters) covered in this book are: Vectors, Symmetry in Physical Laws, The Special Theory of Relativity, Relativistic Energy and Motion, Space-Time, and Curved Space. This book is in no way a survey of physics. It is more of a sampling of Feynman's teaching. However, the common thread that runs through the six pieces is that they all relate to understanding relativity. For the layman who has a mathematical background and wants to understand the concept of relativity, this book is an excellent help. I would suggest reading Six Easy Pieces before reading this book, but it is not necessary. If you enjoyed reading the first book, I would highly recommend this one and vice versa.
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By A Customer on May 31 2004
Format: Paperback
Six not so Easy Pieses is a small anthology of six pieces taken from Feynman's great classic, The Feynman Lectures on Physics, which were delivered to Caltech freshman. I would not recommend buying this book unless you have an excellent backround in calculus and how it relates to physics. I have read the first volume of the Lectures, and i will tell you it is nice having this to accompany it, since some of the chapters such as on Relativity merit to be read twice and since the Lectures is so bulky and heavy. There is no way someone can read understand what he's saying without knowing a good amount of math. Its like reading a book in which all the concepts are expressed in Greek. Also, these lectures were given during the middle of course, and he often mentions things which were discussed in previous lectures. The reason it gets a four is because the lectures are great (many great lectures were ommitted though), but it is too short and is out of place. This is NOT a great sequel to Six Easy Lectures, they have practically nothing to do with each other. The perfect sequal to Six Easy Lectures is the whole first volume of the Lectures.
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Format: Paperback
"Six Not-So-Easy Pieces" are six selections from the Feynman "Lectures on Physics". They represent not the hardest material to be found in the "Lectures" (and certainly not elsewhere concerning Feymnan's essays or other lectures) but perhaps some of the most thought-provoking and challenging conceptually (although, if you would like a conceptual challenge, check out Feynman's "QED"). Spacetime, Relativity (Special and General), Vectors, Symmetry --- there is no end to the knowledge and unique grasp of physics that Feynman possesses.
He first introduces the reader to some fundamental that they need in order to begin thinking like a physicist -- specifically, vector algebra, connecting directions with movements in space. This might take a little while for the beginner to work through, but he is careful to show all of the steps geometrically and makes it seem quite clear.
Then he moves on to talk about symmetries physicists know and work with, especially the symmetry where the physics you do is invariant according to your place in space and time. Capping the book off with more abstractly challenging concepts -- special relativity and general relativity, tying ideas of the previous chapters in (vectors and symmetry) he slowly is able to make beginning readers understand aspects of physics difficult even for the amateur physicist.
I recommend this book to any high school student who has had geometry, and to any scientific and non-scientific reader who is curious about the universe.
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