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4 of 4 people found this helpful

ByJohnon April 4, 2003

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.

6 of 6 people found this helpful

ByJames Yannion December 30, 2002

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.

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.

ByJames Yannion December 30, 2002

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.

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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ByJohnon April 4, 2003

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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ByDarrell J.on December 27, 2013

It's interesting, but probably too technical for the average person. Since it is based on Richard Feynman's actual lectures, it will be more useful to those who are undergraduates in physics. However, if the math is above you, as it was for me, just skip those parts and assume the formulas support the implications and conclusions presented; it will still open your mind and help you gain a better understanding of what space-time really means.

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ByBookologiston July 15, 2013

For a genius to be a genius, is one thing. For a genius to be also a great teacher is the mark of a truly great genius!

I am not a physicist. However, I have a love of the maths and sciences as they broaden our understanding of the natural world and reveal it to be a thing of great but hidden beauty. When Richard Feynman wrote this book, it is obvious to the reader that he loved to teach. The math is reasonably easy to follow. One of course should know how to manipulate algebraic equations and grasp geometric concepts.

But what makes this an outstanding book is that this man knew how to take abstract concepts and make them understandable to the reader. Furthermore, he did this in a way that lightens the reader's intellectual journey with clever analogies, a touch of humour and a seemingly casual manner that captivates his audience. I strongly recommend this book to anyone who wishes to gain a real basis of understanding of this otherwise arcane subject. Read it. Learn. It's well worth the effort!

I am not a physicist. However, I have a love of the maths and sciences as they broaden our understanding of the natural world and reveal it to be a thing of great but hidden beauty. When Richard Feynman wrote this book, it is obvious to the reader that he loved to teach. The math is reasonably easy to follow. One of course should know how to manipulate algebraic equations and grasp geometric concepts.

But what makes this an outstanding book is that this man knew how to take abstract concepts and make them understandable to the reader. Furthermore, he did this in a way that lightens the reader's intellectual journey with clever analogies, a touch of humour and a seemingly casual manner that captivates his audience. I strongly recommend this book to anyone who wishes to gain a real basis of understanding of this otherwise arcane subject. Read it. Learn. It's well worth the effort!

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ByA customeron May 31, 2004

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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ByAbigail Nusseyon June 27, 2001

"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.

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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ByAlex Mikhailon June 14, 2000

These lectures where designed to give the student the reasoning behind relativity. Unlike some books, this book does not just explain the results or phenomena of relativity. Feynman actually explains the problems with Newton's laws and actually derives and gives the reasoning for Einstein's theories about relativity. These lectures need only some calculus and basic physics knowledge to appreciate. However, as with most bonfide scientific literature, the more "mathematically and scientifically mature" the reader the better. Feynman uses pieces of calculus (very basic stuff), algebra (symmetry, vector notation, cross products, and dot products), geometry (non-Euclidian), and basic physics knowledge (conservation laws, Newton's laws, Maxwell's equations etc). You don't need all of this to listen and understand the lectures, but obviously the more the better. Feynman also does a good job of explaining some the mathematics involved as well. The lectures pretty much follow the book so you can read along while you listen. These are actual lectures that Feynman gave at Caltech to undergraduates so they are very rigorous. In short, the lectures were clear, very understandable, and offer something to everyone. You don't need anything more than a solid background in calculus and introductory physics to get something out of these lectures.

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ByArnold Venesson July 13, 1999

July 12, 1999

First and foremost thank you for producing this initial release of Richard Feynman's Physics lectures.

I am a total fan of Richard Feynman's series of Physics lectures and enjoy them both for their knowledge and historic value but ...

I would really like to see a transcript made of this audio lecture and have it reproduced by a professional narrator like Jeff Riggenbach who has done work for audio scholar. Jeff Riggenbach's work is excellant! Listen to T-Rex and The Crater of Doom as one example.

I would repurchase all of the Richard Feynman Physics lectures done to date if this could please be done. The current tapes are OK but the sound quality and announciation could be so much better.

Please work with Audio Scholar if necessary to realise this new release and please continue producing advanced audio physics lectures. I would like your company to continue where Richard Feynman left off.

I use the tapes as audio edutainment on my way to work and as bedtime stories for my 18 month old son who has been listening to Richard since birth. I have allocated a budget of $1,000 a year for advanced audio edutainment like this. If you create it I will support it.

Arnold Veness

First and foremost thank you for producing this initial release of Richard Feynman's Physics lectures.

I am a total fan of Richard Feynman's series of Physics lectures and enjoy them both for their knowledge and historic value but ...

I would really like to see a transcript made of this audio lecture and have it reproduced by a professional narrator like Jeff Riggenbach who has done work for audio scholar. Jeff Riggenbach's work is excellant! Listen to T-Rex and The Crater of Doom as one example.

I would repurchase all of the Richard Feynman Physics lectures done to date if this could please be done. The current tapes are OK but the sound quality and announciation could be so much better.

Please work with Audio Scholar if necessary to realise this new release and please continue producing advanced audio physics lectures. I would like your company to continue where Richard Feynman left off.

I use the tapes as audio edutainment on my way to work and as bedtime stories for my 18 month old son who has been listening to Richard since birth. I have allocated a budget of $1,000 a year for advanced audio edutainment like this. If you create it I will support it.

Arnold Veness

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The tittle of the book gives away the contents. I bought the CD because I have an hour commute to work and don't want to waste time on traffic reports. This was a big mistake for this book unless you have extraordinary powers of visualization. The descriptions are quite clear; however it is like following a map of Europe in your mind and never seeing the original map. The book is quite clear and after reading it you say "Now why did I not think of that?"

After reading the book the CD are quit helpful in pronouncing words and you can then remember the diagrams you saw. They add a demotion to this collection that is worth the cost; yet, the CDs can not substitute for the book.

After reading the book the CD are quit helpful in pronouncing words and you can then remember the diagrams you saw. They add a demotion to this collection that is worth the cost; yet, the CDs can not substitute for the book.

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ByAbigail Nusseyon June 27, 2001

"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. I recommend this book highly to anyone with the impulse to ask, "Why?"

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byRichard P. Feynman

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byRichard P. Feynman

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