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Six Easy Pieces: Essentials of Physics Explained by Its Most Brilliant Teacher Paperback – Mar 22 2011
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From Library Journal
This book reprints the six easiest chapters from Feynman's celebrated Lectures on Physics (LJ 12/15/63), which the Nobel Prize-winning scientist delivered from 1961 to 1963 at the California Institute of Technology. Intended for as wide an audience as possible, these chapters are primarily qualitative in nature, with a minimum of formal mathematics. They discuss atoms, basic physics, the relation of physics to other sciences, the conservation of energy, gravitation, and quantum behavior. While this informative work provides a relevant historical perspective on the essentials of physics, the result is somewhat superficial. Nonetheless, because Lectures on Physics is out of print and because the information is still relevant, reprinting these specific chapters was probably a realistic move. The material will be readily understood by scholars, physics students, and informed lay readers. Recommended for academic and public libraries. (Audio tape and CD packages are also available.)-Donald G. Frank, Harvard Univ. Lib., Cambridge, Mass.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Richard P. Feynman was Richard Chace Tolman Professor of Theoretical Physics at the California Institute of Technology. He was awarded the 1965 Nobel Prize for his work on the development of quantum field theory. He was also one of the most famous and beloved figures of the twentieth century, both in physics and as a public intellectual.
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Top Customer Reviews
When read with "Surely you must be joking, Mr. Feynman", this book is far more interesting. It will highlight Feynman's wit and prepare you for its appearance in his lecture.
Feynman, like all great teachers, understands his subject so well that he is able to explain the concepts behind it in clear, simple terms.
There are 6 chapters in the book, all of them generalized lectures on topics in physics. Feynman explains the structure of the atom and there is a very excellent description of charge and how atoms attract each other.
I really enjoyed the chapter on the relationship of physics to the other sciences, especially chemistry and biology. There is even a section on the relationship of physics to psychology.
Chapter 5 is on gravity and there is a great explanation of Kepler's laws of planetary motion and Newtons law of gravitation. These ideas are explained so understandably, I felt like I received a clear conceptual picture of what is happening.
But the highlight of the book for me is Chapter 6 on quantum behavior. Feynman explains the wave-particle duality and the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle so well that I really felt I understood the basic ideas. I am just a layman but I found I could really get what he was saying.
Another thing I liked about the book is its honesty. If there is something physics does not understand, Feyman admits it, outlining the parameters of knowledge but acknowledging deficiencies.
The author doesn't come across as a know-it-all, and doesn't 'talk down' to the reader, something which I find refreshing in a science book.
Like any book by Richard Feynman, this one is a delight to read. Informative, honest and with that unique Feynman ability to make even the most complex ideas understandable to the intelligent layman.
The book centers on the basic principles and operations of the following topics:
1 - Atoms In Motion
2 - Basic Physics
3 - The Relation of Physics to Other Sciences
4 - Conservation of Energy
5 - The Theory of Gravitation
6 - Quantum Behavior
Within each topic lesser subtopics are addressed, more specifically subtopics that are rooted to or based in one of the overall topics. The teaching style exhibited by Feynman is well thought out and should appeal to the majority of readers. However, Six Easy Pieces is meant as an introduction for the layman and is not suggested for those already experienced in the field.
In closing, Six Easy Pieces is an excellent introduction to the topic of physics, however it is just that - an introduction. Therefore, it is highly recommended for the layman, but not for the physicist.
Most recent customer reviews
Even years after his death he's arguably the world's greatest physics teacher.Published 7 months ago by Cory Barnes
Really good. Basic physics, a refresher for those who last did physics in high school.Published 17 months ago by Derek Hillard
I'm taking Pre-AP physics and AP-Physics this year and I thought I would get a head start by reading this book. I like the way he explains the basics of physics. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Mikerah
I'm a high school physics teacher who is currently using this book to supplement my physics students' reading. Read morePublished on Oct. 21 2003 by Christian Moulton
Richard Feynman cohesively and cocisely explains the basics of physics in this book, aptly earning him the title "physics' most brilliant teacher". Read morePublished on Jan. 16 2003 by C. Szabla
From 1961 to 1963, Nobel laureate Richard Feynman delivered a set of lectures to classes in basic physics. Read morePublished on April 16 2002 by Charles Ashbacher