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Six Easy Pieces: Essentials of Physics Explained by Its Most Brilliant Teacher Paperback – Mar 22 2011

4.5 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; 4 edition (March 22 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465025277
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465025275
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.1 x 21 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 281 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #19,345 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

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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Format: Paperback
I love reading Feynman. I am not going to write a long review of this book. If you are interested enough in physics to be at this page, then reading this book is a no brainer. I will say that I read QED first, and that is Feynman's masterpiece. This work suffers by comparison only in that he is addressing underclassman and trying to get them interested in the big picture, whereas QED is the big picture. The great thing about this book is its conversational tone. You can almost imagine yourself in a classroom headed by the most brilliant physics teacher or our time. That's worth something, I'd say. Enjoy.
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Format: Paperback
Feynman is one of my favorite American heros. It is hard not to admire any one aspect of his life. Above all, he was a great teacher obviously. The book is a collection of his lectures for introductory physics, may be a little too elementary for some. Note that, nowadays such topics are delivered to students at earlier ages since Feynman first started these lectures. Still, how he uses daily language and examples to explain and highlight the basic principles of physics is impressive. More importantly, he is very open and clear about exactly what is known and explainable and what we really do not know yet. This comes in very handy in the last chapter on quantum physics, which I enjoyed the most.
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Feynman has condensed the contents of his presentations to 1st year Physics students at CalTech. The information about the six topics is simply put and without a prerequisite deep mathematic understanding. These more advanced lessons are available in the Feynman Lectures on Physics. If you would like a basic Physics understanding and would like learning it from a teacher with wit and verve, this is a great resource. The six topics are about atoms, basic Physics, Physics relations to other sciences, energy, gravity, and Quantum Mechanics.
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.
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This book explains some basic concepts in physics so well that even someone who doesn't like physics might enjoy it! 'Six Easy Pieces' are 6 lectures from Feynman's complete 'Lectures on Physics', chosen for their accessibility to the general public.
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.
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Format: Paperback
Six Easy Pieces is an excellent introduction to one of today's most intriguing scientific fields. Feynman presents physics in a series of easily understandable lectures that are appealing to the layman, in that it presents theories and concepts through simple example. Despite the age of his work, much of what is taught and discussed in the book is still relevant and accepted in physics today.
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.
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This book consists of what the editors consider to be six of the easier lessons from Richard Feynman's Lectures on Physics, a three volume work adapted from a series of freshman and sophomore level lectures given at Caltech in the 1960s. Each piece elegantly explains its intended topic without complicated or in depth mathematics. The reader will obtain the gist of the principles behind theses physical phenomena. Feynman whole heartedly admits to the limits of scientific knowledge of his time and in doing so very much dates his lectures. They nonetheless contain rich morsels of the knowledge of physics which will benefit the modern reader. This book is not intended to be an overview of physics. It assumes the reader has some basic education in some subjects, and a previous knowledge of elementary physics greatly helps to understand the pieces. More than anything, it is Feynman's style of teaching that is conveyed through the work's pages. The greatest joy in reading Six East Pieces is to experience Feynman's intuitive knowledge of physics and his subtly elegant conveyance of this topic.
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