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Review: Why Does E=mc^2? (And Why Should We Care?)

31 Jul 2009, 10:19 UTC
Review: Why Does E=mc^2? (And Why Should We Care?) ESO
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

When I got my copy of Why Does E=mc2 through the post, I was surprised how small it was. How the hell can you describe the foundations of the universe, explain the physics behind warped space-time, delve into wormholes and expect to come out the other side with an understanding of what Einstein's famous E=mc2 means in a book half an inch thick? Surely the study of relativity requires a textbook the thickness of a tree trunk accompanied by a series of lectures taught by a grumpy professor wielding a stick of chalk!

Actually, as Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw proves in this wonderful 264 page exploration of physics, Einstein's equation describes an elegant and succinct view of our universe, a view that is captured excellently in the text. In fact (and I haven't said this for a long time while reading a physics book), Cox and Forshaw's effort turned into something of a page turner.

Although people are generally adverse to seeing equations in popular science books, the authors realized that to give enough depth to describing how things work, equations are inevitable. I don't think it's a problem, and although the authors apologize for the math (polite lot, ...

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