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E=MC2 A Biography of the Worlds most Famous Equation download ebook

by David Bodanis

E=MC2 A Biography of the Worlds most Famous Equation download ebook
ISBN:
096500693X
ISBN13:
978-0965006934
Author:
David Bodanis
Publisher:
Walker & Co, New York; First Edition edition (2000)
Language:
Pages:
357 pages
ePUB:
1596 kb
Fb2:
1746 kb
Other formats:
mbr doc lrf mobi
Category:
Physics
Subcategory:
Rating:
4.2

David Bodanis studied mathematics at the University of Chicago and in 1988 became a Senior Associate Member of St. Anthony's College in Oxford, England. From 1991-97, he lectured at the University of Oxford, designing the university's main survey of social science methods. Most of the content of this book is history, history of the developments of various physical concepts (mass, energy, etc) and history of the results of recognition of the energy-producing potential of manipulating radioactive substances (atomic bombs, nuclear power plants, etc). The history as presented is fairly reasonable.

E mc2: A Biography of the World's Most Famous Equation, a 2001 book by David Bodanis. E MC2" (poem), a 1961 poem by Rosser Reeves. E MC2", a 1946 poem by Morris Bishop. EMC2 (disambiguation). This disambiguation page lists articles associated with the same title formed as a letter-number combination.

Originally from Chicago, he received an undergraduate education in mathematics, physics and economics at the University of Chicago (AB 1977). He lived in France for ten years from his early twenties and has since been based in London.

David Bodanis offers an easily grasped gloss on the equation. Mass, he writes, "is simply the ultimate type of condensed or concentrated energy," whereas energy E mc²

David Bodanis offers an easily grasped gloss on the equation. Mass, he writes, "is simply the ultimate type of condensed or concentrated energy," whereas energy E mc². Just about everyone has at least heard of Albert Einstein's formulation of 1905, which came into the world as something of an afterthought. David Bodanis offers an easily grasped gloss on the equation.

In this book, David Bodanis writes the "biography" of one of the greatest scientific discoveries in history-that the .

Generations have grown up knowing that the equation E mc2 changed the shape of our world, but never understanding what it actually means, why it was so significant, and how it informs our daily lives today-governing, as it does, everything from the atomic bomb to a television's cathode ray tube to the carbon dating of prehistoric paintings.

When E mc2 was born in 1905 Albert Einstein was unsure of what he had accomplished. In fact, he had done nothing less than open the door to the inner structure of the universe.

In this book, David Bodanis writes the biography of one of the greatest scientific discoveries in history-that the . To most readers they contain just a mass of odd diagrams-those little trains or rocketships or flashlights that are utterly mystifying.

A while ago I was reading an interview with the actress Cameron Diaz in a movie magazine. Even firsthand instruction doesn't always help, as Chaim Weizmann found when he took a long.

No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Publisher. First published in the United States of America in 2000 by.

See actions taken by the people who manage and post content. Page created – 21 July 2011.

2000. Author: David Bodanis. Publisher: Walker & Co. 176 pages. Paperback.
Reviews:
  • Mikarr
Most of the content of this book is history, history of the developments of various physical concepts (mass, energy, etc) and history of the results of recognition of the energy-producing potential of manipulating radioactive substances (atomic bombs, nuclear power plants, etc). The history as presented is fairly reasonable. The other major content of this book is technical development of the ideas leading to the equation E = mc2 and then its consequences. It's in the area of technical development that content disappoints.

A very large number of books providing simplified discussions of the theory of relativity - the origin of the equation - appeared in the 1950's. The idea was to explain the theory to non-geniuses without the necessary physics or mathematics background. Virtually all of those books disappointed; after inspired and enthusiastic beginnings, authors could not get out of the first few chapters without either making atrocious mistakes or skipping needed explanations to get from one concept to the other. The authors of most of these books were not professionally familiar enough with the ideas to simplify them. You can only really simplify well that which you understand well. The book I'm reviewing here brings back memories of the 1950's.

I want to make a suggestion to those of you who have had a little calculus and enough liking of mathematics and physics to put some work (not a whole lot) into understanding the early Einstein results. Buy or borrow English (if that's your best language) translation's of Einstein's original papers. They are very much easier to read and comprehend then all of this simplified gibberish, at least the first few pages are. Doesn't it stand to reason that a world-class genius might be able to write a compelling, well organized presentation of ideas that they are intimately familiar with?

I now want to justify my bad opinion of the technical aspects of this book. Around the turn of the last century Michelson and Morley did an experiment that had a quite unexpected result. They measured the (relative) speed of light in various directions expecting to see differences caused by the earth's motion through space much as you might see a swimmer's speed vary depending on whether the were swimming with the current, against the current, or across the current. The result of their experiment was quite disconcerting: the speed of light was the same in all directions. A scientist named H. A. Lorentz develop a set of equations, now called the Lorentz transformation, that explained that the measurements as observed would result if objects shrunk in their direction of movement as a balloon would if you pushed it through the air (bad analogy but it will do).

Einstein had another explanation for the Michelson Morley result. That explanation assumed that the speed of light was a universal constant, i.e., that anyone who measured the speed of light (in a vacuum) would get the same result. This assumption combined with others and logic lead to the theory of special relativity. The Lorentz transformations made up the substance of special relativity mathematics but note well the equations were derived from quite different assumptions. One result derived from the theory was that the sped of light was the limiting velocity in the ordinary universe. Another result was the equation E=mc2.

So what does this have to do with the book I'm reviewing? Well the author suggests the initial key insight is that the sped of light is the maximum possible. It wasn't. The explanation of why it was is borderline silly. Another problem is that the author nowhere mentions the crucial Michelson Morley experiment that spurred many of the key scientific developments of the 20th century including the subject of this book.

Now let's do a little grade school arithmetic. Let's assume a body with mass m is traveling at speed v and define its "kinetic" energy as mv2 (this formula is off by a factor of 2 but it will do). So we have E=mv2 which means we multiply the mass by the velocity and multiply by the velocity again to get energy. We haven't said anything about the units of these terms but that turns out to be important. First, let m be measured in grams and velocity in centimeters per second. Call the energy computed this way KE(g,c,s). Now assume that m is measured in kilograms and v is measured in meters per second; call KE(k,m,s) the energy with this second set of units. Now it is easy to see that E(g,c,s)=10,000,000E(k,m,s). But please note that both E's represent the same amount of energy but in different units. Numbers are just numbers without units.

Our author now goes completely off the rails when describing E=mc2 (where c is the speed of light). He gives c in units of miles per hour, a very large number. Then it is noted that c2 (c squared or c times c) is really really huge and that makes it possible for us to see how that little mass, m, is equivalent to a whole lot of energy. The paragraph above should convince you this argument is rubbish. Gee you want to see an even bigger number? Try c in units centimeters per century. Another point to note is that squaring a number doesn't necessarily produce a larger number - a grade school result. Consider multiplying 0.5 by itself; the result is 0.25 and that is surely less than the original 0.5. In the theoretical physical world there is no very small or very large anything. Size is relative. A things can be bigger of smaller than something else. In order to interpret a number whether a measurement or a calculation, one must specify units.

This book is replete with simple errors like mentioned herein. If you want to read history, fine. If you want to learn a little science this is not the place. We are all used to hearing and repeating non-vetted information gathered from the Internet while assuming it's true. This book should be considered a fine source of such information. As I implied in beginning of this review, I don't know if the author is knowledgeable and got caught up in trying to dumb the subject down or whether he doesn't have a clue. There are constant references to his web site for more information. I wasted my time finishing this book and wasn't about to invest any more reading more of the same.
  • Minnai
I strongly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in just about anything. The research and discovery leading up to Einstein's theory during the preceding centuries will be amazed at how what they learn about earlier "thinkers" in science. What is energy? What is mass? all things we have learned, but not always seen as unified. And why is the "speed" of light represented with "C"? Read it and find out. and remember C isn't speed, it is distance light travels a year.

David Bodanis is a gifted writer and scientist.
  • Mavivasa
The book is good and the enthusiasm of the author is palpable. However, i think it would have benefitted from more in-depth science, less time spent on the cast of characters that developed the atomic bomb in favor of discussions about the science involved, and a more sophisticated use of italics. I don't know if it's just the Kindle edition that's like this, but many times the italics seem either pointless or improperly used. It actually gets in the way of reading the sentence. Easy read on the whole, and if you knew nothing about the equation before, you'll have learned something by the end.
  • Dianaghma
I can't begin to describe how interesting this book is. I started out mainly wanting to know what the speed of light has to do with anything, and Bodanis takes us back to the beginning, describing not only the relevance of the speed of light, but also the earliest discoveries involving energy, the equals sign, and mass. Bodanis's writing style is very easy and engaging. If I have one complaint, it's that I would have preferred a chronological treatment of energy, mass, and the speed of light, not a treatment in that order. Still, the book is completely understandable and is chockfull of fascinating history, such as the importance of Emilie du Chatelet, Voltaire, and Lise Meitner. It's probably also the best brief history of the Manhattan Project. At a little over 200 pages, this book is a quick read, but the reader comes away with lots of historical and scientific knowledge. I'm definitely going to have to read more David Bodanis publications!
  • Tinavio
This is not a review of the book itself, but the Kindle edition. It was obviously put together by scanning the original with OCR, & was then not proofread. The errors are numerous, with characters being replaced with something that looks similar. For example, Jupiter's moon "Io" is almost always spelled "10" and the words "he" & "be" are interchangeable. Words are italicized at random & sometimes just half a word is italicized.

I would wait on a second Kindle edition with revisions before purchasing, or get a dead tree copy.