For the Love of Physics: From the End of the Rainbow to the Edge of Time - A Journey Through the Wonders of Physics
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For the Love of Physics: From the End of the Rainbow to the Edge of Time - A Journey Through the Wonders of Physics

4.15 of 5 stars 4.15  ·  rating details  ·  811 ratings  ·  104 reviews
In For the Love of Physics, beloved MIT professor Walter Lewin, whose riveting physics lectures made him a YouTube super-star, takes readers on a remarkably fun, inventive, and often wacky journey that brings the joys of physics to life.

“For the Love of Physics captures Walter Lewin’s extraordinary intellect, passion for physics, and brilliance as a teacher”—Bill...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published February 7th 2012 by Free Press (first published May 3rd 2011)
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This man proves that teachers make a difference. That a good teacher can make anyone care about his topic.

I loved math in school, but when I got to calculus, for some reason, I just couldn't understand it. And so I decided to skip physics altogether. However, I really wanted to read the book Einstein: His Life and Universe, because I think its author, Walter Isaacson, is a genius. It seemed like the perfect marriage of author and subject! But I have never liked science, as it was taught in scho...more
Anne Swartjes
When I saw the Dutch ratings on this book (hardly 1 star) I was utterly shocked. I had heard so many great stories about Walter Lewin, appearing in a very well-known Dutch TV-show and captivating thousands of ears of interest. I, unfortunately, haven't yet had the opportunity to experience one of his lectures, but I certainly will do some research soon. I heard that this man did a magnificent job on making serious physics understandable for less-but-still-genius-human-beings like you and me (I g...more
I would love to have taken one of Walter Lewin's classes. His teaching style is fun and energetic, and he seems to love to get his students involved in his experiments. The first part of the book is a series of 20 to 30 minute segments on various topics about the physics of everyday things. The topics range from how airplanes fly to the maximum depth a snorkler can handle and why to how we measure the distances of stars.

The second half of the books discusses his own career in research using x-r...more
Kevin Hanks
Great book written by what sounds to be a great teacher. He tries to condense the material from several of his MIT introductory physics classes into book format. I've learned that his class lectures have become quite popular on Youtube and that this book is an attempt to expand on that popularity and reach an even wider audience. I say bravo! I loved his simple explanations and obvious love of the topics. Because of the format, he was forced to describe several of his more famous physics demonst...more
In this book, Dr. Lewin deciphers many confusing aspects of natural phenomenon which surround us. The mysteries of rainbows and sound, electricity and magnetism, etc., are brought within our grasp of understanding after listening to Lewin's discussions. He uses layman's terms, for the most part, and gives simple yet practical examples to make his point. He seems genuinely interested in opening a new sense of understanding of the many seemingly complex things which surround us. However, I suspect...more

Walter Lewin is a professor of physics at MIT, where he teaches several of the introductory physics courses. These courses, which are available on the web at, are apparently very popular. I can't vouch for them, as I haven't looked at any of them yet. I can say that the book is a nice blend of popular science and memoir. The book was written with a co-author, Warren Goldstein, who is a professor of history at the University of Hartford.

The book begins by explaini

You have to understand before reading this, that Lewin has a genuine love of both physics and education. His love is shown plainly in the pages, and while he leaves much to doubt, it's clear the reader should explore to learn more. There is an abundant amount of resources out there for the pop-physicist to read, but most books gloss over the smaller things that are deemed "uninteresting" and go for really big physics stuff.

Lewin's book, on the other hand does something incredible. Lewin takes t...more
Reading this book is almost like being at one of Prof. Lewin's lectures! (For those who haven't had the opportunity, he provides links to some of them on MIT's OpenCourseWare site.) The only difference between this and the actual lectures is that he requires less math background on the reader's part than is expected from MIT freshmen- there's very little in the way of math or equations. If you're even a little interested in physics, check it out!
With the assistance of Goldstein (History/Univ. of Hartford), Lewin (Physics/MIT), best known to a large international audience for his online physics lectures, delivers a readable book about the subject.

A pioneer in the field of X-ray astronomy, the author has been teaching three core physics courses at MIT since 1966, when he first came to the United States from Holland. Lewin writers that physics is "fundamentally an experimental science." A skeptic about the claims of string-theory proponent...more
Un libro muy fácil de leer con la intención de compartir el amor por el conocimiento más fundamental que posee la especie humana: la física.
Por amor a la física recoge algunas lecciones de física explicadas de una forma bastante sencilla, además de jalonar el texto de docenas de anécdotas sobre su vida como investigador y docente. Respondiendo preguntas curiosas, sí, pero también ofreciéndonos más que la simple y llana respuesta a fenómenos cotidianos de los cuales muchas veces hemos olvidarnos...more
Daliso Ngoma
If Walter Lewin was my physics teacher in my earlier years, I think I might have vested more interest in the field and taken it as my major. But after reading this book, it's given me some renewed hope that not all science teachers are a kill joy.

The book starts off with a lot of relevant information for any layman from gravity to colours and rainbows, then scours into the connection with astrology. Regardless of the near to none understanding of the formulas that have been scattered through out...more
ONe of the best science books I've read in a while. The author transmits his love of science and the wonders that we can discover through physics. He has lectures online and I need to watch them. It takes me back to my undergraduate days, when everything was new and exciting. The book just oozes with the joy of discovery that is the mark of a true scientist.
James (JD) Dittes
I had heard so much about Lewin's online physics courses, I jumped at the chance to read what he had to teach. Lewin's enthusiasm carries through from beginning to end, and readers of all backgrounds will pick up something new.

The first 3/4ths of the book serve as a review of basic physics: waves, light, mass, elections, etc. Lewin fills the book with examples from his classes at MIT, and his approach to physics is appealing. For example, to teach how light behaves, he teaches how rainbows work-...more
Jorge Figueroa
Esto se siente como trampa, este fue el primer libro que compré para mi primer kindle, y no lo termine, mudanzas, viajes, más y más libros, hasta que en Enero me hice de la versión en audio, mientras cancelaba el Audible (esas suscripciones nos van a secar)

Lamentablemente, si no tienes un Kindle Fire, no puedes probar el Immersion Reading así que comencé a escucharlo en un viaje largo por carretera.

Aunque lo termine ya de vuelta en la vida Godínez.

Aún voy a iniciar de nuevo el libro en el kindle...more
Two ways to consume this material:
#1 - read the book. A great way to go. Very much like the coolest science class you ever took, with that one professor that actually tried to be a good teacher. Learn awesome stuff about rainbows, black holes, binary stars, etc.
#2 - watch the free video lectures put on iTunesU by M.I.T. Get the same material, as seen by a student.

I'm glad that teachers this good get platforms like books to spread their content more broadly than just a class of a couple hundre...more
AweSome !!!!!!!!!!!!
You see the world in a different way after reading this book .....
Lenny Ankireddi
The book is written as an autobiography and as a Physics textbook at the same time. For someone that has been a student of Physics for a long time but does not work in a field directly applying Physics or Mathematics, the book really got my attention in a couple of ways - 1. It was a refresher on everything I had learnt in school and approached in the same order, starting with the simpler concepts of measurement and units and moving progressively on to linear motion, Newtonian mechanics, complex...more
For the Love of Physics: From the End of the Rainbow to the Edge of Time, A Journey Through the Wonders of Physics by Walter Lewin

"For the Love of Physics" is the wonderful, educational book that enlightens the layperson to physics. Professor Lewin's passion for physics shines throughout the book as he takes readers on a journey from the tiniest particles to the utter vastness of our universe. Acclaimed MIT professor Walter Lewin, helps us see the world through the eyes of physics. This book is...more
07-17-2011: I finished my way through this book. I liked it and the fact that it got me interested in the videos. I will go ahead and take the complete course at

I have to say that after a while it became a little bit heavier to read; but in the end it was worth the effort. Long life to Mr. Lewin; I shall say :-)

07-14-2011: I really like and admire the intimate way this author has to describe his true feelings for the science of Physics. He tells the stori...more
John Orman
Delightful memoir that doubles as an introduction to physics.The author, a superhero of the MIT classroom, shares his joy of learning and the excitement of science.

Lewin is the kind of guy who would head into the path of a wrecking ball, or charge himself to 300,000 volts in the name of scientific demonstration! He once brought 600 daffodils into his lecture at a conference. Into his classrooms he would bring Maxwell's equations, and urge his students to "inhale them! After you see them for the...more
This book got its third star after I remembered that I did start looking for rainbows in all the right places after reading it. Lewin frustratingly fails in his main task of making the beauty of physics apparent to the general reader, particularly compared to Bill Bryson's The Short History of Nearly Everything which I read right aftewards. As a star lecturer in one of the nerdier engineering schools, Lewin cannot quite resist giving a course of lectures nor does he resist the temptation to try...more
This book is better than it has any business being and may dislodge "The Canon" as my recommended introduction to physics. The Introduction and forward drag a little but once the author gets going the book is a delight. I'm confident saying that I know a bit about the topics presented but the pacing, phrasing, and parenthetical additions were enough to easily keep me engaged.

The author mixes in personal experiences which makes the book remarkably human. We picture physicists as calculation machi...more
Matt Heavner
This book was somewhat inconsistent in tone and focus. It was part "wonder of physics" part "my life in physics" and part "the history of X-ray physics". Overall, I enjoyed the stories, the look at physics, and the personal anecdotes. At some points I felt there was too much ego in the telling (perhaps this is hard to avoid) -- but the "why I can appreciate art" was a little too much. It was fun to have the mention of sprites and jets pop up. I also enjoyed "asking around the office" to get "the...more
Eric Bingham
This book was great! I loved seeing so many things through new eyes. The author very understandably explains everything from rainbows to black holes. The only part that I didn't love were to 2 chapters that were more autobiographical. (One of these chapters was the first one, and I was worried that I had accidentally gotten a biography, but it really picked up the science on the second chapter.) I would have loved to have taken Walter Lewin's physics class. What a character!
Marc Braun
While the love of physics abundantly jumps out at the reader throughout, too much of what is written reminded me too much of physics classes in high school and university and therefore too dry.

Well written, making complex phenomena easy to understand. Bill Bryson's 'a history about nearly everything' is much, much better.
If only Professor Lewin was my teacher,
If only Professor Lewin wrote my physics textbooks,
After reading this book, we're no longer draw a line between daily life and school subject that called "Physics", in fact it has changed all our daily perspective of life.
However I expect a thicker book, more area of physics to be uncovered, second book maybe?
I enjoyed the autobiographical parts of this book, his European family history in WWII to the scientific rivalries during the height of career at MIT. His classroom antics are amusing and I've enjoyed his free MIT lectures online but the book gets bogged down as it goes along to the point where every other paragraph includes advanced math calculations. I understand that some of the concepts involve numbers and distances that can only be described in this language but other astrophysicists have a...more
Alfonso Navarro
A personal look into how physics drove Lewin's professional life, with glimpses into his personal life. As a new high school physics teacher, it gave me inspiration and as an advanced amateur astronomer and former electrical engineer, the details of the x-ray astronomy were a nice addition.
Envidia es lo que siente alguien cuya asignatura de Física en primero de carrera era un muro del 95% de pediente (es decir, solía haber entre un 5% y un 10% de aprobados por convocatoria), con unos profesores que solo se preocupaban de mantener ese porcentaje bajo; envidia y lástima de no haber tenido nada que se pueda llamar 'profesor de Física' según lo entiende Walter Lewin.
Leo a Walter Lewin y siento que puedo redescubrir la Física, sorprenderme, divertirme, maravillarme. Y es mucho, mucho...more
Vinoth G
Usually a book that explains physics concepts leaves a reader on unfamiliar lands.

By also sharing his real life experiences of witnessing secondary rainbows, glory and much more the author, to keep you wide awake, yanks the chain time to time that you've chosen to tie around your neck as you started the book and handed over the free end to him.

After reading the book and watching his lectures no one could want to have a better teacher.

Best teacher. Better author!
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Walter H. G. Lewin, Ph.D. is a Dutch astrophysicist and professor emeritus of physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Born in the Hague Netherlands, professor Lewin achieved his PhD in nuclear physics in 1965 at the Delft University of Technology and came to MIT in 1966.
Lewin's major contributions in astrophysics include the discovery of the first slowly rotating neutron star through...more
More about Walter Lewin...
For the Love of Physics: From the End of the Rainbow to the Edge of Time: A Journey Through the Wonders of Physics Es funktioniert!: Vom Vergnügen, endlich Physik zu verstehen (German Edition) Compact Stellar X-Ray Sources Papers for the Times [Ed. by W. Lewin]. Nathaniel Hawthorne

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