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Archimedes to Hawking: Laws of Science and the Great Minds Behind Them

3.79  ·  Rating Details  ·  182 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
Archimedes to Hawking takes the reader on a journey across the centuries as it explores the eponymous physical laws--from Archimedes' Law of Buoyancy and Kepler's Laws of Planetary Motion to Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle and Hubble's Law of Cosmic Expansion--whose ramifications have profoundly altered our everyday lives and our understanding of the universe.
Throughou
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Hardcover, 528 pages
Published April 16th 2008 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published March 19th 2008)
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Pete
Oct 14, 2008 Pete rated it it was amazing
Shelves:
A most interesting book. I've noticed that, in the world of physics, there is a certain celebration of celebrity and interest in the character and life of great physicists. This book has all that, but it also gives at least equal weight to their work. And I'm forced to admit that their lives are frequently interesting.

This book also suffers from the problem of technical editing. There is a lot of math (which is a good thing to me, but a reader could skip it easily and not really miss out), but w
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Jeffrey Jacobs
Just read Wikipedia

This book is more a coffee table book than any kind of tome to be read cover to cover. It lacks cohesiveness and a underlying story and is just a collection of interesting facts and very vague contexts. I personally found it tedious to read through despite items of rather interest interspersed like gems in impenetrable granite. And a book of scientific laws to me lacks one of the most fundamental laws, that of change through natural selection as revealed by Darwin. And yet, wh
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Matt
Nov 12, 2014 Matt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone with an interest in science
Shelves: favorites
I can't recommend this book highly enough, as it delves into important laws of science, what makes them important, and the personalities behind them. Pickover also takes time to examine just what makes a scientific law, and some of the philosophical thoughts behind science in general.

The diversity of scientists is highlighted in the various quotes sprinkled throughout the book. Some highly religious, and some, just the opposite. It was interesting to get an idea of what drove each scientist to d
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Chris Mallows
Sep 02, 2011 Chris Mallows marked it as to-read

Alex’s Review:
Alex Knapp in Forbes:

I simply cannot say enough good things about this book. It has a very simple structure: chronologically, Pickover walks through some of the most famous eponymous scientific laws, touches on their historical background and describes how the laws themselves work. Then the description of each law is followed by a short biographical essay about the person for whom the law is named. Both parts of the structure are equally fascinating. Pickover is adept both at expla
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Tim
Oct 12, 2011 Tim rated it it was amazing
I'm about half way through the book at this writing. I am a big fan of the layout of this book. The book in whole is a case-by-case synopsis of arguably the 100 most profound scientific laws from antiquity to date and the people behind them. Each chapter (if you want to call it that) addresses one law. The opening is a two or three sentence introduction to the law. Two or three sentences follow, highlighting random historical facts bearing only a chronological relationship to the law at hand. I ...more
Sarah S
Apr 13, 2012 Sarah S rated it really liked it
Archimedes to Hawking takes the reader on a journey across the centuries as it explores the eponymous physical laws--from Archimedes' Law of Buoyancy and Kepler's Laws of Planetary Motion to Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle and Hubble's Law of Cosmic Expansion--whose ramifications have profoundly altered our everyday lives and our understanding of the universe.

Pickover examines more than 40 great laws, providing brief and cogent introductions to the science behind the laws as well as engaging
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Alain Aguilar
Sep 02, 2014 Alain Aguilar rated it it was amazing
I have read this book many times,and I still love it.A great book to learn something new in science everyday.I find this book to be a great source of knowledge for people who like to learn something new everyday.
Terry
Oct 04, 2009 Terry rated it it was ok
Shelves: science
Waste of time. The book is poorly constructed with a preface that tells nothing. Some statistics on origins of personal laws by nation/century/sex et al are quaint but otherwise this book is analogous to printing out 200 Wikipedia articles a 1/2 decade ago.

The additional readings are useless and presented without context seemingly presented to show how well read the author was. The idiosyncratic arrangement of articles is not terribly useful and the shallow descriptors of the biographies section
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Sarah
Jul 09, 2009 Sarah rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Very nice, succinct and entertaining summary of many great physical laws and bios of the scientists - several laws I didn't recognize, but some were not there that I thought should be - like only oblique references to Einstein. Is e=mc squared considered a theory, not a law? And the special theory of relativity? And what about Schrodinger's wave equation? Also, many of the laws and examples could use some diagrams and illustrations to clarify the meaning of the variables for the uninitiated.
David Brewer
Apr 08, 2012 David Brewer rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this book, but at the end of the day I found it quite a slog to make it through. It read more like a series of encyclopedia entries and excerpts from Bartlett's Familiar Quotations than a coherent book. There were individual parts that I enjoyed, mostly in the biographical sections, but as a whole I feel this book never really hits a stride.

It may be that I would have enjoyed it more if my math skills weren't pretty dusty.
Mills College Library
509.22 P5977 2008
Courtney
Jan 24, 2009 Courtney rated it liked it
The author did an excellent job of combining both an explanation of the science with biographical information about the scientist.
Chris Dawson
May 07, 2008 Chris Dawson rated it really liked it
Excellent book - if you want to have a primer on what you learned at school! I really liked it
Janet Dougherty
Jun 01, 2008 Janet Dougherty is currently reading it
I bought this book for Ian to read and I started reading it. Very interesting
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Clifford A. Pickover is an American author, editor, and columnist in the fields of science, mathematics, and science fiction, and is employed at the IBM T. J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown, New York.

He received his Ph.D. in 1982 from Yale University's Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, where he conducted research on X-ray scattering and protein structure. Pickover graduated
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