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50 Physics Ideas You Really Need to Know
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50 Physics Ideas You Really Need to Know (50 Ideas You Really Need to Know )

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  326 ratings  ·  24 reviews
In this, the second volume in an important new series presenting core concepts across a range of critical areas of human knowledge, author Joanne Baker unravels the complexities of 20th-century scientific theory for a general readership. She explains ideas at the cutting-edge of scientific enquiry, making them comprehensible and accessible to the layperson.
ebook, 208 pages
Published August 1st 2007 by Quercus (first published 2007)
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Paul
The executive summary: great little book, especially if you are in the humanities and want to learn more about what the "other" side talks about all the time.

Elucidation: to me, this book presents itself as setting out to do one thing, and it does it very well - to inform the reader about the basic theories, ideas, and concepts that are some of the most important in physics today. Everything from parallax to black holes and so on.

What this book does well is not only give you simple, easy to un
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Christine
Like chocolates for the logic side of my brain

This is a lovely, lightly humorous, entirely enjoyable book that's chock full of brain-bending information. I love it because it seems geared toward intermediate-level readers--much more meat & potatoes than an "intro to.." book, without scaring anybody off by cutting straight to the math.

I do want to delve more deeply into the mathematical side of physics; but I want to understand its beautiful abstract concepts first.

This is a great book for t
...more
Eric
May 27, 2009 Eric rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who read Wikipedia science articles out of curiosity.
Recommended to Eric by: Found at Half Price books.
A nice, simple refresher for those of us who haven't gone near physics since the last time it was required course credit. Don't expect to head straight to a career in rocket science after finishing it, but Baker has a good head for clearly explaining the fundamentals of many familiar and some not-so-familiar concepts. Makes for excellent "on the John" reading. Some excellent Newtonian physics on display in your own little home lab.
Krista
This is a good coffee-table book. There are vignettes about the scientists, a visual timeline, and accessible descriptions. Not in-depth, of course, but I keep forgetting the second law thermodynamics, so now I can just look it up. =)
Steve
From Brownian motion to black holes, from dark matter to antimatter, 50 key key physics topics are presented here in the same 4-page format as other Quercus titles in the series, with quotes, mini biographies and other side panels livening up each essay. The timeline along the bottom is useful in showing when certain ideas (neutron stars, anti-particles, etc) were predicted to exist, and then when they were actually detected - information which, beyond being a validation of the individual ideas, ...more
Mike
This is a book written with the layman in mind. It gives clear and concise explanations on 50 different physics theories, without burying you in advanced math. Each thought or principal takes up 4 pages, and there is a little bit of history of the people behind the ideas.

If you are interested in physics but don't understand the advanced math, then this is a good book to read. It goes above the basic ideas, but it keeps it in plain English.
Abdullah Al-uthman
This book explains the origins and the history behind the most fundamental physics laws.
It starts by giving a brief explanation of the law, a brief history about its discoverer, and then talks about the impact of the law.
It is also notable that at the bottom of every page, you will find the historical timeline concerning the law, which is really a convenient thing to get your head wrapped around the history.
Laine Cunningham
Great reference book for basic ideas. A nice addition was the use of sidebars; most were personal details about the different scientists whose ideas were discussed in each section.
I didn't understand some of the mathematical items...I suppose they weren't explained well enough for true mainstream folks. However, much of the information was presented well enough that I understood the concepts. And that's why I read this book!
Andrew
I really enjoyed reading this book. It's only a couple hundred pages but took a lot longer to read in order to absorb all the concepts. My background is not physics, but business and aerospace. I do fine with Newtonian physics but the quantum stuff was all new to me. It would take double or triple the time to read each chapter (3-4 pages) because it inevitably triggered some broader questions that had to be researched online. This is a great introduction to some of the major scientific discoveri ...more
David Joseph
Really fun, accessible Intro.

Really engaging.

I do have a beef though. Nowhere in the book does the author point out why anyone "really needs to know" any of them.

I was left thinking to myself only, " Yeah, physics is cool."

I gave it a fourth star anyway. I was happy to find a physics text that clearly pointed to the places where observation stops and a careful philosophical examination begins.

Danya
Dec 14, 2011 Danya rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone attracted to physics and science.
Recommended to Danya by: A Friend
Neat simple explanations to 50 physics principles. Four pages for each one; combined with timelines that follow those concepts from the first time they were observed to be mentioned up to date; interesting, insightful quotes; And separated boxes for further explanations, clarifications and (best part) short summaries of scientist and physicists history which pretty much humanized those figures to the people they were.

Not much math to be expected but all in all it was a refreshing read.
David Schuster
A cute summary of notable physics concepts with pleasant background info on the scientists. VERY disappointing that one of the books and arts editors of _Nature_ would get things like escape velocity wrong: "A rocket leaving Earth's pull must have this speed." A frictionless golfball, maybe, Dr. Baker. Once properly annotated to correct the five or so glaring errors, you're left with a nice intro to physics concepts, chock full of British spellings. At least she knows what a billion is.
Louise
Despite never going beyond basic physics in science class in early high school, I've always had a soft spot for it. Since then I've read what I can about it but have sometimes got lost reading about certain physics principles I don't know much about. This book was an excellent primer and something I'd actually come back to to refresh my memory. Great for an intro and overview - and even readable enough to read cover to cover.
Natbas
Oct 14, 2008 Natbas rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: beginners who are interested in physics ideas
concise information of important and current topics in physics. Not text-book. Popular appeal. Superb layout.Each chapter has a few paragraphs on the life of a scientist, a timeline and a quote that views the subject in a different light. There is a condensed idea at the end of the chapter. Easy reading for the beginner.



Victoria
Un libro bastante interesante a nivel divulgativo para una idea general de conceptos que se usan habitualmente (la velocidad Match, por ejemplo)pero siendo bastante ameno no es demasiado explicativo pasando por las explicaciones a un nivel de conocimientos de física de bachillerato.
Ryan
This is a pretty simple little coffee table book. However it does contain a brief overview of the 50 "biggest" physics idea. It is a good refresher for those who already understand the ideas, probably a little overwhelming for those who don't.
Bader
It's an amazing word called physics. This book is a wrap-up on the major theories and breakthroughs. I enjoyed reading it and got stuck somehow in both quantum and space and time sections; apparently it's not my preferred area :D.
Mike
A really interesting looking at all sorts of physics areas. The explanations were generally good with a few odd misses.
Patricia
May 17, 2012 Patricia marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
The executive summary is enticing, might just change my perception about physics! Am off the get myself a copy
Joanna
Good overview, which works well with the AS further reading.
Manuel
Too much light. Maybe for children at 15 years old.
Leonardo
Fue mi primer libro leido en el reader! =)
Awatef Ahmittach
Interessant and entertaining.
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