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# E=mc²: A Biography of the World's Most Famous Equation

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. But far fewer can explain his insightful linkage of energy to mass. 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
...more

Kindle Edition, 362 pages

Published
(first published 2000)

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## Community Reviews

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There are lots of biographies of Einstein, and I think the best may have just been published(I am currently reading "Einstein: His Life and Universe" by Walter Isaacson.)

But rather than write about the professor, Bodanis discusses each of the five elements of the equation. He also talks about the people ...more

This book is a well laid out explanation of each part of the equation, its history, and its role in our universe.

Long Version:

The genesis of David Bodanis’ book was an interview he read in which actress Cameron Diaz expressed the desire-serious or in jest-to know what E=mc² really meant. Bodanis realized that the truth is that very few people have even a rudimentary knowledge of the usefulness of the world’s most famous equation; this book is his attempt to rectify that.

The format ...more

It should be possible to write a book that explains the science without simplifying to the point of misleading.

Without focusing on a small number of historical persons and giving them credit for advances that were not theirs

Without making some seem more like mystics than sc ...more

Aug 16, 2012
rabbitprincess
rated it
4 of 5 stars
·
review of another edition

Recommends it for:
those who like science non-fiction

Recommended to rabbitprincess by:
Go Review That Book!

* * * 1/2

How does one write the "biography" of an equation? Sure, it's "born" whenever the person invents it, but equations can't exactly grow up, marry and die, at least not in the way living things can. David Bodanis's approach to biography is to first explain each part of the equation (E, =, m, c2) and the scientific developments that led to these elements being used in common scientific parlance, and then to trace the history of the whole equation, from when Einstein first developed it to ho ...more

How does one write the "biography" of an equation? Sure, it's "born" whenever the person invents it, but equations can't exactly grow up, marry and die, at least not in the way living things can. David Bodanis's approach to biography is to first explain each part of the equation (E, =, m, c2) and the scientific developments that led to these elements being used in common scientific parlance, and then to trace the history of the whole equation, from when Einstein first developed it to ho ...more

The book has its downsides. I really felt the equation could have been explained in much more exciting way than the Author did. But, I did like the fact that the Author focused in great detail about making of the Atomi ...more

In my opinion this is mostly a history book, just like one could expect from its subtitle "A Biography of the World's Most Famous Equation". It provides comprehensive historical background, spiced up with a lot of little known facts about people, whose work eventually contribu ...more

Mar 23, 2009
Aleisha Z Coleman
rated it
5 of 5 stars
·
review of another edition

Shelves:
favorite-authors-of-all-time

I am having a hard time not being impressed with myself because this is the second book in the "hard" scientific realm that I have just adored (the first being "A Short History of Everything"). It had such an impressively daunting title that I couldn't have explained except that it has something to do with Einstein. However, I am confident that I could explain the basics of this equation after reading this book. In addition, it has motivated me to find out more of how this equation influenced hi
...more

Each component of this equation is broken down into individual histories, starting with an explanation of the concepts behind the symbol E, represent ...more

Sep 01, 2014
Laura Walin
rated it
3 of 5 stars
·
review of another edition

Shelves:
popularised-science

Jos tämä kirja olisi loppunut sivulle 230/379, olisin antanut sille neljä tähteä epäröimättä. Idea oli loistava, kertoakin yhtälön elämäkerta lähtien esivanhemmista (E, =, m, c ja 2), nuoruudesta, kukoistuksesta jne.Lisäksi teoksessa oli mielestäni erittäin hyvin osattu selittää ko. yhtälön merkitys tällaiselle maallikollekin, jolla on vertailupohjana kuitenkin melko paljon alan popularisoituja teoksia. Oivalsin jotain uutta.

Kirjan ongelmana on kuitenkin rakenne. Ensin epilogi "Mitä Einstein myö ...more

Kirjan ongelmana on kuitenkin rakenne. Ensin epilogi "Mitä Einstein myö ...more

Jan 02, 2013
Pongsak Sarapukdee
rated it
4 of 5 stars
·
review of another edition

Shelves:
favorites

ไมใชเรืองของไอนไตนเพียงคนเดียว แตเปนเรืองราวของนักวิทยาศาสตรหลายๆคนทีมีสวนเกียวของกับสมการ E=mc2 ตังแตยุคแรกของการคิดคนจนถึงการนำไปใชงานอยางจริงจัง
...more

May 23, 2015
Angelina EVHS Cayabyab
rated it
5 of 5 stars
·
review of another edition

Shelves:
favorites

This book is well written and very straightforward with describing the history behind the world's first equation, and what the equation simply means. The book starts from what made the author interested in making this scientific journalist book, to personal accounts of famous scientists/mathematicians behind the equation, to the biography of Albert Einstein (since he dedicated his life the most to find this equation; he believed to be the "simple equation for everything in life"), to the legacy
...more

Bodanis writes well and does as good a job of visualising and explaining some pretty abstract concepts. He wanders a little at ...more

Op de cover van mijn examplaar staat Einstein, dus zou je snel de fout kunnen maken dat dit over een biografie gaat van de bekenste geleerder aller tijden, maar niets is minder waar.

De subtitel 'Biografie van de bekenste formule' vat het helemaal samen. De formule wordt uit elkaar gehaald en naalde voor draadje besproken en uitgelegd. Zo krijgt elk element zijn geschiedenis en oorsprong. Ja, zelfs het gelijkheidsteken krijgt ...more

Author: David Bodanis

Pages: 337

Publisher: 0425181642 (ISBN13: 9780425181645)

E=mc2: A Biography of the World's Most Famous Equation is by far, one of my favourite biography book. I have never read such an entertaining book where I felt such a passion towards science. I have always hated science in the past two years in high school. But this book really opens my eyes to the beauty of this simple equation with splendid stories and histo ...more

Vivid, readable and compelling

This is science history framed as a biography about Albert Einstein's famous equation, and an especially good read. Bodanis begins with Einstein in the Bern Patent Office in 1905, and then goes back in time to examine each of the elements in Einstein's equation in turn, starting with energy, followed by the equals sign, then mass, and then the speed of light (where I learned that the "c" i ...more

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