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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shelves:
favorites

ไม่ใช่เรื่องของไอน์ไตน์เพียงคนเดียว แต่เป็นเรื่องราวของนักวิทยาศาสตร์หลายๆคนที่มีส่วนเกี่ยวของกับสมการ E=mc2 ตั้งแต่ยุคแรกของการคิดค้นจนถึงการนำไปใช้งานอย่างจริงจัง

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

Mar 04, 2012
Remo
rated it
4 of 5 stars
·
review of another edition

Shelves:
divulgacion-cientifica,
2007

Había oído hablar bastantes veces de este libro, y finalmente lo encontré barato. Y no saben cuánto me alegro. David Bodanis [DB] justifica en el prólogo el porqué de un libro como éste: En una reunión de amigos, todos ellos “de letras”, surgió el tema de conversación de E=mc2, y DB, curioso, preguntó si todos conocían esta ecuación. ¡Por supuesto que sí! ¡Es una ecuación famosísima de Einstein! ¿Y sabéis qué significa? Ah, ni idea. DB utilizó esta excusa para profundizar en todo lo relacionado

...moreFor one, this book is aimed at kindergartners.

Fay Weldon , in an ebullient blurb, claims that by reading this book she achieved an understanding of Einstein’s theory of relativity “by osmosis”. I’m afraid my brain does not work that way. For me, insight is based on facts, concepts and reasoning. And some concepts are not easy, and some sophisticated reasoning is sometimes necessary to "get" a difficult theory. In principle, all of this can be e...more

I always hated to learn and calculate the formulas for physics and mathematics in school. So why would I deal with it in my free time?

This is a book about the world’s most famous equation that nearly everyone can recite, but almost no one can explain it correctly and comprehensibly. David Bodanis explains us much more than the origins and consequences of Einstein’s discovery that mass and energy are interchangeable, and that energy equals mass times the sp...more

The author broke down each element of the equation devoting a chapter to

**E**(and how scientists found that energy is energy, is energy regardless of the form it takes - and also the wave rather than linear concept thereof) a chapter to

**=**(yes the equals sign), a chapter to

**m**basically getting into the laws of conservation of matter, a chapter to

**c**(the constant of the speed of light - put it in terms...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

This bo...more

Aug 23, 2010
Danielle
rated it
3 of 5 stars
·
review of another edition

Shelves:
biography,
science-technology

I'd give this a 3.5. I found the beginning to be a little slow, but once the book moved more into people's lives and the rush for the A-bomb things really picked up. One thing to note is the enthusiasm of the author. I never expected to see so many exclamation points in a book about science, but maybe that's just because I lack imagination. While at times Bodanis seems to lay it on a little thick, there are parts of the book in which I genuinely shared his enthusiasm. Learning about the practica...more

May 21, 2007
Elizabeth
rated it
5 of 5 stars
·
review of another edition

Recommends it for:
Imaginative types

Shelves:
nonfiction

This book made me fall in love with physics all over again. Much like spinning together a crazy plot or fairy tale, scientists must think "out-of-the-box" in order to take a theory to the next level. You kind of feel lighter than air as you read about their thought process.

I loved picturing Einstein at his home with his newborn son on his knee, plotting how light affects the conversion from mass to energy. There is something fantastic about equations--the way all the pieces fit together is quit...more

I loved picturing Einstein at his home with his newborn son on his knee, plotting how light affects the conversion from mass to energy. There is something fantastic about equations--the way all the pieces fit together is quit...more

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