Mike Jensen's Reviews > The Cartoon Guide to Physics

The Cartoon Guide to Physics by Larry Gonick
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Jun 18, 12

Read in June, 2012

I have a problem with the way that physics is taught. Regarding Newton’s second law, you generally read that if you push against a wall with 100 pounds of force, the wall pushes back with 100 pounds. Walls don’t push, can’t push, can not intend to push, or exert any muscles to push. Consequently, I have no idea what is meant. I tend to assume that resistance to the push is meant and that is why the wall does not move, but that is not what people write. Furthermore, if you push with 1000 pounds of power against a wall, maybe the wall crumbles and you go through it. Resistance fails. Where is Newton’s second law then? F=m.a indeed!

OK, so we have established that I do not understand the most basic of concepts in physics. I assume that Newton’s second is true, but I am either too stupid to understand it or the way it is explained is so inadequate as to baffle understanding, and so it is in this book. This book used 90 pounds, not 100, but the standard failed ways of explaining physics are in force. Hey, force. Maybe baffling explanations are Newton’s fourth law or Maxwell’s fifth, or something.

This book does a very nice job of explaining physics in the baffling way, but it is still the baffling way. Maybe the next basic physics book I read will get it right.
1 like · likeflag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read The Cartoon Guide to Physics.
sign in »

Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

dateDown_arrow    newest »

message 1: by K (new)

K Hi Mike Jensen, I like your comment, I too don't understand when books give examples like these to explain Newtons second law. I don't think you are stupid, the ones who are writing them are :) who went beyond common sense or they too dumb not to capture the essence and passing on the the confusion down the line.

If you understand the Second law in the sense of wall pushing back please let me know.


back to top