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Einstein's Heroes: Imagining the World Through the Language of Mathematics

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  87 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
Imagine you are fluent in a magical language of prophecy, a language so powerful it can accurately describe things you cannot see or even imagine. Einstein's Heroes takes you on a journey of discovery about just such a miraculous language--the language of mathematics--one of humanity's most amazing accomplishments.
Blending science, history, and biography, this remarkable
Paperback, 323 pages
Published July 1st 2006 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published January 1st 2004)
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Mar 23, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I simply loved this book as a student fresh out of high school. It got me excited about what I was about to go and study at university - physics, maths and the ground-breaking theories they were used to derive. But Einstein's Hero's also introduced me to my scientific hero, James Clerk Maxwell, and for that reason I will always love this book.
Dr. Arianrhod's contention is that the grammer of mathematics allows us to reach concluusions that we would otherwise miss. Nice explanation of vector calculus. Focus on J. C. Maxwell's work
Andy Love
Apr 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This is an unusual book - partially a biography of Newton, Faraday and Maxwell (Einstein had portraits of Maxwell and Newton on his wall - hence the title), but mostly a detailed discussion of how the relationship between math and physics changed due to the work of these scientists, and how the notion of a field, which Faraday developed and Maxwell mathematicized, revolutionized physics of the 19th century, paving the way for Einstein's relativity. The mathematics in the book is deliberately kep ...more
Jul 05, 2012 rated it liked it
This is an interesting text that seems to be 3 separate book ideas mashed into one. Part biography of James Maxwell, part mathematical and physics history, part mathematical philosophy, Arianrhod is all over the place. She writes with passion, and the portion of the book that describes the life of James Maxwell is a well written biography of one of physics' most under-recognized heroes. I think she would have been better off on tackling one of these ideas, but there are some really interesting i ...more
Tom Adams
Feb 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book presents a very lovely view of mathematics, presenting it as a "language in its own right". And the author had the inspired notion of structuring her book around the work of three mathematical idols of another seminal thinker: Einstein's admiration of Newton, Faraday and Maxwell. A lot of ground is covered in the course of this book, and Arianrhod presents a lot of mathematics and physics in a manner that is accessible to any interested reader. Highly recommended!
Ricardo Guerreiro
Aug 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating read that will reveal many historical events that led to interesting discoveries in the scientific realm and that in turn led to applications we now take for granted. Mathematics revisited through the works and lives of Newton, Faraday, Maxwell and Einstein (the middle two, personal heroes of mine).
Matt McCormick
Jun 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
I appreciated the fact that most of the actual math was explained at a level I could comprehend - although I just didn't have the energy to really grasp vectors let only the differential sort. I was most intrigued by the wonderful narratives of the subjects: Maxwell and Faraday. The author placed their work and their thinking into the evolution of the early scientific revolution. It seems to this lay reader that Newtonian thinking (action at a distance) was fast approaching dogma. Faraday and th ...more
Brian O'Leary
Dec 11, 2017 rated it it was ok
Too wordy, convoluted approach to explaining math, some interesting math ideas, but not explained very well.
Don Heiman
Feb 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Robyn Arianrhod published her book "Einstein's Heroes" in 2003. Robyn's book captures the magic of mathematics and physics in language easy to understand and full of insight. Her notes and index are great. The book presents the brilliance of James Maxwell, Galileo, Copernicus, Newton, Faraday, Ampere, Hertz, and Einstein in the context of their times and in the context of our present day.
Stephen Hackney
May 02, 2015 rated it liked it
The author went back in time and presented elements of the lives of a number of philosophers/mathematicians that enriched my knowledge and understanding of these historical figures, figures who's groundbreaking work made the future development leading to 20th Century breakthroughs in physics possible. My only criticism is the author's style and presentation, too frequently, was such that at times there was not a very smooth transition between time and people, for me.
Michael Soso
Very informative and very readable. It establishes the importance of Faraday and Maxwell in the development of modern physics while at the same time, illustrating how modern mathematics became central to this development.
Irina Kebreau
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