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Seven Brief Lessons on Physics

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  23,844 ratings  ·  2,676 reviews
Everything you need to know about modern physics, the universe and our place in the world in seven enlightening lessons

'Here, on the edge of what we know, in contact with the ocean of the unknown, shines the mystery and the beauty of the world. And it's breathtaking'

These seven short lessons guide us, with simplicity and clarity, through the scientific revolution that sho
Paperback, 83 pages
Published June 30th 2016 by Penguin (first published October 22nd 2014)
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Caleb Liu Yes, this is a very clear and very concise introduction written simply and often very elegantly. It gives you a good overview of modern physics, often…moreYes, this is a very clear and very concise introduction written simply and often very elegantly. It gives you a good overview of modern physics, often using wonderfully apt images and metaphors. While you will end up with even more questions after reading this, that is a good thing rather than a bad one. (less)
Nathanael This book will give you a nice context for physics if you are studying them in an academic setting. It will not help you with technical work, but…moreThis book will give you a nice context for physics if you are studying them in an academic setting. It will not help you with technical work, but rather give a poetic frame to hang the technical "stuff". Its a fast read so I highly recommend it to augment your studies!(less)
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Mar 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
"Physics opens windows through which we see far into the distance. What we see does not cease to astound us. We realize that we are full of prejudices and that our intuitive image of the world is partial, parochial, inadequate."
― Carlo Rovelli, Seven Brief Lessons on Physics


At the highest level a discussion of physics doesn't just operate on a mathematical level, but a poetic and philosophical level as well. Look closely at the writings of Aristotle, Lucretius, Einstein and Feynman, and one disc
Brian Clegg
This strikes me as the kind of book that would really impress an arts graduate who thought it was giving deep insights into science in an elegant fashion, but for me it was a triumph of style over substance - far too little content to do justice to the subject. It is, in effect, seven articles strung together as a mini-book that can be read comfortably in an hour, but is priced like a full-length work.

Don't get me wrong, Carlo Rovelli knows his stuff when it comes to physics and gives us postcar
Jul 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Seven Brief Lessons on Physics
Carlo Rovelli

A theoretical physicist philosophical guide to modern physics. It’s written as an assessable introduction for people unfamiliar with the concepts. Successfully, I believe. A lot of times beginner guides are overly simple for the first chapter and then require years of study to understand the rest of the book. At less than 100 pages, you can’t expect a thorough explanation and quantum physics is mind-bending. You might want the text to best appreciate
☘Misericordia☘ ~ The Serendipity Aegis ~  ⚡ϟ⚡ϟ⚡⛈ ✺❂❤❣
Ok, I admit to some of my sins. I picked this up to make myself feel better on my loafing, which is something that keeps happening often! I might be deluding myself... or not.

The fabrics of reality, as we try to understand it now, is described in this book in a visionary language. We are able to follow a journey through centuries, to see links between the greatest mind influencers of all ages.

I do too feel better about myself and my lapses in 'daily toil'. Cheers!!!

In his youth Albert Einstein
Kevin Kelsey
Jun 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2017
This book explained the basic concepts of physics, and major breakthroughs in the field over the years in such an effortlessly poetic way, that I couldn't help but be drawn in and understand them a little bit better. Really fantastic stuff.
Jul 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review was originally published on the books and pieces blog.

In those moments of life when the grim figures of anxiety, stress, or panic grip me tight and threaten to never let go, I have learned that the one thing sure to scare them off is a nice little face-off with the end of the universe.

That’s my super casual way of saying I’ve been having a bit of a hard time with anxiety recently. Anxiety is a fucker because it messes with my ability to concentrate which is something very necessary
Sean Gibson
Apr 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It should be noted as a point of fact that “brief” does not mean “simple.”

I really like physics. It explains how everything works, and it’s a discipline that doesn’t dogmatically cling to outmoded ideas when new evidence suggests that everything we thought we knew was completely and totally erroneous (I, conversely, very much enjoy clinging dogmatically to outmoded ideas, including, but not limited to, the idea that parachute pants are cool, Van Hagar was the best incarnation of Van Halen, and i
Jan 15, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Quick read. I felt the author talked about himself more than any of the theories he was trying to convey in his book.
These are such complex theories, that were so dumbed- down it was impossible to read at times.
Joey Woolfardis
The first thing that needs to be said is that I have overrated this book by at least one star, maybe two. And I reason thusly...

It is at times poetic, always interesting and forever thought-provoking. It is a beautifully bound hardback (if you have that copy), small enough to take with you everywhere and enjoy anywhere, and tactile enough to let you enjoy what you have just read in a way many books do not allow.


Carlo Rovelli is the Italian version of our beloved may he never go back to
Nov 22, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: physics, science
Engaging but over-slight summary of a few foundational concepts of modern physics, including special relativity, quantum theory, the standard model, as well as some leading hypothetical ideas like loop quantum gravity.

It's always welcome to read someone who's working from the conviction that these ideas should be accessible to everyone, not just a coterie of science graduates, and Rovelli certainly has an appealing turn of phrase. For instance: talking about Hawking radiation in the context of c
Jun 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ο Ροβέλι είναι μια εξέχουσα μορφή της θεωρητικής φυσικής. Πέραν της καθαρά ερευνητικής του δραστηριότητας, γράφει σε μια Ιταλική εφημερίδα, φέρνοντας τον καθημερινό άνθρωπο λίγο πιο κοντά στα επιτεύγματα της φυσικής. Σε τούτο το βιβλίο μαζεύει τα πιο σημαντικά του άρθρα, τα εμπλουτίζει και φτιάχνει έναν τόμο.

Το βιβλίο είχε εξαιρετική επιτυχία, πέρασε σε πωλήσεις μεγαθήρια. Δεν μου κάνει εντύπωση. Πέραν του ότι στην χώρα του ο Ροβέλι έχει μεγάλη απήχηση, γράφει με πάθος αλλά και σεμνότητα. Μέσα σ
Dec 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

These seven brief lessons about physics are interesting, enlightening, and (more or less) accessible to non-scientists. The author, Carlo Rovelli, is a theoretical physicist with great enthusiasm for his subject matter.

The lessons (which I'm greatly simplifying) include:

Special Theory of Relativity: The faster you move, the slower time passes. This would be really obvious if you could travel at the speed of light.
General Theory of Relativity: Space is not empty, but composed of particles of so
Mar 21, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: saggi, scienza

Chi sa sa, chi non sa continua a non sapere

Queste sette lezioni (che poi sono sei più una parte dedicata a riflessioni generali sull’uomo) sono parzialmente tratte da una serie di articoli pubblicati dall’autore sul “Sole 24 Ore”.

Le lezioni trattano, in 88 pagine complessive, cosucce come la relatività generale di Einstein, la meccanica quantistica, le particelle elementari, l’architettura del cosmo, i buchi neri ed altro ancora.

Arrivato alla fine del saggio mi è venuta in mente una freddura che
Riku Sayuj
Short and sweet. Six extremely brief lessons on six crucial areas of Physics and a final one on where we fit into all of it. Rovelli starts with General Relativity and shows us how elegant and simple it is - to re-imagine space as a place that bends, stretches, and interacts with the stars. What a leap of imagination it must have taken to think of emptiness itself as an object which interacts. Rovelli says that that is a key to modern physics, the realization that it is all about interactions an ...more
Carlo Rovelli considers that everything is relational, and things only exist in virtue of their interactions with other things, so it's perhaps appropriate that I read Setti brevi lezioni di fisica in the way I did. Rovelli knows physics and Italian, and has used that knowledge to produce the book, so there is a relationship R between the book, physics and Italian. Most readers will know Italian, have the book in front of them, and make use of R to obtain knowledge about physics. I'm in a differ ...more
One brief book on modern physics for those of us who know nothing of the subject. I recall a friend talking excitedly about quantum physics in 1968. I paid little attention at the time and since. Now I want to understand a bit of this, just a bit.

Rovelli does a good job of explaining complex concepts in plain language. Some of it did not come through very well but the book has served its purpose - to give me a sense of the basic problems and concepts of modern physics. In 80 pages, I cannot exp
May 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: italiana, fisica
Sono pagine che raccontano di gente che con lo sguardo sapeva spaziare oltre l’orizzonte.
Sono pagine sulla bellezza.
E su occhi nuovi per vedere il mondo.
Il mondo continua a cambiare sotto i nostri occhi, man mano che lo vediamo meglio.
Siamo polvere di stelle.
As a poem, this is quite beautiful. As a brief lesson, I'm confused. If the purpose was to ignite curiosity, I suppose this book met its objective. If its purpose was to distill the laws of physics into a comprehensible narrative, I'm afraid it did not work for me. I'm more confused now than when I started. I'm admittedly just starting my exploration of physics, but so far to me it seems like a subject you need to do a deep dive. Though this writing is poetic, the towering concepts seemed ethere ...more
Dec 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: translated-by-me
Прочетох я бързо, преведох я бавно, редактирах я мууудно... Но какво е това във Вселена, в която "Хайзенберг допуска, че електроните невинаги съществуват..."? Нищо :)

Много поучителна и със забавни моменти като този, в който авторът (кликнете, кликнете, ще чуете и него на английски, и любимите му Джанис и Джана :) прави сравнение по повод двете несъвместими, но верни теории (на относителността и квантовата): "Природата се отнася с нас като онзи стар равин, при когото отишли за съвет двама спорещи
Matteo Fumagalli
"Non siamo curiosi contro natura, siamo curiosi per natura. [...] Nasciamo e moriamo come nascono e muoiono le stelle, sia individualmente che collettivamente. Questa è la nostra realtà. Per noi, proprio per la sua natura effimera, la vita è preziosa."
Dec 23, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fic
Seven brief sentences on Carlo Rovelli's Seven Brief Lessons On Physics:

1. Trying to understand Physics will melt your brain.

2. Gravity is like a giant snail shell around us that ripples like a sea - it's an omnipresent sea snail, and it's also the sea, and all the currents and my analogy is confusing.

3. A person further from the ground ages faster than one at sea level, so I'm moving my desk to the bottom of a mineshaft.

4. Actually, time isn't really a thing - you only think it is, silly human
Why is everyone so crazy for this book? It's written on in the most abstract generalities (yet he can't resist including the general relativity equation for gravity without explanation). It's a high-level history almost anyone could have written, with one chapter expressing the favorite European flavor of the day: "we're doomed."

Without footnotes pointing to the more exacting details of physics, what is the audience for this book? The Sunday Supplements? The readers won't learn much--for exampl
Sep 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
بزرگترین ویژگی این کتاب کوچک به عنوان اثری برای معرفی مفاهیم فیزیک این است که با تئوری نسبیت عام شروع می کند. یعنی به تاریخ و مفاهیمی که شاید بارها از فیزیک نیوتونی و مکانیک شنیده ایم باز نمی گردد و مبنا را از فیزیک مدرن میگذارد تا در حجمی اندک به آخرین دستاوردها بپردازد. از این لحاظ اثر مقدماتی بسیار مفیدی است که به آخرین دستاوردها و مهم تر از آن ارتباطات منطقی و مفهومی بین نظریه های نسبیت عام، مکانیک کوانتومی وگرانش کوانتومی حلقوی می پردازد و بحث را به پیچیدگی های تعریف مکان و زمان در مقیاس کو ...more
Carlo Rovelli

This little book is a summary of the seven major science subjects condensed into seven lessons of no more than twelve pages each.

It is written for readers like me, who know little about modern science and are grateful to get to know a little more.


The first lesson is dedicated to Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity, “the most beautiful of theories.”

Newton, the great father of modern science, had his ideas about “the force o
Sam Quixote
Jul 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wish I was more interested in reading about science because every time I hear about a science story or read a random article in New Scientist, I’m always impressed – science is great and my knowledge of it is pitifully lacking. But when it comes to tackling even a 200 page science book, I know I’m setting myself up for a fall and I inevitably abandon it. Still, as Carlo Rovelli writes, “It is part of our nature to long to know more, and to continue to learn”, and it’s good to get out of our co ...more
Alice Lippart
Nov 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Quick, easy and interesting.
Mar 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-ish
I adore the ideas of quantum mechanics and particle physics, and I have yet to find an author capable of explaining them to me in a way that sticks in my brain for any length of time. While I'm reading or listening, I'm absolutely entranced, but once the “interaction” is over my understanding flickers out of existence like one of those elusive little Heisenberg particles. I have “quantum understanding.” Still, given this handicap, I found Rovelli's book absolutely delightful. He simplifies diffi ...more
Jun 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
At school Physics was a mystery to me and one which I preferred to keep that way. The teachers didn't help. The beginning of my school week was made even more wretched by having a double dose of Physics first thing on a Monday morning.

With the passing of the years the time seemed right to confront this particular demon. How fortunate for me that I was able to do so with the help of Carlo Rovelli. These seven bite sized lessons are clearly and elegantly written. The last one is beautifully writte
Mar 28, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Hmm this one was an interesting read. It's basically a rough introduction to Physics told through 7 different mini lessons. The ideas within the book are of course pretty complex, but the author has 'dumbed-down' or simplified it as much as possible to make it as accessible as possible.

First up, let's discuss the fact that the cover of this is plain stunning. I have to say that the cover art was the initial reason I had an interest in reading this book, and once I heard what it was I was intrigu
Paulo Pires
Oct 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: blog
Um livro surpreendente ...

Este é um livro pequeno em tamanho mas grande no potencial e na mensagem que transmite. Recebi ontem e li no mesmo dia!

Achei deliciosa a forma como é apresentada a física, como de uma forma simples nos é oferecido o universo e aguçada a curiosidade para os assuntos abordados.

Apreciei o cuidado que o autor teve no discurso, no privilegiar de uma mensagem clara, limpa e perceptível (dentro do possível) ao comum dos mortais.

Para mim são muitas as revelações, e é intere
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Carlo Rovelli is an Italian theoretical physicist and writer who has worked in Italy and the USA, and currently works in France. His work is mainly in the field of quantum gravity, where he is among the founders of the loop quantum gravity theory. He has also worked in the history and philosophy of science. He collaborates regularly with several Italian newspapers, in particular the cultural suppl ...more
“We are made of the same stardust of which all things are made, and when we are immersed in suffering or when we are experiencing intense joy we are being nothing other than what we can’t help but be: a part of our world.” 66 likes
“In his youth Albert Einstein spent a year loafing aimlessly. You don't get anywhere by not 'wasting' time- something, unfortunately, that the parents of teenagers tend frequently to forget.” 49 likes
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