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Six Easy Pieces: Essentials of Physics By Its Most Brilliant Teacher

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  24,930 ratings  ·  935 reviews
Six Easy Pieces: Essentials of Physics Explained by Its Most Brilliant Teacher is a publishing first. This set couples a book containing the six easiest chapters from Richard P. Feynman's landmark work, Lectures on Physics—specifically designed for the general, non-scientist reader—with the actual recordings of the late, great physicist delivering the lectures on which the ...more
Paperback, 138 pages
Published 1995 by Basic Books (first published 1994)
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Ahmad Sharabiani
Mar 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
Six Easy Pieces: Essentials of Physics Explained by Its Most Brilliant Teacher, Richard Feynman

Presents six of the easiest chapters from the Nobel Prize winner's celebrated text Lectures in Physics, originally published in 1963, which comprised the lectures he prepared for undergraduate students at Caltech in the early 1960's.

Addressing key topics in largely qualitative terms without formal mathematics, the six selections discuss atoms in motion, basic physics, the relation of physics to other
Tulpesh Patel
Jun 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pop-science
There is not much more to be said about Richard Feynman’s impact on physics or science communication; the man is as bona-fide legend and as close to being a worshipable God as scientists can have. Six Easy Pieces is a collection of the ‘easiest’ six chapters from Richard Feynman’s most-celebrated text book The Feynman Lectures on Physics.

The ‘easy’ in the title, is, like our sense of time, all relative. The lectures, delivered in the early 60’s, were aimed at “the most intelligent in the class
Feb 01, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, science
Six Easy Pieces consists essentially of some of the initial lectures from the famous Feynman Lectures. The last chapter of this book, also taken from the lectures, is an introduction to quantum mechanics, namely the double-slit experiment. If you’ve never read anything from Feynman, here’s a good point to start.

This book is supposed to introduce the basic concepts of physics and is very easy to read. Feynman was a great teacher. His enthusiasm could captivate anyone, even in written words, and
Courtney Lindwall
Mar 15, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011, non-fiction
Note to reader: I am not within Feynman's target demographic...

So if anyone is familiar with Feynman's "claim to fame," it's basically the idea that he's the most brilliant Physicis teacher of the 20th century and his lectures are ingenius in both their presentation and method.

Now, I'm not the most science-inclined person out there. I've never taken even a preliminary physics course (and these lectures were intended for his intro Caltech class, so...). But I'm also not dumb as a rock, either.

Roy Lotz
Jun 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is one of those rare books whose title says everything that has to be said about it. In fact, the title sums up the book so well that I’ll only repeat it:

Six Easy Pieces: Essentials of Physics Explained by its Most Brilliant Teacher

Sep 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Contains the best explanation for the uncertainty principle I have come across. Still trying to wrap my mind around quantum mechanics though.
Jamie Smith
Mar 30, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science
Richard Feynman’s reputation as one of the 20th century’s great physicists is secure, and he was noted as one its foremost explainers and teachers. His reputation as a person, however, has taken some hits in recent years: misogyny, cruel practical jokes, and contemptuous dismissal of people he considered his intellectual inferiors. If you wish to hold his memory in high regard, you should avoid reading the things he says about women in his autobiography, and when he joined the committee investig ...more
Sep 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I think that, when reading this book, you have to be familiar with physics and maths. There are a lot of books claiming to be for the neophytes in physics/maths/astrology etc. but, truth be told, there is little to be learned when in that position. Which is why people shouldn't consider this book as being no good just because they haven't reached the paradise of enlightment which was promised to them. Such a thing isn't possible. Not from a single book, as far as I know, and anyway, not from thi ...more
Bob Nichols
In these lectures, Feynman is very good at explaining some basic concepts for those fairly new to physics. For field theory, he uses the analogy of waves in a pool to show how motion in one place affects motion in a distant place. He says that matter goes straight unless acted upon by an external force, but we don't know why; that the earth is pulled toward the sun, as opposed to the earth moving around the sun; and that atoms are always in motion ("jigglings and wigglings of atoms") and that su ...more
Jul 11, 2018 rated it liked it
so this book (if you were at all interested) is a collection of the six 'most basic' lectures delivered by richard feynman when he taught caltech 1st year physics undergrads in the early 1960s. feynman is famously an excellent communicator and very good at explaining physics-y things and coming up with analogies. honestly though, i was a little disappointed.
admittedly, i thought the chapter on quantum behaviour (6) was *fantastic*, and probably the best and most thorough explanation i've come ac
If you have heard about the "weirdness" of quantum mechanics but don't know what the hype is all about, look no further than chapter six of this book. In chapter six, with his usual down-to-earth approach, Feynman describes one of the most famous experiments in physics (the double-slit experiment) and what it tells us about the way fundamental particles behave. He compares the behavior of "lumps" to the behavior of "waves" before moving on to the behavior of electrons... and the outcome might su ...more
Menglong Youk
Oct 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
4.5/5 stars

I picked up this book several months ago and then dropped it despite nearly finishing it due to the complexity of the last chapter: Quantum Behavior. This by no means implies that the book is difficult as a whole.

I thoroughly enjoyed the first three chapters: Atoms in Motion, Basic Physics, and the Relations of Physics to Other Sciences. The method he chose to explain the concepts in these chapters was elegant and easy to understand. He compared our understanding the law of physics to
Uzair Ahmed
May 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing
“You know, the most amazing thing happened to me tonight... I saw a car with the license plate ARW 357. Can you imagine? Of all the millions of license plates in the state, what was the chance that I would see that particular one tonight? Amazing!”

I have read few other popular science books, and it's still the same case. It's hard to understand. Some things are easy peasy, some are not so easy (no pun intended). But it's not Richard's fault. He rather did a great job of investing readers int
Apparently these are the 6 "easiest to understand" (despite the inclusion of quantum mechanics!") of the Feynman lectures. Some of them flit too much from one thing to another; I'm sure they were interesting as lectures but they are not the ideal way to read about a topic. However, the way Feynman explains certain concrete idea is really interesting; in particular the chapter on quantum mechanics is good and easy to follow. I'm on the fence as to whether to read the full set of lectures. ...more
Jan 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
A really lucid introduction to physics—lecture style.
Cassandra Kay Silva
Jun 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science
I think it is very rare for someone to be not only brilliant but also a wonderful teacher. Feynman has a very clear and direct style of imparting information. I just love it. Not quite as good as his autobiographical one but still very good.
Agron Bajraktari
Apr 21, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Feynman might be the finest example of how a clear understanding yields simple and precise explanations.
May 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
In the early 1960s the renown physicist, Richard Feynman, delivered introductory courses on physics to first and second year undergraduate students at Caltech, in the USA. His lectures were very popular at the time and whilst aimed at undergraduates, it wasn't uncommon for graduate physics students to infiltrate his classes; the one thing Feynman could be assured of was a full house each time he came to teach this course. The lectures, after some editing, were published in three large volumes. T ...more
Apr 25, 2022 rated it really liked it
If we take a concept and can’t “…reduce it to the freshman level. That means we really don’t understand it.”

This approach to learning and teaching is so true with everything, not just physics. And yet somehow, it’s rare to find people who can break down concepts making it easy to understand and fun. Surely a skill to learn!

Thoroughly enjoyed both this and the second part.
Apr 30, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Almost five-stars. For someone like me (i.e., a layperson that has no background in physics whatsoever), this is a great introduction to the mysterious world of physics—it is humorous and accessible and makes an effort to be "approximately accurate" about everything (while calling itself out on things that are simplified for the sake of the example or else "unknown or unknowable"). However, to be "approximately accurate about everything" means a bunch of math and other fancy-pants equations that ...more
Connie Kuntz
Apr 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book is truly mind-opening and I am convinced that Feynman was one enlightened dude. As I read the book, I felt myself opening up to the concept of atoms, amalgamations, energy, astronomy, gravity, light years, colliders and quantum physics. There was humor, history and simplified experiments in the book, too, which gave the field of Physics an "inviting" feeling, rather than a snooty one. The first five chapters were wonderful, but I struggled quite a bit with Chapter 6. To be clear: I sti ...more
Previously, I had read Richard Feynman's "What Do You Care What They Think" & absolutely loved it! It goes without saying that Richard Feynman, a Nobel Prize winner in Physics, is beyond brilliant....but I said it anyway. I enjoy his writing & his joy of discovery in all things scientific. If I'd had a Physics professor like him maybe I would've understood it or had more interest in physical sciences. That said, I found this book very interesting and informative but the formulas & concepts were ...more
John Gribbin
Aug 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
One of the biggest influences on my scientific career, and later my career as a populariser of science, was the multi-volume Feynman Lectures on Physics which appeared in the early 1960s. This epitome of that masterwork really does offer an easy guide to what physics, and science in general, is all about. Feynman explores the most fundamental scientific theories that all intelligent people should be aware of – the structure and behaviour of atoms, quantum mechanics and gravity. These are the fun ...more
Mar 22, 2020 rated it liked it
The thing that bothers me about this is that physics sounds interesting in a book like this but I did my high school physics and first year physics at university and the core of it, the thing you had to learn and understand want the fascinating results and conclusions, it was the collection of vast amounts of data and then the math. The formulas, the statistical analysis, the endless calculation. It's math (maths?). It's all math. And math is beautiful sometimes but it's also a huge amount of gr ...more
Alex Shutova
Jan 29, 2022 rated it it was amazing
It's all of highschool physics but without any math, like fruit without fiber, just the sugar baby.

That said, it's not perfect. It's a little dense sometimes.
Jul 15, 2021 rated it really liked it
Ahh I just love the way Feynman used to teach Physics in such an innovative and fun way. There's no way I would've dozed off in his lectures, but sadly not all of our wishes come true. His book "Six easy pieces: Essentials of Physics" talks about some of the basic topics of Physics, so it's a great book for beginners. However, for people who are even slightly well versed with the subject of Physics, this book can merely be used to brush up their basics.
One thing that is very particularly intere
Murtaza Hasan
May 20, 2021 rated it really liked it
The ideas of Richard Feynman are brilliant and cuts right across the wordplay we have for ourselves. All of us seem to think if we know the name of something or if we have discovered a formula for something we 'know' it.

Feynman beautifully points out there is so much we have no clue about and while we may have learnt to use these ideas to our advantage, we actually do not understand all these amazing phenomena such as atoms, astronomy, conservation of energy, theory of gravitation, quantum behav
Mar 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science
I love this book. I wonder why I didn't study physics when I was younger. It is so fascinating. Physics is probably the most significant science of all time. It has had its impact already on many fronts. There'd be no transistors or cell phones without physics. If we don't apply Einstein's equations into the satellites we build, our GPS will render useless. Physics also has an intimate relationship with other scientific fields like astronomy, chemistry, biology, etc. I think this book is relativ ...more
Nov 16, 2021 rated it really liked it
Great, original book! I doubt it serves its intended goal as teaching material though for first year students. The book introduces Richard Feynman as one of Earths greatest teachers and at the same time describes how half of his pupils drop out without him noticing. I think Feynman is a superb teacher for those already familiar with the subject, sharing exciting unique perspectives and thought experiments aiming for deep understanding.
Jul 30, 2022 rated it liked it
I had lot of expectations from this book, lacked lucid diagrams for explaining things better, or may be it's just issue with kindle version! ...more
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Richard Phillips Feynman was an American physicist known for the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics, the theory of quantum electrodynamics and the physics of the superfluidity of supercooled liquid helium, as well as work in particle physics (he proposed the parton model). For his contributions to the development of quantum electrodynamics, Feynman was a joint recipient of the Nobel Pr ...more

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