Why Does E=Mc2?

Book Reviews | Apr 7th, 2011

Author: Brian Cox & Jeff Forshaw
Publisher: Da Capo Press
Genre: Science
Pages: 242
Buy On Amazon.com


Of all of the books on relativity (and physics in general) that I’ve read (or tried to read), Why Does E=MC2 is the clearest and most accessible. While other books explain “what” the equation means, this one explains the “why” better than any. The book breaks down and clearly explains so many complicated concepts that the casual reader will feel like a genius by the last page.

I thought I understood the basics of relativity, but this book’s step-by-step approach lead me from one a-ha moment to the next. I was impressed by how carefully (but engagingly) the authors laid down the foundations of understanding speed of light, space-time, and mass, while avoiding both dumbed-down language and complicated mathematics.

The latter has always been the learning curve for me in reading about physics – I understand everything until the equations kick in, and then I just weakly smile and nod. This book, though, helped me over that hump. When the occasional equation or confusing concept did show up, I was surprised at how this book prepared me for them, and found that the meaning was suddenly in my grasp.

Those readers who are already familiar with these concepts or who prefer less “popular science” science books may get exasperated by the hand holding and the authors’ occasional conversational and informal tone. But I think even experts in the field will find something in here that will help a concept “click.” And anyone else who has ever been remotely interested in relativity (but were too afraid to ask) will have no better place to start their journey.

Bottom Line: This book will make you feel smart.
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