Monday, 30 August 2010

Book Review: Why Does E=mc2? (And why should we care?) by James Ellor

Ask a person on the street about the famous E=mc2 equation and you might get a vague response about it having something to do with Einstein. A person with some degree of scientific training (like myself) could tell you it has something to do with energy, mass and the speed of light squared, but how and why we know this and more importantly, why it is so, would stretch even those with a physics degree.

With Why Does E=mc2? Professors Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw, come into their own by explaining the most complex, incomprehensible and downright weird niceties of quantum physics in a simple, accessible manner. That they do this with only the one mild instance of blinding the reader with maths speaks volumes about their skills. The apparently mundane revelation that, as a direct consequence of E=mc2, a sprung mousetrap weighs ever so slightly less than a set one, sends as much a tingle down one’s spine as contemplating the size of the universe.

The last chapter on Einstein’s general relativity, and the resulting warping of space and time due to gravity, adds a final dose of weirdness, just in case special relativity wasn’t enough for you.

1 comment:

  1. yes e=mc2 a litre of water has the potential energy equivalent of 10 million gallons of petrol but read capital a critique of political economy and you'll probably realise you've stumbled across mans(male/female)biggest leap forward since electricity oh the book is written by k marx