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Why Does E=mc2? - Brian Cox

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Author: Brian Cox, Jeff Forshaw / Paperback / 256 Pages / Book is published 2010-03-04 by Da Capo

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      20.08.2010 12:59
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      Be uber cool, and be able to discuss realtivity, and casuality, like a Scientist!

      _+-----Background------+_

      This book seems to promise to do the impossible, to explain away Sciences and Einsteins most famous of formula, in simple terms, with little mathematics, or complex science, and all with the paradox; of ALSO being entertaining.

      I am sure many of the female readers of this review (and many of the men) will defnitely know and maybe even admire Professor Brian Cox, he along with his floppy hair, and aviators, seems to be appearing everywhere these days.

      From playing with liquid nitrogen, and butt plugs (not a typo) on the Jonahthan Ross show, to cooking with Tim Lovejoy on Something for the Weekend, or even talking science funding on the Alternative Election Show.

      Or more likely you saw him as did millions of others, calling Astrology "Rubbish" on his superb (and surely to be, award winning), BBC2 television series "Wonders of the Solar System". Calmly explaining away things like the 'Conservation of Angular Momentum', and actually making it easy to understand.

      Well both Brian, and Professor Jeff Forshaw (largely unknown but another great character) get together, to explain away in simple terms, and with little advanced mathematics, one of the most frequently asked questions in Science, being;

      Why does E=MC2 (and why should we care).


      _+-----Who is this book for-----+_

      This book would suit anyone with a general interest in Science, or anyone who wants something very entertaining but at the same time very educational. It would most likely suit younger people, and serve as an inspirational motivator to study Science.



      _+-----The Review-----+_

      After quite a long winded few pages including a preface, (and how Brians wife Gia Milo-something-ovic asked this very same question, and other various entertaining but pointless drivel and dedications), the book finally gets underway with an eye opening introduction to Space Time.

      I have got to say, the first Chapter does really suck you in, and any thoughts that Science is boring, and overly complicated to explain is quickly disspelled. Later chapters on the Speed of Light, Special Relativity etc, do get slightly more complex, but nothing more than the average person wouldn't understand easily. And the well known fact that "You can't go faster than light" is explained beautifully, rather than being forced down your throat as a given.

      After reading a few chapters you will definitely be viewing things differently.
      For example, did you know that time actually passes slower for a person standing on a train platform, than the time actually is, if you were seated on the train and whizzing past. Meaning you will get off the train younger (relatively) to the person who was stationery. Albeit by the tiniest fractions of a second, but younger nonetheless!

      While you may think this irrelevant, as your lifespan remains the same, it certainly isn't when you consider space travel. The book goes on to demonstrate that how travelling at fractions of the speed of light out into space for a year, would actually mean 1,000s of years would be passing on Earth, relative to you, the space traveller.

      Another example, is how distances also shrink the faster you go too, again the book explains how a 4 meter long car, would fit inside a 3.75 meter long garage if it were travelling at something like 26% of the speed of light. Albeit it would crash through the other side, but a minor point in the demonstration of the theory.

      Don't worry these few example haven't spoiled your read, the book is packed with examples, and follows a logical progression toward explaining away the why's of the formula, with clear concise explanations, and not to much mathematics. Actually the book doesn't so much explain why E=MC2, it lets you arrive at that conclusion in an, almost Eureka type moment.

      While talking about the factual side, I haven't so far mentioned the narrative, which is very engaging, and keeps you reading on. It is quite easy to tell (in my opinion) the parts written by Brian, (apart from mention of the Large Hadron Collider), as his personality and enthusiasm seems to shine through in places.

      Even in places as I mentioned where formula and mathematics appear it is still done in a tongue-in-cheek manner, and even the option to skip past is offered. If you omit those pages, the book seemlessly flows, as the results in plain English are clearly summarized after any technical parts are explained using numbers, and algebra type text.

      Towards the end of the book, things like wormholes (any sci-fi fan will know what those are) blackholes, and time-travel are mentioned, and I expect fans of Sci-Fi will relish the prospect that Science actually theorizes and relates to much of what is seen in the countless movies, and books of that genre (albeit with much exaggeration, and embelishment).

      In summary I would say, this book is defnitely worth a read, and regardless of your level of interest in Science, this could be enjoyed by anyone, and will appeal to your inner Geek!

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