No ordinary teacher and communicator, Richard Feynman possessed a particular genius. A Nobel prize winner in 1965, his was one of the most brilliant scientific minds of his generation. In a series of landmark lectures at the California Institute of Technology in the early 1960s, Feynman succeeded in explaining the essentials of physics with a unique accessibility and an irresistible sense of theatre.
Published as Six Easy Pieces: The Fundamentals of Physics Explained and Six Not-So-Easy Pieces: Einstein’s Relativity, Symmetry and Space-Time, they became required reading for would-be scientists throughout the world and now form this special single-volume edition.
In chapters on atoms, energy, gravitation, quantum force, the relationship of physics to other subjects, and an explication of Einstein’s theory of relativity, Feynman employs his trademark technique of analogy to illuminate the way the world works. With vigour, wit and an enthusiasm that jumps off the page, he equates physics to a game of chess in which the rules are learned through observation, likens the universe to a glass of wine (‘all life is fermentation’), explains atom size by comparing the sizes of an apple and the Earth, and even relates the law of conservation energy to drying oneself with wet towels. Along the way he asks, and answers, fundamental questions about the limits of scientific enquiry.
If your memories of science books are of dry and dusty tomes written in a secret language, this mind-bending collection – published to mark the 20th anniversary of Feynman’s death – could change your view of science for ever.