Seven Brief Lessons On Physics by Carlo RovelliSeven Brief Lessons On Physics by Carlo Rovelli

Seven Brief Lessons On Physics

byCarlo Rovelli

Hardcover | March 1, 2016

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The New York Times bestseller from the author of The Order of Time and Reality Is Not What It Seems

“One of the year’s most entrancing books about science.”—The Wall Street Journal

“Clear, elegant...a whirlwind tour of some of the biggest ideas in physics.”The New York Times Book Review

This playful, entertaining, and mind-bending introduction to modern physics briskly explains Einstein's general relativity, quantum mechanics, elementary particles, gravity, black holes, the complex architecture of the universe, and the role humans play in this weird and wonderful world. Carlo Rovelli, a renowned theoretical physicist, is a delightfully poetic and philosophical scientific guide. He takes us to the frontiers of our knowledge: to the most minute reaches of the fabric of space, back to the origins of the cosmos, and into the workings of our minds. The book celebrates the joy of discovery.  “Here, on the edge of what we know, in contact with the ocean of the unknown, shines the mystery and the beauty of the world,” Rovelli writes. “And it’s breathtaking.”
Carlo Rovelli, an Italian theoretical physicist, is the head of the quantum gravity group at the Centre de Physique Théorique of Aix-Marseille Université. He is one of the founders of the loop quantum gravity theory. Rovelli lives in Marseille, France.
Title:Seven Brief Lessons On PhysicsFormat:HardcoverDimensions:96 pages, 7.63 × 5.19 × 0.52 inPublished:March 1, 2016Publisher:Penguin Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0399184414

ISBN - 13:9780399184413

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from This is Art A wonderful tribute to the realm of physics. Truly provoking and eye-opening!
Date published: 2018-06-26
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Some Excellent Concepts with some Subpar Explanations Two stars? Well this is one of the many times I wish I could give half stars - this book is right on the middle for me at 2.5. It is a very short read in terms of length but a longer read because the complex ideas require you to reread pages a few times to let the ideas sink in. This book is wonderful in terms of exposing me to current concepts in physics that have never been explained to me before (loop quantum gravity), so for that it succeeds. But actually EXPLAINING the ideas in a way I can grasp - it falls short. I am actually going to read his longer book that promises to expand on the concepts so I'll see if the failure was due to his desire to make these short essays or the failure is his writing ability. I also thought the "closing thoughts" was a weird way to end the book. It seemed like an out of place philosophy paper at the end of a physics book. And he depressed the hell out of me by reminding me how man made global warming will destroy our race. He's most likely right but it is a depressing message to end on. Overall, not a book I can recommend but one I was happy I read since it exposed me to ideas I had never known about before and also tried to point out what we "know" and what we are hoping to prove. I like when an expert makes that distinction.
Date published: 2018-06-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Simple explainations Just as the book says, it basically will give you a better understanding of what physics is and how you can better understand why this area is so vastly interesting to many.
Date published: 2018-05-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Elegant Universe I have never been able to get a good grasp on physics even though I have a science background. This was a nice book to get you thinking and lay some ground work. After this I went on to read other physics related books. I think I will go back to read this one to refresh those basic ideas. The hardcover copy is very pretty and elegant, I love to display it.
Date published: 2018-03-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fun to read Good book, very insightful.
Date published: 2018-01-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The title says it all! I didn't think reading about physics could be so exciting! The author introduces complicated theories in a straightforward simple way. 4 stars because I wish it was a little bit longer.
Date published: 2017-11-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Nice intro to physics For a non-physicist, this is a great introduction to some of the key concepts. Written in a very accessible way
Date published: 2017-07-28
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good basic intro I'm an artist, not a physicist - this was a nice short introductory read although I'd almost prefer it to be a bit longer to really elaborate on the points raised. It almost felt TOO short. Beautiful dust jacket though, get the hard cover. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-05-05
Rated 3 out of 5 by from NO If the first book did not succeed, write another
Date published: 2017-02-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good A nice, easy, beginner, read
Date published: 2017-01-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Nice "General Public" Introduction This book is clearly aimed at the general public and is a wonderful introduction to the subjects for anyone who has not studied physics and/or astronomy/cosmology. It is a well-written, short, concise introduction to the concepts and admirably serves its intended purpose.
Date published: 2017-01-09
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Alright Basic lessons, almost beginner level in physics.
Date published: 2017-01-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great book Super informative and mind blowing.
Date published: 2016-12-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Quick and informative read If you're interested in the subject, this is a great short read.
Date published: 2016-11-30

Read from the Book

From the First Lesson: The Most Beautiful of TheoriesIn his youth Albert Einstein spent a year loafing aimlessly. You don’t get anywhere by not “wasting” time—something, unfortunately, that the parents of teenagers tend frequently to forget. He was in Pavia. He had joined his family, having abandoned his studies in Germany, unable to endure the rigors of his high school there. It was the beginning of the twentieth century, and in Italy the beginning of its industrial revolution. His father, an engineer, was installing the first electricitygenerating power plants in the Paduan plains. Albert was reading Kant and attending occasional lectures at the University of Pavia: for pleasure, without being registered there or having to think about exams. It is thus that serious scientists are made.After this he registered at the University of Zurich and immersed himself in the study of physics. A few years later, in 1905, he sent three articles to the most prestigious scientific journal of the period, the Annalen der Physik. Each of these is worthy of a Nobel Prize. The first shows that atoms really exist. The second lays the first foundation for quantum mechanics, which I will discuss in the next lesson. The third presents his first theory of relativity (known today as “special relativity”), the theory that elucidates how time does not pass identically for everyone: two identical twins find that they are different in age if one of them has traveled at speed. Einstein became a renowned scientist overnight and received offers of employment from various universities. But something disturbed him: despite its immediate acclaim, his theory of relativity does not fit with what we know about gravity, namely, with how things fall. He came to realize this when writing an article summarizing his theory and began to wonder if the law of “universal gravity” as formulated by the father of physics himself, Isaac Newton, was in need of revision in order to make it compatible with the new concept of relativity. He immersed himself in the problem. It would take ten years to resolve. Ten years of frenzied studies, attempts, errors, confusion, mistaken articles, brilliant ideas, misconceived ideas.Finally, in November 1915, he committed to print an article giving the complete solution: a new theory of gravity, which he called “The General Theory of Relativity,” his masterpiece and the “most beautiful of theories,” according to the great Russian physicist Lev Landau.There are absolute masterpieces that move us intensely: Mozart’s Requiem, Homer’s Odyssey, the Sistine Chapel, King Lear. To fully appreciate their brilliance may require a long apprenticeship, but the reward is sheer beauty—and not only this, but the opening of our eyes to a new perspective upon the world. Einstein’s jewel, the general theory of relativity, is a masterpiece of this order.

Editorial Reviews

“In clear, elegant prose, Rovelli guides the reader through a whirlwind tour of some of the biggest ideas in physics. His passion for his chosen field is evident on every page… One can easily imagine perusing these essays while comfortably ensconced in an overstuffed chair by the fire, a snifter of cognac in hand… The reader will come away…with a deeper understanding of how modern physics has brought us closer to an ultimate understanding of reality.”—The New York Times Book Review“A startling and illustrative distillation of centuries of science.”—The Economist   “The man who makes physics sexy . . . the scientist they’re calling the next Stephen Hawking.” —The Times Magazine“Lean, lucid and enchanting.”—New Scientist“The essays in Seven Brief Lessons on Physics arrive like shots of espresso, which you can consume the way the Italians do, quickly and while standing up. As slim as a volume of poetry, Mr. Rovelli’s book also has that tantalizing quality that good books of poems have; it artfully hints at meanings beyond its immediate scope... [H]is book is a roll call of the scientists who have taken us so far, from Einstein and Niels Bohr through Werner Heisenberg and Stephen Hawking... The lessons in Mr. Rovelli’s book, as elegiac as they are incisive, do them justice.”—The New York Times“Delightful. . . . The metaphors are vivid, the visions dramatic.”—Nature   “A very slim volume that contains multitudes... Italian theoretical physicist and writer Carlo Rovelli uses a conversational tone to untangle the most complicated yet most beautiful advances in science in modern history... You'll feel a whole lot smarter for having read this elegant, straightforward little book.”—Esquire, The Best Books of 2016 (So Far)“The writing is elegant and poetic, and Carlo's explanatory clarity is compelling. He organized this short book into seven lessons that introduce the non-specialized reader to the most fascinating questions about the universe, including how we learn about it.”—NPR“Rovelli has a rare knack for conveying the top line of scientific theories in clear and compelling terms without succumbing to the lure of elaborate footnotes... a breath of fresh air.”—The Guardian“Brief but eloquent... The slim volume is stereotypically the province of poetry, but this beautifully designed little book shows that science, with its curiosity, its intense engagement with what there really is, its readiness to jettison received ways of seeing, is a kind of poetry too”—Financial Times“[Carlo Rovelli’s] concise and comprehensible writing makes sense of intricate notions such as general relativity, quantum mechanics, cosmology and thermodynamics. Rovelli's enthusiastic and poetic descriptions communicate the essence of these topics without getting bogged down in details.”—Scientific American“[A] quick, engaging read…fun and insightful…you wouldn’t go wrong taking [it] to the beach this summer.”—Forbes“Fascinating on every level.”—Daily Herald“This beautiful little volume playfully introduces its readers to several basic principles of physics in an easy-to-grasp style that will surprise and delight you.”—San Francisco Chronicle “Few writers have dared to compress the knowledge of a century’s worth of physics into less than 80 pages. Even fewer have succeeded with a touch of Carlo Rovelli’s clarity and verve…A sweeping presentation of the great ideas and discoveries of 20th century physics, aimed at readers with no scientific background whatsoever. It’s a joy to read.”—Gizmodo“A slim poetic meditation... Rovelli belongs to a great Italian tradition of one-culture science writing that encompasses the Roman poet Lucretius, Galileo, Primo Levi and Italo Calvino. The physics here is comprehensible and limpid, and Rovelli gives it an edge through his clear-eyed humanistic interpretations.”—The Independent“Slim and stimulating…Wonderfully poetic.”—Brain Pickings“Written to be accessible and to appeal to the imagination of the liberal arts major…Rovelli highlights the beauty of theories of gravity, time, and consciousness.”—The Curious Wavefunction“Rovelli's offering is a marvelous feast which should ignite a renewed sense of inspiration regarding the reach and beauty of science even in hardened veterans.”—The Millions“In a world where the public is interested in science, Rovelli is a great ambassador whose passion can be found in Seven Brief Lessons on Physics.”—International Business Times"It was eye-opening for me and truly changed how I will go forward in reading and learning about science."—Amy Poehler's Smart Girls“For the curious reader ready to plunge into theoretical physics, Seven Brief Lessons on Physics by Carlo Rovelli is a short accessible introduction. The chapters are manageable chunks of famous theories, most recognizable even to those of us who don’t happen to have a Ph.D... Mr. Rovelli shows how scientists can not only accept [contradictions between theories] but also revel in its infuriating layers.”—Pittsburgh Post-Gazette“Ultimately, Rovelli portrays the universe as a strange place where space-time, the present, the past and the future are illusions, and his unfolding of the mystery and the beauty of the universe is breathtaking.”—Raleigh News & Observer“An intriguing meditation on the nature of the universe and our attempts to understand it that should appeal to both scientists and general readers.”—Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review   “This enchanting book…looks at physics as a continually changing quest for understanding our universe, instead of immutable laws of nature... The essays are a joyous celebration of scientific wonder.”—Publishers Weekly“Rovelli's enthusiasm for his subject is evident throughout, and his conversational tone brings an often dry subject to vibrant life. For those curious about the natural world and who wonder what actually exists outside Earth's atmosphere, Rovelli's explanations will intrigue and delight.”—Shelf Awareness   “Seven Brief Lessons on Physics is a science book that reads like a poem, and resonates like one, too.”—Bookpage “Rovelli does a masterful job breaking down complex subjects, like Einstein's theory of relativity and gravitational waves, into simple, easy-to-understand concepts.”—Law 360   “In Seven Brief Lessons on Physics, Carlo Rovelli delivers physics lessons in a most untraditional way, inspiring readers to think differently, to get excited about discovery, to open their minds, to see beauty in the strange... Exquisite... If you love nonfiction and science as much as you love literary fiction, this is a must-read.”—Lovely Bookshelf“If you want to understand what gets physicists out of bed in the morning, there is no better guide than Rovelli... Seven Brief Lessons on Physics is an absorbing, lovely book... This is physics as romantic poetry and, by God, it’s beguiling”—New Statesman“Bite-sized but big on ideas: Carlo Rovelli’s Seven Brief Lessons on Physics … makes the mysteries of the universe almost comprehensible.”—Evening Standard “Carlo Rovelli's Seven Brief Lessons on Physics has turned relativity and quantum physics into best-selling material.”—la Repubblica “Physics has always been popularized, but professor Rovelli’s book is something else: his prose stands out as pristine and seductive at the same time, with all the substance that arouses a real interest in his readers.”—Corriere della Sera“Plain words can be utterly beautiful when they tell a thrilling story. Carlo Rovelli's words take us on a great adventure as the human mind reaches out to understand the universe. The book is a joy.”—Alan Alda“Wonderfully clear and vivid. Carlo Rovelli manages to convey the mystery of very large things and very small things with brilliant effect.”—Philip Pullman, author of the His Dark Materials trilogy“Rovelli has found a new way to talk about science, simple and keen. His seven lessons are as graceful, terse and dreamy as only poetry can sometimes be.”—Paolo Giordano, author of The Solitude of Prime Numbers“This brief and beautiful introduction to a few key discoveries of modern physics reminds us that the roots of science are curiosity and wonder.”—Lee Smolin, physicist and author, Time Reborn and The Trouble with Physics“No one should hold office unless they have read Carlo Rovelli's Seven Brief Lessons on Physics.”—Nick Harkaway, author of The Gone-Away World and Angelmaker“This is a beautiful and moving book that will make you see the world with different eyes.  It is soulfully human and yet full of the wonder of the natural universe. Rovelli somehow conveys the scope and depth of modern physics in everyday language without losing the poetry of the mathematical equations.”—Jenann Ismael, professor of philosophy at University of Arizona