Saturday, April 7, 2007

Book: "Six Easy Pieces" by Richard Feynman (2 of 5 stars)

I made the mistake of viewing a set of lectures from Auckland University when Feynman was there in 1979 at the same time I was reading this book.

The books is good, but the lectures are SO MUCH BETTER.

This book is based on The Feynman Lectures, classic books in the field of educating young physicists. Being much, much shorter, lots is left out, like equations and any mathematics. This is fine for a pop culture science book and I didn't mind, but found Feynman's voice doesn't shine through here. Also, the editor of this book decided to keep several pieces of text that say "I cover this in more detail in the next chapter" or "we continue with this in more detail", when there is obviously nothing more coming. This happened on the 2nd to last page and then the book just ended. It felt somewhat poorly put together.

Still, I consider it a gentle introduction to everything about science and how a few simple ideas can be used to derive all the rest. If you need to cover all of science in a book that is only 150 pages long, this is about as good as you can get, certainly content-wise.

If you read and like this book, I highly recommend listening to Feynman's 1979 lectures in Auckland as well as reading James Gleick excellent biography of him, "Genius".

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