Complex physics conveyed with lucidity, simplicity
Originally published in an Italian newspaper as a series of seven articles for a layperson, Seven Brief Lessons on Physics by theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli (Reality Is Not What It Seems, The Order of Time, Helgoland, etc) has been translated into 41 languages and has sold million-plus copies since its publication in 2014.
Ever since Richard Feynman's Six Easy Pieces in 1963, and Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time in 1988, no other book has conveyed to a reader the complex phenomena of physics with such lucidity and simplicity as Seven Brief Lessons on Physics.
Reading through the slim book, we learn in an enlightened prose the scientific revolution that took place in physics in the twentieth century and still continues to baffle us today. Rovelli writes, "It is hardly surprising that there are more things in heaven and earth, dear reader, than have been dreamed of in our philosophy - or in our physics." He further suggests that there have been two separate pathways throughout human history: mythology and the accumulation of knowledge through observation.
According to him, 'the scientists today share the same curiosity about nature exhibited by early man'.
Thus, reading the book, we know about modern physics, the universe, and our place in the world. No wonder, the famous actor and Shakespearean theatre personality Benedict Cumberbatch says, "There's a book I've been carrying around like a small Bible, Seven Brief Lessons on Physics."
We come to know with clarity Einstein's theory of general relativity, quantum mechanics, black holes, the intricate architecture of the universe, elementary particles, gravity, and the nature of our mind and ourselves.
Thalassophile Rovelli, eminently succeeds in making comprehensible to an average reader the seven toughest laws of physics in as simple a language as possible.
Can I call it the only physics book that is an enlightening beach read?
-AK Surollia, former DGP