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Seven Brief Lessons on Physics (Paperback)
  • Seven Brief Lessons on Physics (Paperback)

Seven Brief Lessons on Physics (Paperback)

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Paperback 96 Pages / Published: 30/06/2016
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We belong to a short-lived genus or species… All our cousins are already extinct. What’s more, we do damage.

Explaining the complex with relatable simplicity to make sense of ideas that seem too big to grasp is the methodology that leading theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli applies to the writing of his slim book, which aims to show ‘those who know little or nothing about modern science’ that musing on the mysteries of the world need not be for the chosen few.

First finding life as a series for the culture section of an Italian newspaper, Rovelli’s book initially left Fifty Shades of Grey in the dust on publication in Italy.

The lessons cover Einstein’s general theory of relativity, quantum mechanics, the architecture of the cosmos, elementary particles, gravity, the nature of the mind and black holes.

One of the founders of loop quantum gravity theory, Rovelli is the director of the quantum gravity group at the Centre de Physique Theorique of Aix-Marseille University in Provence, so it is particularly admirable that he writes on these heavy subjects with a light touch that is, relative to the subject, both vivid and entertaining.

But there are no definitive answers here. Rovelli lays the basics out to be consumed, but also explains the open-endedness of it all, even for each field’s experts.

Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
ISBN: 9780141981727
Number of pages: 96
Weight: 117 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 7 mm


"Mr. Rovelli, in this translation from the Italian by Simon Carnell and Erica Segre, imparts a sense that we may have begun to wave farewell, and his 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. Like us and everything else in our universe, they emerged from one small, dense hot cloud. These men’s intellects simply burned a bit brighter. The lessons in Mr. Rovelli’s book, as elegiac as they are incisive, do them justice." - The New York Times

"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 His Dark Materials

"The man who makes physics sexy... the new Hawking... His writing is luminous. By the time I had finished reading I was in serious awe of the author." - David Aaronovitch, The Times

"The perfect antidote to the fluff and nonsense around right now. Learn how the world is and how you might just fit in." - Simon Mayo, Daily Mirror 

"The most fun physicist to be with -- as well as the greatest explainer of physics." - Bryan Appleyard ,Sunday Times 

"A global superstar... Professor Rovelli is making the grammar of the universe accessible to a new generation." - Channel 4 News 

Surely Rovelli deserves the title 'world's most inspiring physics teacher' * Daily Telegraph

* The physicist transforming how we see the universe * Financial Times *

A sensation... the new cult book -- Katie Law * Evening Standard *

Absolutely fascinating... explains the entire universe in 79 pages -- Steve Wright * BBC Radio 2 *

"If you've ever wanted to understand physics better, read Carlo Rovelli's masterful book, Seven Brief Lessons on Physics. One of the world's leading scientists, he explains concepts like relativity, quantum mechanics and black holes with an elegance and clarity that reminded me of Richard Feynman... You will probably find yourself coming back to it again and again -- Fareed Zakaria

There's a book I've been carrying around like a small Bible, Seven Brief Lessons on Physics -- Benedict Cumberbatch

A sublime read... The triumph of this book is that it educates you, guides you, and brings you bang up to date with the central issues in theoretical physics today... Intriguing, captivating and magical -- Ivor Mason * I Newspaper *

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 -- Michael Brooks * New Statesman *

A startling and illustrative distillation of centuries of science... The book's triumph lies not only in presenting some of the headiest stuff science has produced in so few pages, but also in giving real insight into how science treats those ideas * Economist *

There have been plenty of attempts in recent years to explain the basic concepts of physics to us, but few as elegant and concise as Carlo Rovelli's... there's enough food for thought here to last a lifetime -- Nick Rennison * Daily Mail *

Sparse, elegant and most of all readable... at the end of it you feel more clever. Rovelli has achieved something unheard of in books about theoretical physics: most of the people who have started his book have also probably finished it -- Tom Whipple * The Times *

<,p> A surprise bestseller... the most interesting of the year's science books * Daily Telegraph *

It is amazing that such a short book can dig to such satisfying depths -- Stephen Curry * Guardian *

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 *

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 -- Nicola Davis * Observer *

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 -- Best science books * Independent *

The book to read if you know very little about modern physics but want to begin to grasp its wonder, and the potential it has to enrich our understanding of the universe and our place in it -- Nicholas Lezard * Guardian *

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 -- Dwight Garner * New York Times

* If you only ever read one book on physics, read this. Beautifully written and engaging -- Rowan Coleman, author of We Are All Made of Stars

The rare book about physics that can be ingested in a single sitting -- Alexandra Alter * New York Times *

Utterly blown away by the concise beauty of Seven Brief Lessons on Physics by Carlo Rovelli. Science as poetry. Awe inspiring -- Michael Bhaskar, author of The Content Machine

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

Brilliant... Rovelli writes with clarity and verve, vividly bringing to life concepts that can often appear incomprehensible, and inviting readers to see the world anew. Few writers, let alone physicists, capture the beauty of nature and the excitement of its discovery in such clear, rich prose... It's hard to imagine a more coherent, inspiring introduction to modern physics. It really is an enchanting little volume * New Scientist *

Carlo Rovelli has never been afraid to challenge the status quo -- Morgan Freeman *

Science Channel *

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These fantastic brief lessons cover the whole gamut of our present knowledge about the universe. Short and to the point these are a superb refresher for some of us and a whole new story for others. While maybe not for... More

Hardback edition
3 similar books recommended
23rd October 2015
Helpful? Upvote 79

“Seven Brief Lessons on Physics”

Sorry but found this less than inspiring. Unless you want a low level introduction to the subjects covered then I would suggest you find another book

Paperback edition
1st February 2017
Helpful? Upvote 65

“7 brief lessons of physics ”

It has left me hungry for more reading on the subject.

Paperback edition
29th January 2017
Helpful? Upvote 39

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