E=mc2: A Biography of the World's Most Famous Equation

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9780425181645: E=mc2: A Biography of the World's Most Famous Equation

Already climbing the bestseller lists-and garnering rave reviews—this "little masterpiece" sheds brilliant light on the equation that changed the world.

Bodanis begins by devoting chapters to each of the equation's letters and symbols, introducing the science and scientists forming the backdrop to Einstein's discovery—from Ole Roemer's revelation that the speed of light could be measured to Michael Faraday's pioneering work on energy fields. Having demystified the equation, Bodanis explains its science and brings it to life historically, making clear the astonishing array of discoveries and consequences it made possible. It would prove to be a beacon throughout the twentieth century, important to Ernest Rutherford, who discovered the structure of the atom, Enrico Fermi, who probed the nucleus, and Lise Meitner, who finally understood how atoms could be split wide open. And it has come to inform our daily lives, governing everything from the atomic bomb to a television's cathode-ray tube to the carbon dating of prehistoric paintings.

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Review:

E=mc2. Just about everyone has at least heard of Albert Einstein's formulation of 1905, which came into the world as something of an afterthought. But far fewer can explain his insightful linkage of energy to mass. David Bodanis offers an easily grasped gloss on the equation. Mass, he writes, "is simply the ultimate type of condensed or concentrated energy," whereas energy "is what billows out as an alternate form of mass under the right circumstances."

Just what those circumstances are occupies much of Bodanis's book, which pays homage to Einstein and, just as important, to predecessors such as Maxwell, Faraday, and Lavoisier, who are not as well known as Einstein today. Balancing writerly energy and scholarly weight, Bodanis offers a primer in modern physics and cosmology, explaining that the universe today is an expression of mass that will, in some vastly distant future, one day slide back to the energy side of the equation, replacing the "dominion of matter" with "a great stillness"--a vision that is at once lovely and profoundly frightening.

Without sliding into easy psychobiography, Bodanis explores other circumstances as well; namely, Einstein's background and character, which combined with a sterling intelligence to afford him an idiosyncratic view of the way things work--a view that would change the world. --Gregory McNamee

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Book Description Penguin Putnam Inc, United States, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reissue. Language: English . Brand New Book. Already climbing the bestseller lists-and garnering rave reviews--this little masterpiece sheds brilliant light on the equation that changed the world.Bodanis begins by devoting chapters to each of the equation s letters and symbols, introducing the science and scientists forming the backdrop to Einstein s discovery--from Ole Roemer s revelation that the speed of light could be measured to Michael Faraday s pioneering work on energy fields. Having demystified the equation, Bodanis explains its science and brings it to life historically, making clear the astonishing array of discoveries and consequences it made possible. It would prove to be a beacon throughout the twentieth century, important to Ernest Rutherford, who discovered the structure of the atom, Enrico Fermi, who probed the nucleus, and Lise Meitner, who finally understood how atoms could be split wide open. And it has come to inform our daily lives, governing everything from the atomic bomb to a television s cathode-ray tube to the carbon dating of prehistoric paintings. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780425181645

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Book Description Penguin Putnam Inc, United States, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reissue. Language: English . Brand New Book. Already climbing the bestseller lists-and garnering rave reviews--this little masterpiece sheds brilliant light on the equation that changed the world.Bodanis begins by devoting chapters to each of the equation s letters and symbols, introducing the science and scientists forming the backdrop to Einstein s discovery--from Ole Roemer s revelation that the speed of light could be measured to Michael Faraday s pioneering work on energy fields. Having demystified the equation, Bodanis explains its science and brings it to life historically, making clear the astonishing array of discoveries and consequences it made possible. It would prove to be a beacon throughout the twentieth century, important to Ernest Rutherford, who discovered the structure of the atom, Enrico Fermi, who probed the nucleus, and Lise Meitner, who finally understood how atoms could be split wide open. And it has come to inform our daily lives, governing everything from the atomic bomb to a television s cathode-ray tube to the carbon dating of prehistoric paintings. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780425181645

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Book Description Softcover. Book Condition: New. Already climbing the bestseller lists-and garnering rave reviewsthis "little masterpiece" sheds brilliant light on the equation that changed the world.Bodanis begins by devoting chapters to each of the equation's letters and symbols, introducing the science and scientists forming the backdrop to Einstein's discoveryfrom Ole Roemer's revelation that the speed of light could be measured to Michael Faraday's pioneering work on energy fields. Having demystified the equation, Bodanis explains its science and brings it to life historically, making clear the astonishing array of discoveries and consequences it made possible. It would prove to be a beacon throughout the twentieth century, important to Ernest Rutherford, who discovered the structure of the atom, Enrico Fermi, who probed the nucleus, and Lise Meitner, who finally understood how atoms could be split wide open. And it has come to inform our daily lives, governing everything from the atomic bomb to a television's cathode-ray tube to the carbon dating of prehistoric paintings. Bookseller Inventory # 5364807

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