Einstein's Beetle: Newton's Laws of Motion and Gravity, and Einstein's Theory of Relativity An Explanation for Peasants by a Peasant who Understands

9781522753841: Einstein's Beetle: Newton's Laws of Motion and Gravity, and Einstein's Theory of Relativity An Explanation for Peasants by a Peasant who Understands
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“Einstein’s theory of relativity reminds me of the peasant who asks the engineer how his steam engine works. The engineer explains how the steam goes through the engine, driving the piston up and down and turning the wheels, then the peasant says, ‘Yes, I understand all that, but where’s the horse?’ ” Victor Weisskopf

Since its publication in 1916, Relativity has captured the public’s imagination like no other theory in science. But the real joy of physics comes from understanding, and yet you could read any of the popular explanations written by physicists in the past 100 years and the likelihood is you will not understand.

Einstein’s Beetle is different.

Disguised as a fun and intriguing adventure story, this unique book bridges the gap to the physicist in a way that has never before been achieved to provide the lay reader and young student with an exceptional understanding of the physics. It succeeds because the best person to explain something to a peasant is another peasant who understands.

With an expertise acquired over 25 years from a small library of popular science books, Mark Southworth knows the hurdles you must clear to get to grips with the physics because he’s tripped over every one. He knows the stupid and not-so-stupid questions you want to ask because he’s asked them all. Most importantly, he knows the approach that is needed to fully explain this incredible story and share with you the joy of understanding.

The Fiction
Blackmailed into attending science camp on the family holiday to Arizona, 14-year-old Danny Robinson chooses Bert’s Universal Tour and Expedition only to find he’s the sole student stuck with a crumpled old teacher pretending to be Albert Einstein in a battered old VW Beetle pretending to be a time machine and spaceship.
As the Beetle rockets through space at the Grand Canyon, in a series of madcap experiments and accidents, Bert and Danny rediscover our understanding of Newtonian mechanics through time. But when he experiences a journey through 4-dimensional spacetime, Danny uncovers a mystery surrounding Bert and his Beetle that Newton’s laws cannot explain.
Just who is Bert? What is the true reason for his expedition? And can Einstein’s Special and General theories of relativity make sense of the unbelievable nonsense of it all? With the growing realisation that reality is not as it appears, Danny must find answers to some of the deepest questions of all time.

Newton’s Laws of Motion and Universal Law of Gravitation
Why don’t you land further back down the aisle when you jump straight up on a moving bus? And why is there an equal and opposite reaction to every action? If you are studying GCSE physics or general science, Part I of Einstein’s Beetle imparts a deep understanding of Newton’s laws based on the principle of relative motion, not mathematics. This principle is the source from which the mechanics of all motion flows, so for example, by the time you read that to every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, you already completely understand why there has to be.

Einstein’s Special and General theories of relativity and E = mc²
The nature of the spacetime continuum and why nothing can travel faster than the speed of light are questions that fascinate people regardless of age. Building on your new understanding of the principle of relativity it becomes clear in Part II why Einstein extended the principle to our measurements of space and time, energy and mass, and ultimately to a new explanation of gravity.

Whether you are a student of physics or simply interested in understanding one of the greatest achievements in the history of thought, Einstein’s Beetle will not leave you looking for the horse.

Click on ‘Look Inside’ to find out more

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About the Author:

Mark Southworth is a professional stunt performer and coordinator, on major Hollywood features, who has spent almost as long playing with the laws of physics as he has reading about them.


Anthony R Francis-Jones, Physics teacher, Wrekin College, Telford

It is a rare event indeed when one reads a physics book that is not only highly informative but greatly entertaining as well. So much of what seems counterintuitive about the theory of relativity is explained, not through pages of maths or complex diagrams, but by clear explanations of the exploits and adventures of Bert and Danny. This is no mean feat ... Mark Southworth does not just regurgitate old models to explain the physics but includes a number of new and interesting models of his own invention to pull back the curtains on the mysteries of relativity so all that are willing to think can understand them ... My GCSE and A level students will all read Einstein’s Beetle. No other book so effectively weaves complex ideas in physics into such an engaging story. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

P. C. Ingram, physics teacher, St Margaret’s School, Bushey

From a physicists point of view this is a very impressive book. As far as I am aware no other popular science book so clearly explains the core ideas of Newtonian mechanics and Einstein’s theory of relativity. The book delivers on two fronts. First it takes the reader on an adventure that stretches the imagination to its limit and then it challenges him to understand the physics that makes perfect sense of it all. For secondary school students and anybody who feels that they never quite ‘got’ physics this book is a must. It will open their eyes to the mysteries of the universe in a way that no physics textbook can ... In my experience, very few young students would consider picking up a book on Newtonian mechanics and Einstein’s theory of relativity. But in Einstein’s Beetle Mark Southworth has achieved something that nobody else has. He has made it cool to read a physics book. I wholeheartedly recommend it to you.

Dr GA Eloff, Head of physics, Bramdean School, Exeter

Einstein’s Beetle is a massive achievement for a non-scientist. Some of Mark Southworth’s explanations of relative motion are brilliant and I have adopted them in my teaching. I don’t really think that he can be described as a non-scientist; in reality he is a self-taught scientist ... Most non-scientists will not even think about understanding relative motion, having been brought up to believe that only very clever people with superior mathematical abilities and social deficiencies can understand physics. I believe that the idea of this book is to change all that and from a teacher’s perspective, it has a great deal to offer. It is entertainingly written, it is informative, it explains important ideas with clarity, it surprises and is never dull nor boring. I would certainly put it on my reading list for my GCSE and A-level students. As for a non-scientist, this book is an excellent guide to understanding the big picture and I would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone who has a fascination with the world around us.

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9781519227270: Einstein's Beetle: Newton's Laws of Motion and Gravity, and Einstein's Theory of Relativity An Explanation for Peasants by a Peasant who Understands

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