Fear of Physics: A Guide for the Perplexed by Lawrence Krauss

Fear of Physics: A Guide for the Perplexed by Lawrence KraussTakeaway: Even introductions can be difficult

I am fascinated by physics. I don’t understand physics, but I am fascinated by it.  So I tend to pick up at least one introduction to physics book a year and I tend to ultimately realize that I am not designed for high level physics.

Fear of Physics is a well reviewed introduction used in a number of college settings. I listened to the audiobook that I picked up on sale. I am not sure that audiobook was the best format for this book. There was nothing wrong with the narrator, but the content occasionally would have been better in print instead of audio.

The two chapters I enjoyed most (and I think I understood most) were about how physicists understand math differently than mathematicians and how physicists ‘creatively plagiarize’ previous work until it becomes something new. The math chapters basically help describe how physics has understood very large and very small numbers and used approximation as a tentative placeholder until better measurement technology becomes available. Some of the insights into math surprised me as basic math place value discussions that are now taught in early common core math. (This book was originally written in 1993 and updated in 2007).

The chapter on ‘creative plagiarization’ discusses the scientific method and how part of that method is to take what you know and apply it to other things to see if that thing you know about A also applies to B. Or that things you theorize about A but haven’t figured out how to measure yet, might give insight into how the measurement of B might happen either now or later based on the technology available.

There were times when I would have stopped if I were reading a print book and the audiobook just kept pulling me a long. There were also times when I had a hard time visualizing what the audiobook was saying and wished I had the print book. This is a book that would have benefited from being able to flip back and forth between the audio and the print. But this is an example where I wish the discounts would go both ways (instead of only getting a discount, if one is available, when you purchase the Kindle edition first, and then the audiobook as an add on.)

Fear of Physics: A Guide for the Perplexed by Lawrence Krauss Purchase Links: Paperback, Kindle Edition, Audible.com Audiobook 

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