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I am a Physics teacher and was hoping for some good insights and unique ways of describing things. It delivers, in part. There are some great analogies and illustrations which have made their way into mainstream science teaching. He does have a way of capturing the imagination, at times.
Other parts of the book are just not that engaging. I struggled to make myself get all the way to the end. The final chapter in particular is a bit overly mathematical in places.
Unfortunately it just didn’t live up to my expectations. Maybe they were too high?
Six easy pieces by Richard P. Feynman is very much an introductory book to physics and science. The book contains minimal maths until you get to the last chapter or so and even then, the math is used to quantitatively describe the relationships between systems rather than help you answer questions.
An amazingly structured and written book with some language that some people (like myself) may find a tad confusing at first.
It was a great read and an even better desk piece.
Wonderful and very well written book. Everything is explained very well by Feynman with very little maths. I have studied physics academically, albeit only to an A level standard, this book gave me a much better picture of physics as a field in its entirety and how it all fits together, as well as plenty of more specific phenomena. Would recommend it to anyone interested in science.
Even knowing Feynmans work this book is a revelation. I've listened to the lectures but not had the intro's before. I'm buying a second copy to give to a 12 year old. Chapter 1 could be quite a hook for youngsters who may then go on to read more. (Not understand much but still get something out of the great explanations of how the sciences fit together.)
I can't recommend this book highly enough. Every school child should be given a copy.
In the early 1960s the renown physicist, Richard Feynman, delivered introductory courses on physics to first and second year undergraduate students at Caltech, in the USA. His lectures were very popular at the time and whilst aimed at undergraduates, it wasn't uncommon for graduate physics students to infiltrate his classes; the one thing Feynman could be assured of was a full house each time he came to teach this course. The lectures, after some editing, were published in three large volumes. To provide a flavour of the overall series, this book extracts just six from the collection and, as the title of this book suggests, these are regarded as being six of the easier ones to understand. They're entitled "Atoms in motion", "Basic physics, "The relation of physics to other sciences", "Conservation of energy", "The theory of gravitation" and "Quantum behaviour". (There is a companion volume published under the title "Six not-so-easy pieces" but I've not attempted to read that.)
I was attracted to this book not so much by the subject matter, but more by my interest in Feynman himself. He has a solid reputation for being an inspirational teacher and I was keen to see how he managed to achieve this. I was expecting him to take a different strategy from the norm and I wasn't disappointed. To illustrate what I mean, in his lecture on the atom he didn't follow the conventional approach of describing the structure of atoms and building up from there, yet by the end of the talk his students would have heard a physicist's explanation of why blowing on a bowl of soup cools it down. His approach to teaching was so different to what is usually done.
Understandably, given the date of the lectures, there have been major developments in physics, and science in general, since the lectures were first presented. For instance, the talk on nuclear physics is very out of date because the make-up of protons and neutrons was not understand at that time to the extent that it is now. Likewise, the lecture covering the links between physics and biology pre-dates the discovery of the genetic code. Therefore, it is pointless reading this book to gain an understanding of the latest theories. Nevertheless, not everything has changed in 50 years and some lectures are as relevant today as they were then. For example, the lecture on the conservation of energy was wonderfully presented, especially the section on potential energy where Feynman used illustrated examples to explain the conservation of potential energy in reversible machines. On the other hand, I felt he made heavy weather of his account of the two slit experiment in his lecture on quantum mechanics and I've read much better explanations elsewhere. To a marked extent Feynman did over complicate much of his material but this is to expected since his stated intention was to teach to slightly beyond the level of the brightest students in each class; of course, whether or not this was the best strategy is open to debate.
Overall, this book of six "easy" lectures provides remarkable insight into Feynman's style of teaching. He comes across as someone who knew his subject matter inside out, who had boundless energy and complete self-confidence, and who wanted to stretch the minds of his students.
Ok, so I chose this over 'A Breif History of Time' as it sounded like a more easily digested read. In fact the first 3 chapters are and very interesting. However, in my view, the last 3 are not so straight forward or that interesting and I found myself glazing over. I guess lesson learned is really these sort of books are best browsed in a book shop to get an idea their content rather than taken at face value/off reviews online. So unfortunately for me 50% of this books value was lost on me, you may feel different off you decide to purchase.
I first encountered this series of books, written by Richard P Feynman, in my local book retailer and I was surprised at their size. Despite the nature of their subject, they are barely a couple hundred pages in length. Usually scientific books are much thicker volumes. But when one realises these books were written from notes derived for student presentations by Feynman, then size doesn't really matter. I am more inclined to purchase a 'thin' book than a 'thick' book because apart from being cheaper to buy and easier to carry, it should be an easier book to read. Doubtless, size is a marketing ploy but it means these books are affordable to a great many more people.
The information these books contain, often illustrated by original drawings by the author, help to convey some quite complex theories. These theories maybe right or they maybe wrong but they serve to illustrate the thoughts of a 'genius' whom many professionals believe rivalled Einstein in terms of his vision of how the universe works. Feynman was a controversial, colourful, some say eccentric theoretical physicist who cared little for convention and left an indelible mark in understanding science.
I purchased 3 books in this series and I purchased 3 more for a friend's birthday. Doubtless I will purchase other books in the same series when I have time to read them.