'12 Lessons on Physics' | Richard Feynman
Every so often the urge to unchain a wild, math and physics loving monster gets the better of me and overrules my senses. I give in and let it roam free, prancing and roaring, running amok, indulging its insatiable desire to whisk me away on a joyfully unrestrained all things nerdy fun-a-palooza. That beast appears to lie dormant most of the time, somewhere inside of me, waiting for its moment—but it’s always there, and the sheer joy that these two books generated within the deepest layers of my being is a testament to that.
Both volumes are made up of six chapters taken from The Feynman Lectures on Physics. Considering the scope of these 12 lessons and the level of the material, these pieces are as relevant as they were back in 1964 when the lectures were first published.
Feynman's flair for finding excellent illustrations to explain the most basic as well as the most difficult concepts is unparalleled and makes these two books a source of excitement for laypeople and professionals alike. Whether you’re a student or a teacher of physics or just someone interested in what makes this big old world tick, you’re bound to learn something new.
Six Easy Pieces is a brief and simple introduction to some of the most fundamental ideas about the nature of things. It’s masterfully and elegantly written, but what I appreciate the most is that the book reveals the underlying philosophy of physics and natural sciences in general. This approach is rigorous but also inviting, promising to rekindle the kind of curiosity that we all had about every little thing as children.
Six Not-So-Easy Pieces should probably have been named ‘Six Relatively Easy Pieces’ instead, if you know what I mean. If you’re not daunted by a few formulas here and there, and the sight of an integral or a derivative doesn’t send your mind spinning somewhere into outer space, you should definitely go ahead and learn something about space-time and special and general relativity. May the force be with you, and don’t forget to conserve the momentum!
Whoever you are, let none other than Richard Feynman take you on this exciting trip down the wormhole through the continuum of human knowledge. You’ve always wanted to uncover the secrets of the universe, haven’t you? Now this is your chance!