Monday, May 23, 2016

Seven Brief Lessons on Physics by Carlo Rovelli

cover of Seven Brief Lessons on Physics
It's not often that a physics book makes the best seller lists, but Seven Brief Lessons on Physics by Carlo Rovelli made the list. The book is a compilation of articles that Rovelli wrote these articles for the Sunday supplement of an Italian newspaper. An interesting fact about Rovelli is that he is one of the founders of loop quantum gravity theory. Basically, loop quantum gravity tries to explain how quanta interact in a curved space-time. Every kid who has been to a science center has seen the spiral tube that illustrates how gravity works on a moving body. Kids toss a coin in, and the coin rotates around slowly sinking in to the tube. That curved space-time implies that a sheet-like effect. The mass of the Sun curves space around it. However, quantum theory also shows us that things also act like singular drops. Loop quantum gravity tries to explain both of these effects.

Seven Brief Lessons on Physics is exactly that: very short explanations of the elements that we understand about the general relativity, quantum mechanics and the Standard model. The lessons are very easy for the layperson to understand, and the 84 page book can easily be read in a few hours. There's not a lot of meat on the bone, but reading the book does whet your appetite to read more about loop quantum theory. I think that every person should broaden his or her mind by reading Seven Brief Lessons on Physics.

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