WINNER 2009 CHOICE AWARD OUTSTANDING ACADEMIC TITLE! The typical introduction to physics leaves readers with the impression that physics is about 30 different, unconnected topics such as motion, forces, gravity, electricity, light, heat, energy, and atoms. More often than not, these readers are left to conclude that physics is mostly about boring, lifeless numbers.
Questioning the Universe: Concepts in Physics offers the nonscientist an alternative view: one that demonstrates how physics is perpetually evolving and shows how so many seemingly diverse concepts are intimately connected. In fact, one could argue that the most important ideas in modern physics are all about unification, and that these ideas are as fascinating as they are elegant.
Physicists today believe that Mother Nature is remarkably efficient and requires only a relatively small number of laws to keep her universe in working order. We may not yet know all of these laws; but at the center of physics is a faith that she is indeed understandable and that someday, we will see her full beauty.
The purpose of this book is to tell readers the story of what we have learned about nature so far and how we have done it. Written to arouse curiosity, this compelling and readable work:
- Delves into the most basic laws regarding motion and energy, waves and particles
- Introduces modern theories, including relativity, quantum mechanics, and particle physics
- Describes the key role played by that elemental building block, the atom
- Discusses the evolution of the universe, including the formation of stars and the mystery of dark matter and dark energy
This book is not for those doing physics but is aimed at those who simply want to learn about physics, so it requires only the most minimal math. What it does require is a sense of curiosity, an appreciation of beauty, and the capacity for awe.
I have been teaching introductory physics for non-science majors for a long time and have never been satisfied with the books on the market. Most of these texts are just watered-down versions of the general physics texts for science students. When I read through [these] three books, I really do get a sense that the authors have attempted to create book[s] that [are] somehow different from the normal algebra problem-based texts. I will be using Questioning the Universe: Concepts in Physics this fall for the science portion of a Science Fiction Learning Community. In the spring, I will be teaching a physics/art history hybrid course and will be using either Superstrings and Other Things: A Guide to Physics, Second Edition or From Atoms to Galaxies: A Conceptual Physics Approach to Scientific Awareness. ... both are great books. ... I really feel that for conceptual physics courses, CRC Press currently has the three strongest titles. I anticipate a fun teaching experience while using these texts and hope to use them again in the future. -Steve Zides, Wofford College, Spartanburg, South Carolina, USA WINNER OF 2009 CHOICE AWARD FOR BEST ACADEMIC TITLE! This introductory physics book is quite different (in a positive way) from all of the other similar works this reviewer has seen. In just over 200 pages and 15 chapters, Sadoff delves into just about every area of physics, ranging from basic Newtonian mechanics to fields, light, nuclear physics, relativity, and quantum mechanics ... he successfully ties the various subjects together. -J.R. Kraus, University of Denver, CHOICE, August 2009, Vol. 46, No. 1