Book Review and Giveaway: Physics: An Illustrated History of the Foundations of Science

Book review by David L. Hamilton

Tom Jackson’s Physics: An Illustrated History of the Foundations of Science is an enjoyable read for anyone who is fascinated by the world in which we live and curious about how the world works. Reading and comprehension of the material does not require one to have a background in physics or science. Jackson takes 100 important events that occurred throughout different periods in our history and presents them in such a way that they can be understood and enjoyed by people of all ages and backgrounds. Each event covers about a page and each page has beautiful illustrations and diagrams of the various tools of the trade that the physicists used in each of the 100 breakthroughs.

The book is divided into five sections ranging from antiquity to modern physics. The first section, The Dawn of Science, covers the important figures that set the stage for scientific inquiry for the next several centuries, such as Thales, Democritus, and Aristotle.

The second section, The Scientific Revolution, introduces us to Newton and his Laws of Motionand Theories of Light, John Dalton and his investigations into the characteristics of gases, and Thomas Seebeck and his discovery of the thermoelectric effect.The third section of Jackson’s book examines the Doppler effect, Absolute Temperature, and the discovery of X-Rays, all extremely important discoveries that are still relevant in the various branches of science today, such as astronomy and medicine.

The fourth section brings the reader into the subatomic age where contributions from Titians such as Max Planck and his Constant, Albert Einstein and his Theory of Relativity, and Dane Niels Bohr who gave us Bohr’s Model of an atom.

The fifth and final section of the book covers modern physics. Jackson does a great job of explaining how Slipher, Hubble, and Georges Lemaitre used Einstein’s theory of relativity to show that our universe is not static and eternal but an expanding, changing and evolving universe that had a beginning. In this final section, the reader will also learn about Quarks, Neutrinos, Dark matter and energy, and the famous Higgs boson.

Another great feature about this book is that it includes a foldout timeline that puts the people and their discoveries into the larger contexts of World events so that the reader can see the big picture more easily.

Universe Today and Shelter Harbour Press is offering free copies to two lucky winners. In order to be entered into the giveaway drawing, just put your email address into the box at the bottom of this post (where it says “Enter the Giveaway”) before Thursday, December 26th, 2013. We’ll send you a confirmation email, so you’ll need to click that to be entered into the drawing.

David and his wife live in Conway, Arkansas. They are amateur astronomers that love spending nights stargazing and their days working in Higher Education. David graduated from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock with a Master of Education degree.

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