Sunday, May 11, 2014

Gravity by Brian Clegg

Why What Goes Up, Must Come Down
This book is a history of gravity, and a study of its importance and relevance to our lives, as well as its influence on other areas of science.
Physicists will tell you that four forces control the universe. 
Of these, gravity may the most obvious, but it is also the most mysterious. 
Although ludicrously weak compared to the other forces (a tiny magnet can hold up a piece of metal against the gravitational attraction of the whole Earth), gravity permeates our everyday life and being.
We begin with humanity's earliest ideas of how we remain stuck to the ground - a significant consideration when you realize that despite the myths, educated people have known the Earth was a sphere since the time of the Ancient Greeks. 
Along the way we'll see how the Arabic scholars explained the force of gravity, why Galileo didn't need to drop balls off the tower of Pisa, exactly how Newton came to his conclusions and why he refused to 'frame hypotheses' about gravity. 
Newton managed to predict the force of gravity but couldn’t explain how it worked at a distance. 
Einstein picked up on the simple premise that gravity and acceleration are interchangeable to devise his mind-bending general relativity, showing how matter warps space and time. 
Not only did this explain how gravity worked – and how apparently simple gravitation has four separate components – but it predicted everything from black holes to gravity’s effect on time. 
We will explore the concept of action at a distance, and see how Einstein transformed our understanding of gravitation with general relativity and consider whether the graviton will ever be discovered. We will see how birds, bees and rockets seem to defy gravity, and whether the concept of anti-gravity can move from pure science fiction to possible fact. 
Whether it’s the reality of anti-gravity or the unexpected discovery that a ball and a laser beam drop at the same rate, gravity is the force that fascinates.
Gravity never fails to fascinate...

[Based on the book description on the author Ben Clegg's website and]

Hear Brian Clegg talk about gravity in a radio interview.

 My Comments
Many books and authors of this genre claim to explain abstruse concepts in a manner a layman can easily understand. Unfortunately though their intentions are good, they fall woefully short of this objective (at least as far as I am concerned !).
But this book came the closest in my opinion . I understood more than 80 % of what it was trying to explain.
Therefore highly recommend it to all the readers of the Popular Science genre.

Goodreads Rating - 4 out of 5 ( 3 Ratings)
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