The subject which was called Natural Philosophy during olden days is relatively called Physics in today’s world. Physics is a study of nature in particular the ‘laws’ of nature. It means, Physics involves the study of why ‘things’ has to happen the way it is happening and figuring out the law behind it? What is so special about these laws? Can we explain everything (I mean the working of nature) with these laws? For centuries people have struggled with these questions and exhausted their life on searching out the correct laws of nature. Some of them have succeeded in figuring out. They are the great persons (Archimides to Stephen Hawking) who revolutionized our understanding about nature. From last fifty years due to the rapid growth in the field of science and technology, the question we can ask is, have we figured out all the laws of nature? Can we say how nature works? The answer is no! We have not yet reached such level of understanding. We can bravely say we still don’t know many ‘things’ and how it works! Yet, our small understanding about nature has put all of us to lead privileged life, which none of our ancestors experienced. Now if you ask, what we have did, and what we have understood about nature, I better show you this book- “Six Easy Pieces Essentials” by Richard P. Feynman.
The book contains six chapters, taken from most famous book in physics “The Feynman Lectures on Physics”. Six Chapters are Atoms in Motion, Basic Physics, The Relation of Physics to other Science, Conservation of Energy, Theory of Gravitation and Quantum Behavior. Unlike the great physicist, Feynman was considered as a greatest physicist and teacher of all time. He has a remarkable talent of explaining most difficult ‘things’ in a very simple way. This makes him very special among all other scientist. His legendary lectures at Caltech, now it is called Feynman Lectures, considered as ‘The Bible’ in physics. And the six chapters which were mentioned above are the selected topics from these books. It’s a popular science book and does not require any knowledge of science to read. But, if you have interest in science you must read this book. He explains how each simple observation and some simple experiments have changed our understanding about nature. It is true that we have revolutionized our level of understanding compare to the Aristotle period or even at the beginning of 20th century. Yet, we have not fully discovered the entire laws.
The title of the book says “Six Easy Pieces Essentials” in reality these are the six pieces, which are very essential to understand our nature. And Feynman does not make you to understand these topics; instead he explains why these are very important, what is so special about them, in his typical ‘Feynman Style’. Read the book to get experience yourself. At last let me ask you this. By some way all our scientific knowledge is destroyed and only one sentence (Scientific Idea) is to be conveyed to the future generation. What will you convey in one sentence, which contains nearly all information of our scientific idea? Answer: Read this book!
You can Google it and get E-copy of the book.
-Viswa Keerthy S (21/07/2013)