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Publisher's Summary

In one of the most exciting and accessible explanations of The Theory of Relativity in recent years, Professors Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw go on a journey to the frontier of 21st century science to consider the real meaning behind the iconic sequence of symbols that make up Einstein's most famous equation, exploring the principles of physics through everyday life.

©2010 Brian Cox & Jeff Forshaw (P)2010 WF Howes Ltd

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Special & General Relativity reasonably accessible

I love when an author is willing, clear and interesting enough to read his own work. This is one of those times. Although some of the formulas explained would be a lot easier to digest visually, they're not necessary to get a reasonable grasp of most of the concepts explained.

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Great explanation

I will have to listen again to be sure I pick up the parts I missed, but overall I learned so much on the first pass. I enjoyed the occasional subtle humour too.

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Expand your mind

Don't be frightened by the thought of complex mathematical equations, this book glides over those and unlocks the real beauty behind Einsteins theory.
The final chapter is especially rewarding as it pulls all the other information together.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Difficult to follow in audiobook form

Enjoyable and eye opening but there are many points in the book where I wanted to have the equations on paper in front of me.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Yes we should care....

...this is not entirely esoteric, this is fundamental knowledge that gives an alternative perspective to our lives. It's actually quite therapeutic to doze off at night to the audiobook (having set the sleep timer of course) with those weird and wonderful concepts swimming around in one's head. Best way to learn.
Perfectly narrated by Jeff Forshaw one of the authors so that the emphasis is on the key parts of the sentence that matter.
Highly recommended, would just like a couple pages PDF of some of the fomulae and graphs, although none of it is too complicated in words, some of us are more visual and helps with the learning process to see it presented that way.
Super stuff.

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great listen

only problem is that some of the derivations are hard to follow with all the formulas thrown around, would be much better in print for those sections

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    5 out of 5 stars

Very well written and narrated

What made the experience of listening to Why Does E=MC2 and Why Should We Care the most enjoyable?

The way the book is written and narrated is extremely clear even for me that i am just a science enthusiast.
Concepts are explained well and clearly and you will walk off this book looking at the world in a different way.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A terrific explanation of E=MC2

This book gives a deep and complete explanation of Einstein's brilliant insight and equation in language that is fairly easy to follow and with a minimum of maths.

That said I've still listened to it 3 times to keep some of the concepts clear in my mind and I'm sure I'll be listening again. That's because space time is a difficult thing for us to grasp. However this book does an excellent job of giving clever thought experiments and understandable explanations of the various aspects of the theory.

There are also many insights I'd never been aware of before like why the speed of light is a universal speed limit.

The maths involved is not overly complex though I found it helpful to write down the maths involved so I could follow it more easily.

There are many aspects to understanding the subject and the book devotes a chapter to each. This provides a clear framework from which to glean a deeper insight into Einstein's work.

Overall I have not come across a better or more complete explanation of this famous and important equation. Even if you are familiar with the concepts (like I thought I was) I feel it describes and connects the various concepts in a clever, insightful and satisfying way that has given me a more complete understanding.

I now feel I could explain E=MC2 to an interested party with confidence!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Excellent way of explaining

Very well explained.
Have been trying to get my head around relativity for years - and this has almost former there.
Co-author reading it knows the meaning of every sentence before he reads it so it sounds like your with someone who is just explaining things for you

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Brilliant.

Teaches without lecturing and manages to keep a sense of child-like fascination throughout. Just brilliant.

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  • Ian C Robertson
  • 30-11-2013

Generally Good

It is always hard to know where to make your pitch. This must be true of every non-fiction title, but I expect it is particularly true of physics. One can't get any more iconic than the formula at the heart of this title, but very few of us know what it really means or why it is so important. I got interested in finding out about the time reports were leaking out of CERN about a particle that was faster than light. I thought it was time to turn to Cox and Forshaw for help (again). Of course they supplied the answers, but pitched at a level that was a bit too general for my liking. I was having fun with the maths (now that I don't need to pass exams) and getting into the dimensions they explore in the text when, suddenly I couldn't follow the math myself and I read the dreaded words (or words to the effect of), "take it from me, if you do the maths, this is the result". I wanted to do the maths. So, i ordered the hardcopy from Amazon, hoping it would be filled with lots of nice tables, diagrams and appendices. There are some diagrams, but the detail is omitted. That's fine of course for where the authors pitched the text, but I was a bit disappointed. I of course went out and got Physics for Dummies (or something akin to it), then went onto a text book and now I'm happy and ready to write this review.
The rub is, if you know nothing and are happy with something, then you'll be well pleased with this. If you want to do the math (like me) then it's a beginning, not an ending.
Jeff Forshaw reads the title with interest and is easy to listen to. No problem with the performace, at all.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Roy
  • 13-06-2011

Needs a few Diagrams

Audio books, in the main, are an effective means of absorbing difficult concepts.
There are however pit-falls. E=MC2 falls into one of them.
This audio version only needs a few diagrams to make it the best tutorial on Relativity.
A complementary web site would lift it from frustratingly incomplete to brilliant.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • serine
  • 22-04-2016

Superb Introduction to Relativity !

This is a great introduction to understanding how energy has been converted to mass and back into energy, creating every bit of known matter. The first part of the book introduces the reader to the concept of e=mc2, in very simple and easy to understand terms. In the second part of the book, the authors breakdown the equation to teach any curious learner the math behind the equation. Even if you are not interested in breaking down the math, I would still highly recommend this book if you are curious about special or general relativity.

I found the 3rd part of the book to be the most enjoyable. The authors give a fantastic and extremely easy to understand survey of the various types of stars in the universe. Stars are one of my favorite things to read about, and I have read my share of books about them. I would definitely say these authors excelled at explaining the relationship between mass and type of star as well as the forces at work to keep stars active. There is a beautiful dance that exists between the inward pull of gravity and the outward push of fusion and electron repulsion. The way the authors organized this discussion was so simple and beautiful. I think anyone interested in the dynamics of stars would love this book. They did not mention my favorite star, the brown dwarf. That was a tiny bit disappointing.

The final part of the book gave an extremely brief summary of the standard model as well as a summary of some of the particles accelerators and wave detectors. The authors chose not to bog the reader down with the various particles of the standard model. They were more interested in trying to help the reader understand how these particles are at work in e = mc2.

I would definitely recommend this book for someone who is looking for an introduction or a refresher.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Paul de Jong
  • 04-12-2017

Excellent Reading of a Fascinating Tale

This is one of the best books on this topic I have ever read and Jeff Forshaw reads it with excitement and wonder.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Bruce
  • 10-10-2017

Wow great explanation wirh a bit or real maths

This book really does help get an understanding of the universe and the equation. It was a great book

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  • Amazon CustomerPK
  • 08-03-2017

thoroughly enjoyable

explained specific and general relativity in a clear manner with minimal math. I was able to follow most of it while listening to the audio while driving. The audible was well read and engaging.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mr. T. L. Scruby
  • 23-01-2017

Inspiring and simply explained for the amateur

Loved this book and really found it an inspiration to learn more about science and the field of physics! Great narration, good northern accent!

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  • 1DrummingAddict
  • 30-10-2014

Have a pencil and paper handy...

Would you listen to Why Does E=MC2 and Why Should We Care again? Why?

I fully plan to listen to the book again... and again... and again. I have a general understanding of the topic and am not a physicist or mathematician, but I know enough to do the math in this book, I just want to understand it better.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Why Does E=MC2 and Why Should We Care?

Mathematically changing the unit of measurement from meters per second to the speed of light (c).

What does Jeff Forshaw bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

He has a similar accent to Brian Cox and sounds like he REALLY KNOWS this material. It was a pleasure to listen to him through the reading.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It made lightbulbs go off over and over again... it was GREAT!

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Dominick
  • 31-10-2016

loved the book.

I really enjoyed this book. I've listened to it twice and will listen to it again. the reader/author was great too. I'll probably buy the printed book as well.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Sean Frank
  • 04-07-2016

Better understanding

I love science and the book gave me a better understanding into e=mc2. Beautifully elagent theory as Brian Cox once said.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Mr. S. Hyams
  • 30-05-2011

Easier than I thought

For the first time I actually understand about time and the observer.
Brilliant book enhanced by the readers accent.
The descriptions work and while the spoken equations get a little confusing - switched off for bits - the overall value of the book is excellent.
Knocks spots of books like "A brief history of time" for ease of understanding.

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Simon
  • 15-04-2011

Good but not suited to an audiobook

Whilst far from being an expert physicist I have read a fair bit about relativity and quantum mechanics etc so I was coming to this book looking to get a clearer understanding of the subject matter it deals with. The only problem is that I don't think I'm any clearer now than when I started.

I have no doubt that this is in large part due to the fact I was listening to it as an audiobook rather than reading it so don't want to put the book down too much. The book started off okay but quite quickly descended into multiple equations that I just found impossible to follow in my head which meant that large swathes of the book became impenetrable - and since each section relied on the previous it meant that everything went pear-shaped for me quite early on.

The book is a good attempt to explain how Einstein reached his famous equation but in the end, at least as an audiobook, the ideas just required too much abstract and mathematical thought in order to properly ensure understanding.

40 of 43 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ian
  • 31-03-2011

Relatively easy relativity.

There is no denying that relativity is not a subject that most of us need to understand. I'm not sure if it's something that most of can even begin to understand whether we need to or not. That said 'Why Does E=MC2 and Why Should We Care' goes some way to making sense of the subject for the layman using real life examples and simple mathematical explanations. Read by one of the authors, Professor Jeff Forshaw, the narration is authoritative without patronising the listener. I didn't think I would enjoy this as much as I did but it was a really good listen and I am happy to give it 5 stars.

36 of 39 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Richard
  • 12-04-2011

Good, but some equations on paper would help

Liked it. Some part are heavy but the overall thread is good. The authors strike good balance between informality accessibility and robust science. At no point does it feel dumbed down. The only real downside of an audiobook is lack of diagrams and written equations. A little pdf with the missing bits would be great.

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Paul
  • 19-07-2011

Excellent book, expertly pitched and addictive

This is a great listen, goes at just the right pace and keeps you hanging on for more. The Ionian enchantment really did blow me away. I had goose bumps at one point.

The formulas are lost on the audio listener, but if you have the book in print to back it up, that's a great partnership.

Perfect for the car, just don't drift away on a thought experiment ;-)

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Becki
  • 18-07-2011

Still confused!

Overall I liked it, they do their best to explain the things which are generally out of the everyman's grasp but unfortunately for me, I'm still not quite tall enough! There were some "aha!" moments but the bit I found hardest was listening to the equations. If there's one thing harder than looking at equations, it's hearing them! With a couple more listens though, I might get there, I'll try again once my fried brain has recovered, which should be in 1 year of space time. Or should that be one minute of space-time? You see I still don't get it.....

19 of 22 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Tony
  • 08-11-2015

Superb intro into physics for the enquiring mind.

Great intro, concepts are well thought through and explained. Good narrator. It is well worth rereading elements until you understand what they are trying to say as the subject matter is hard and you have a lot to take in.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • shufflingB
  • 17-06-2011

Almost, really good attempt, very enjoyable

Audio quality is good and the reading is generally engaging and excellent. The mathematics is not massively difficult (O-Level maybe) but I'd recommend getting the hardcopy as well, as having it in black and white certainly helps understand the niceties. Like most good things it takes a certain amount of effort to achieve, but the pay off of understanding is certainly worth it :-) I'd probably give it 5 five stars for it's valiant attempt at explanation. However the fact that it will not quite pull it off for most folks with out the hard copy and the occasional knocking of others (no matter how daft) points of view, rather than concentrating on it's own narrative mean four stars from me.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Sean
  • 04-05-2011

Essential Listening for the Physics Layman

This is a superb book, exceptionally well read and very easy to absorb. It answered pretty much all the questions that have ever irked me about relativity and the Standard Model. It all seems so straightforward now and the fact that mankind's discovery of these processes was derived from seemingly simple thought experiments almost beggars belief.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough. If, like me, you are a physics layman then you simply have to give this book your attention.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Robert Wheatley
  • 13-08-2011

Slow delivery, but good all the same

I listened to this at 1.5x speed because the delivery was too slow. I can see why it needs to be slow while going over equations, but for the most of it, it just needed a little more pace. That's the only reason it doesn't get 5 stars.

I may buy the book too - so I can go over the equations and work things through myself.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful