E: A Biography of the World's Most Famous Equation

Front Cover
Pan Books, 2001 - Equations - 330 pages
14 Reviews
'By the end of the astonishing E=mc2, a dedicated reader will have achieved, if only by osmosis, an understanding of Einstein's theory of relativity and feel quite at ease dining with Nobel Prize winners. It's a lucid, even thrilling study: the very best kind of science journalism. I didn't know I could know so much.' Fay Weldon, Books of the Year, Washington Post In 1905, Albert Einstein produced five historic papers that shattered many cherished scientific beliefs. One of those papers introduced the theory of special relativity and his legendary equation, E=mc2. Generations have grown up knowing that equation changed the shape of our world, but without understanding what it really means and why it is so significant. In this fascinating biography David Bodanis tells the story of one of the greatest scientific discoveries in history. He looks at the elements 'e', 'm' and 'c'; and honours the scientists whose landmark discoveries paved the way for Einstein. He plots the course of the equation through the twentieth century, showing how our lives have been revolutionized by its applications; and looks far ahead to the future. But as with any biography, it is the human stories that really ignite the subject - stories of love, courage and tragedy, of near misses, disappointments and disasters that, brought together by Bodanis in this remarkable book, turn Einstein's seemingly impenetrable theory into a dramatic and accessible human achievement. 'Both informative and highly readable...E=mc2 is a wonderful romp through Einstein's famous formula.. this is everything a popular science book should be' DAILY EXPRESS 'Bodanis himself seems like an intellectual thermonuclear explosion, a kind of Jonathan Miller on speed...This is an outstanding introduction to relativity by a gifted practitioner of popular science' INDEPENDENT 'With skill and plenty of colourful anecdotes Bodanis traces the intellectual ancestry of E=mc2...fast moving and entertaining' THE TIMES 'E=mc2 reveals, amongst other wonders, how many women physicists were involved in the story. Which makes this morally improving, as well as fascinating reading' George Walden, Books of the Year, SUNDAY TELEGRAPH 'The book fizzes in the readers imagination' TIMES EDUCATIONAL SUPPLEMENT

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - themulhern - LibraryThing

A discussion of the impact and nature of Einstein's work structured like a biography of the equation, E = mc^2. A lively narrative, not terribly technical. The book covers Einstein's original addendum ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - ogroft - LibraryThing

Many of my students will have heard about this small equation, but I'm not sure if they will understand its gravity. I hope to expound their knowledge on the importance of these five symbols in a line. Read full review

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About the author (2001)

David Bodanis is a scientist and bestselling author. His previous books include "The Secret House" and "The Secret Family". He has broadcast on the BBC and published most forms of journalism including reviews, articles on science and op-ed pieces in many distinguished journals in the UK and abroad.

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