Saturday, November 27, 2010

Book Review: Exploring the World of Physics

I jumped at the chance to review Exploring the World of Physics by John Hudson Tiner, for a number of reasons.
  1. I've loved his other books in this series (Biology, Mathematics, Medicine, Planet Earth).  In other words, Physics is one of the only ones we don't own.
  2. I have science nuts for sons, and they are always interested in another good book.
  3. And... to confess... physics intimidates me. I never took physics.  Ever. Because it intimidates me.
Part of the description from the publisher states:
Physics is a branch of science that many people consider to be too complicated to understand. In this exciting addition to the “Exploring” series, John Hudson Tiner puts this myth to rest as he explains the fascinating world of physics in a way that students from elementary to high school can comprehend.
Does that sound perfect for me? To continue the description:
Did you know that a feather and a lump of lead will fall at the same rate in a vacuum? Learn about the history of physics from Aristotle to Galileo to Isaac Newton to the latest advances. Discover how the laws of motion and gravity affect everything from the normal activities of everyday life to launching rockets into space. Learn about the effects of inertia firsthand during fun and informative experiments.
Exploring the World of Physics is a great tool for students of all ages who want to have a deeper understanding of the important and interesting ways that physics affects our lives and is complete with illustrations, chapter questions, and an index. 
Hmmm... maybe I can handle physics. Because yes, in fact, I did know about the feather and lead, and I've learned a lot about Aristotle, Galileo and Newton alongside my kids. So why have I avoided officially studying physics?

So I jumped into reading this book.  And you know what?  I get it. Tiner makes this pretty non-intimidating.  He writes like he is talking to you.  And it is in English, not geek-speek.

I was afraid as I started that maybe I was just "getting it" because I was only dealing with the old stuff.  You know, Aristotle, Galileo, Newton... simple machines, laws of motion, I can handle that. It's all the scary stuff with electromagnetism and nuclear energy that worry me.  So, after reading the first few chapters, I skipped ahead.  Surprisingly, I was still understanding him.  Even though words like "quantum," "cold fusion," and "electrostatic" were being bandied about, it continued to make sense to me.

Connor is on track to be taking high school physics next year.  I am going to thoroughly read this book, again, before he gets there.  But now I am not so terribly intimidated about helping him with his projects.  Connor will be required to read this as a supplement, or maybe I'll require it next summer.  I will also have William work through chapters of this book next year, when he is taking Physical Science. 

My conclusion?  This book is as wonderful as others in the series, maybe even moreso for me.  If you have a child in physics and you want to have a clue as to what they are studying, this is a fairly painless way to obtain that clue.  If you have a student who is intimidated by physics, this is a friendly overview of the subject.

Highly recommend. 

Disclaimer:   I received this book for free from New Leaf Publishing Group. No other compensation was received. The fact that I received a complimentary product does not guarantee a favorable review. 

1 comment:

Blossom Barden (NorthLaurel) said...

Very good review. After using a different (lower grade?) physics book, I've started to see that my ds may want to get into this even more (he cannot stand living sciences so far). Thanks for pointing out this one!