“A quick guide to history’s most innovative physics breakthroughs ” – Schrödinger’s Cat by Adam Hart-Davis

ssc40eoeTold chronologically, from explaining air in 430BC to modern day and finding the Higgs Boson, Adam Hart-Davis briefly divulges 50 revolutionary physics experiments in Schrödinger’s Cat.

From little-known researchers to the book’s famous namesake investigation, this is a quick guide to history’s most innovative physics breakthroughs that have shaped the way we see the world today. Each investigation is explained in 3 or 4 pages, just enough to understand the topic without being bombarded with too much information. Whilst this means you only really get an overview, unless you’re interested in an in-depth analysis of the studies, what’s provided in Schrödinger’s Cat is enough.

This book is bound to trigger lots of school science lesson flashbacks. Who doesn’t remember trying to separate light with a prism or learning how Isaac Newton discovered gravity (spoiler alert: there may not have really been a tree).

Though aimed at a general reader, this book is much better suited to people with at least a basic scientific understanding. The sentence beginning “we know that the time t in seconds is given by the formula t = 2π√l/g where l is the length…” was one of the few that felt juxtaposed in what began as a very easy to understand book.

However, the majority of Hart-Davis’ writing is very simple and easy to read, which really cements the fact he is regarded as one of Britain’s best science communicators. He even goes as far as simplifying some of the more complex scientific theories. Whilst explaining James Joule’s thermodynamic experiment, he takes the researcher’s lengthy hypothesis and puts it simply in just six words, making for a much easier and more enjoyable read.

Jason Anscomb’s design and illustrations really complete the book, making the experiments easer to understand as well as simply looking captivating.

Any Cop?: We enjoyed Pavlov’s Dog earlier in the year and this is easily as good as that.

 

Bethany Pritchard

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