E=mc2 (about it)

“E=mc2 “ whether you know about it or not, most of you must have surely heard it. Such is the popularity of this equation. Now, seeing a book with this name, my first reaction was that of – “raised eye brows”. Second reaction – “this should be some book for techies, full of equations and stuff”. But then, I was proved wrong. This is a book for all those interested in knowing more about the equation and without much of technical knowledge. Oops .. I didn’t mention the author – David Bolanis. Well, as I mentioned in the previous post, I was not able to get hold of this book on the second day in the library, I couldn’t proceed further with it. 😦 . Since, I have obtained no dues from the library already, I can’t take this book home… :((

The book is divided in to 5 parts I think – History,Definition of terms, Relationship etc…names, I can’t recollect now. The book is simple to the core which is what that makes it interesting to read. Some interesting anecdotes all through the book makes it even more enjoyable. Oh..yes, coming to the point your honor. First part is the only part I completed. It was the only one which was the smallest 😀
It traces the history related to the birth of the equation. About Einstein’s patent office clerk job, official pressures, his struggle to visit the library and his working style. Despite all these, he sends these articles which gave rise to perhaps, the most popular physics formula. After this, Bolanis begins explaining each letter in the equation.

“E” – Energy. Don’t frown. I am not going to take a class now. Just mentioning. Well, most of this story is about the growth of Michael Faraday. One reading this part, I understood one thing. Lack of formal education is a great advantage to genuises. If you look at history, most of these people with innovative thoughts are college dropouts or with abnormal academic background. Same was the case with Faraday. Book binder to scientist, it was indeed a strange path Faraday’s life trajectory has taken.

There is a sect of Christians called – “Sandemonian” sect itseems…to which Faraday belonged. It is from this Sandemonian bible that faraday began interpreting a magnet and its magnetic field. This is the third time in this blog till date that I am saying this, but can’t resist-“Tao of physics”… this time for inter connection of Religion and Science. The issues between Faraday and Sir Humphry Davy under whom Faraday began his work in this field – brings out this ever burning issue in literary circles – Plagiarism.
Origin of “=” is another interesting story. The old usages for “+” and “ – “ has some really interesting logic. I would have loved to put in those old model symbols here … but, I don’t know where to find them online. Anyways, since I am bound to comeback with a part-2 of this post, since I left the book incomplete this time, I’ll try to put them in the next post about this book.

Then comes the story of “m”. Coming with it is the story of Lavoiser, about whom I read in school. This is an interesting one. Lavoiser and his wife performiing experiments together somehow amused me. Dunno how it might have appeared for their kids 🙂 The ideas related to Conservation of energy are well presented. After all this came the “C” part, which is where I left the library for lunch. It all happened yesterday. After that, I never saw that book again! 😦

Published in: on July 16, 2006 at 3:55 am  Comments (1)  

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  1. The writer of this book E = mc2 is David Bodanis and not David Bolanis. This equation completed 100 years during 2005. David Bodanis explains the equation in a simple and interesting way. I am glad that you introduced such unusual book to readers.

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