October 01, 2003
The Character of Physical Law by Richard P. Feynman
An excellent peek into the pedagogical mind of the most intriguing and colorful physicist of the last century. This book contains useful explanations about the meta-language of physics and what it describes. Feynman also gives a great analogy between the Babylonian and Greek way of doing mathematics and how to use math in physics.
Feynman touches on many disparate topics ranging from the classical physics of gravitation to magnetism to quantum mechanics. His pedagogy however is driven by the following quote from the first page of the book:
What I want to discuss in this series of lectures is the general characteristic of these Physical Laws; that is another level, if you will, of higher generality over the laws themselves. ... Now such a topic has a tendency to become too philosophical because it becomes too general, and a person talks in such generalities, that everybody can understand him. It is then considered to be some deep philosophy. I would like to be rather more special, and I would like to be understood in an honest way rather than in a vague way."
This book is a transcription of Feynman's Messenger Lectures originally given at Cornell University and recorded for television by the B.B.C.
For more details on the part of this book that deals with quantum mechanics pick up another book by Feynman called "QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter".
%T The Character of Physical Law %A Richard P. Feynman %I MIT Press %D 1967 %G ISBN: 0262560038 (pb) %G ISBN: 0679601279 (hc) %P 173 %K science, physics
Review written: 2000/04/04Posted by anoop at October 1, 2003 03:34 PM