“Gravity” by George Gamow – Book Review

Welcome!

This is a book review over “Gravity” by Dr. George Gamow. Dr. Gamow (pronounced  ɡaməf in russian) born Georgiy Antonovich Gamov, was a theoretical physicist and cosmologist. He was born in the Russian Empire in 1904 and discovered alpha decay via quantum tunneling. During his career he worked on  multiple different areas of study, including the radioactive decay of atomic nuclei, star formation, big bang nucleosynthesis, stellar nucleosynthesis, the cosmic microwave background project, nucleocosmogenesis, and even genetics. He passed away in 1968.

During his time on earth, he became a distinguished academic. It was said he possessed a great gift for making the intricacies of science accessible to the general public. As he specialized in applying nuclear physics to problems of astrophysics and cosmology, perhaps he was used to creating via his intuition in the sciences, eccentric ways for himself to delve into the matters at quantum or cosmological sizes.

What I loved about it:

In “Gravity“, Dr. Gamow creates a straight forward no nonsense review of three famous scientists, Galileo, Newton, and Einstein, and goes over some of the concepts and theories they developed. Expertly breaking them down into an easily digestible and short (146 pages) source for the student or adventurous mind. He even included his own drawings! very nice. The book is reader friendly and does a good job of portraying the concepts covered in a way to allow the young-scientist to grasp the subject of gravity with relative ease. His last chapter on speculations following Einsteins findings proposes questions and ideas concerning the relationship between gravity and other such phenomena that are currently, or already have been, studied at length by physicists (such as the quantum theory and where gravity fits into it and the concept of antigravity)

I specifically enjoyed the section concerning Einstein’s work which dealt with light particle propagation in an accelerated rocket.

What I didn’t:

Being that the book was technical in nature, whilst also being written AND illustrated via a first-rate scientist who was credited with major scientific advances, I found this section to be difficult. I enjoy reading good books, but the problem that becomes apparent is that good books have few faults to heckle the author about, and finding them in a miniature tome such as this can be difficult. The three great scientists Dr. Gamow covers created the very foundation of our modern understanding of gravity. Though current studies are underway to attempt to understand gravity’s sources and the strange nuances we are seeing at the quantum level, we need to use this book’s viewpoint of its classical type theory to establish a firm understanding before delving into quantum mechanics. At least, I think it would be a good practice.

So what bothered me about the book was that it was so confined to just those three scientists. What about Feynman? Bohr? way to keep it small and non-intimidating. I’ll take it as an insult on my intellect. *insert extreme face overwhelmed with the purest essence of sadness here*

Overall:

Overall a bit dry, but that is to be expected. It was an informational and quick read. I enjoyed it and for anyone going into physics or engineering, be sure to pick it up. A promiscuous 3.2 out of 5 stars it gets.

Thanks and keep reading!

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