cover image Why Does E=mc2?: And Why Should We Care?

Why Does E=mc2?: And Why Should We Care?

Brian Cox, Jeff Forshaw. Da Capo Press, $24 (249pp) ISBN 978-0-306-81758-8

British theoretical physicists Cox and Forshaw offer lay readers a fascinating account of modern scientists' view of the world, and how it got that way. Without using complicated mathematics, Cox and Forshaw show how the search for ""mathematical consistency"" can guide scientists in finding the ""laws that describe physical reality."" The authors provide the historical context that set the stage for Einstein's discovery, providing an easy-to-grasp explanation of counterintuitive experimental evidence, demonstrating how the speed of light acts as a ""cosmic speed limit,"" the exception that proves the rule of relativity. The authors also clearly explain the tide shift that Einstein caused, transforming scientists' understanding of the world-""common-sense notions regarding space and time are dashed and replaced by something entirely new, unexpected, and elegant."" Though the basics are covered in detail, there's plenty here for science buffs to ponder.