Jump to navigation Jump to search Mr Tompkins is the title character in a series of four popular science books by the physicist George Gamow. The books are structured as a series of dreams in which Mr Tompkins enters alternative worlds where the physical constants have radically different values from those they have in the real world. Gamow aims to use these alterations to explain modern scientific theories. The lecture proves less comprehensible than he had hoped and he drifts off to sleep and enters a dream world in which the speed of light is a mere 4. This becomes apparent to him through the fact that passing cyclists are subject to a noticeable Lorentz—FitzGerald contraction. Later books in the series tackled biology and advanced cosmology.
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Shelves: physics , non-fiction-science This book is a classic popularization of science by one of the great popular science writers who was also a brilliant physicist. He did a lot of work in developing the big bang theory. This book combines two earlier books. The first is "Mr. Tompkins in Wonderland" which discusses the weird consequences of relativity on time, mass, and velocity through alternating scenes of a science lecture and the dreams of a bank clerk who dozes off during the lecture.
The same structure is used in the second This book is a classic popularization of science by one of the great popular science writers who was also a brilliant physicist. The same structure is used in the second book, "Mr. Thomkins Explores the Atom", which describes quantum mechanics including atomic and nuclear structure. Gamow writes in a clear and humorous style that both enlightens and entertains.
His writing reminds one of the way Richard Feynman could break down the most complicated concepts into easily digestible nuggets. Considering the chronology, perhaps Feynman reminds one of Gamow. He imagines what the world would be like if the speed of light was much smaller and is obtainable by a bicyclist.
It has to do with the uncertainty principle. General readers will like this book, and learn a lot of science. Readers who know the science will love it and increase their understanding. Tompkins, a childlike fellow who works at a bank and has limited intellectual ambition, has various fantastical experiences usually dreamed up while sleeping through lectures delivered by his father-in-law, a physics professor which illustrate the laws of physics in extremely intuitive ways.
This is a thoroughly charming little book with a pleasantly Mr. This is a thoroughly charming little book with a pleasantly dated, mid-century feel. From the standpoint of the history of science, it is interesting to read an account of the "latest" developments--as of in quantum physics and relativity from the point of view of a contemporary and one of the big names in the field. It explain it so much fun.
Jul 23, Jessica rated it did not like it I finished reading this story for no other reason than completing a recommendation from a friend who has been requesting I read some of his favorite books.
I have a very limited knowledge and passion for physics, but my friend insisted that I would still find enjoyment in the basic storyline that ran through the overarching plot. I found none. Even had I possessed a prior interest in physics, the story itself was painfully boring and seemed to arbitrarily exist for the sake of tying the chapters I finished reading this story for no other reason than completing a recommendation from a friend who has been requesting I read some of his favorite books.
Even had I possessed a prior interest in physics, the story itself was painfully boring and seemed to arbitrarily exist for the sake of tying the chapters together. Essentially, reading this book felt like listening to the ranting and rambling lectures of a monotone physics professor.
His father taught Russian language and literature in high school, and his mother taught geography and history at a school for girls. In addition to Russian, Gamow learned to speak some French from his mother and German from a tutor. Gamow learned fluent English in his college years and later. Most of his early publications were in German or Russian, but he later switched to writing in English for both technical papers and for the lay audience. He was educated at the Institute of Physics and Mathematics in Odessa  —23 and at the University of Leningrad — He aspired to do his doctoral thesis under Friedmann, but had to change dissertation advisors. The four formed a group known as the Three Musketeers , which met to discuss and analyze the ground-breaking papers on quantum mechanics published during those years.
Mr. Tompkins gets serious