Let There be Light: The Story of Light from Atoms to Galaxies

| September 10, 2012 | 0 Comments

This week  I would like to review another physics book called “Let There Be Light: The Story of Light from Atoms to Galaxies“. This book co-authored by Alex Montwill and Ann Breslin delves deeply into the history of light, which includes both philosophical considerations and a scientific views. A combination of an interesting subject and solid content makes this book worth of your attention, especially if you’re interested in physics. So here’s a short review.

Author: Paul Parsons

Hardcover: 224 pages

Publisher: Quercus (31 Mar 2011)

ISBN-10: 1849164797

ISBN-13: 978-1849164795

Kindle edition: (US|UK)

Reviews: 2 customer reviews

Rating: ★★★★★  Rank: 2,617,024  US version  UK version

About the Authors

Alex Montwill taught physics for more than 40 years at University College Dublin, and as visiting professor at City College New York and University of Minnesota. Montwill also worked in the RTE1 Irish radio for more than 10 years, where he presented short science snippets.

Ann Breslin is a lecturer at the University College of Dublin and she has also co-authored another book with Alex Montwill, which is “The Quantum Adventure: Does God Plays Dice?“. 


Short Review

The 2nd edition of “Let There Be Light” has recently reached the book shops, so let’s see what this book is all about. Like a couple of other books that I’ve looked at recently “Let There Be Light” is a tasty mix of philosophy, history of science and physics. And to be honest, I’m a little biased when it comes to such kind of books. I feel like this good old mix of philosophy and science, with basically no technical stuff is a great treat for laymen or for someone looking for a fun read. And it seems that this updated work by Alex Montwill and Ann Breslin is not an exception.

Readers are introduced to philosophical hypotheses such as the economy, symmetry and the universality of natural laws, and are then guided to practical consequences such as the rules of geometrical optics and even Einstein’s well-known but mysterious relationship, E = mc2. There’s a lot of focus on the history of scientific figures like Galileo, Niels Bohr, Joseph Fourier, Richard Feynman and so on. Furthermore, every chapter is illustrated by a pen portrait, which I think is amazing.

The 2nd edition of the book reduces the difficulty level of the book making more accessible to laymen readers. Most of the mathematical jargon and equations from the first edition have been transformed into layman’s terms and more historical materials have been included. As many of the reviewers have pointed out the book is neat, well written and it doesn’t feel too technical. All of this makes it a good choice for laymen, however if you’re looking for something suited for expert readers or physics university students, you should probably look for something a little more technical to suite your needs.




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Category: Physics Books

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