Everyone's Guide to Atoms, Einstein, & the Universe

Everyone's Guide to
Atoms, Einstein & the Universe
Real Science for Real People

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( 5-stars ) The layman's guide to the complicated mathematics and theories behind twentieth and twenty-first century science, July 10, 2009
By Midwest Book Review (Oregon, WI USA) 
Einstein was a genius, but true genius is not something only understandable by other genius. "Everyone's Guide to Atoms, Einstein, and the Universe: Real Science for Real People" is the layman's guide to the complicated mathematics and theories behind twentieth and twenty-first century science. Anyone can understand quantum physics, says author Robert L. Piccioni, who then strives to make his point with straightforward, comprehensible explanations. "Everyone's Guide to Atoms, Einstein, and the Universe" is enthusiastically recommended to readers of all backgrounds, as well as to public library collections.

( 5-stars )
"Scientific Concepts Explained" | Jun 8, 2009 by Donald Moore 
This was an interesting and enjoyable read for somebody with a little more than casual interest in astronomy and general science. As a non-scientist I found the subject text easy to follow and instructive. The many charts and illustrations enhanced the book and provided me with a visual reference to complex topics, especially where formulas and complicated theories were being discussed. After reading this book my understanding of concepts of quantam mechanics, relativity, black holes, and much more is greatly improved.

I will keep this book as a reference for when I need a greater understanding of topics I encounter in other places and when I need a refresher in these topics. I will also recommend this book to my son in law, who is a junior high school science teacher. I believe the author provides such an approachable discription of complex topics that the book should provide good ideas for introducing young minds to physics. ( )

( 5-stars ) "This book is very easy to understand!" April 12, 2009 by Varsha, 10-year-old, 5th grade student 
I love physics a lot and I wanted to know a lot more about it. So, I bought this book. Now, I know all about things like antimatter, Einstein's theories, stars, black holes, and a lot more. This book is easy to understand and has a lot of pictures for examples of the concept. Anyone can learn a lot from this book. I am really happy I got Everyone's Guide to Atoms, Einstein, and the Universe!

( 5-stars ) "If you can change money, you can understand Einstein.", June 23, 2009 by Dracodis
"Everyone's Guide to Atoms, Einstein, and the Universe" is truly what it says it is. Regardless of one's prior knowledge of higher level physics, anyone can understand this book and will immediately have a better concept of physics and cosmology. Not only that, but despite this ability, it does not come off as being for children or uninteresting for those who already have some knowledge on the subject. Also, just as Lucretius makes his "De Rerum Natura" more entertaining for the layman by writing in verse, Dr. Piccioni keeps the technical jargon to a minimum, often times saving it for explanatory notes at the end of chapters, and also peppers the text with little jokes, anecdotes, and other humorous remarks.

This book also has a great structure to it. One can read it from cover to cover, for the chapters do build upon one another, but that same time, one can pick up the book and simply read the chapter of interest without needing to read preceding chapters.

( 5-stars ) "Physics Made Fun", June 22, 2009 by M. Albert Hutchinson "martyhutch" 
For many years I have enjoyed reading books on astronomy and physics for the layman. I am always amazed at how astronomers and physicists have been able to figure out as much as they have about our universe. As soon as I heard about this book by Robert Piccioni I bought it on Amazon and have thoroughly enjoyed reading it. It is amazing how much information he has packed into one book and how clearly he explains normally difficult subjects. I found myself understanding more clearly than I had before such topics as quantum mechanics and the elementary paarticles. The book also explains the latest theories on dark matter, dark energy, and how the universe could have been created from nothing. I strongly recommend this book to all, either as an introduction to physics or as a review and clarification of it.

( 5-stars ) "A Great Read!," May 5, 2009 by Loves to Read  
This is a great book for those interested in knowing what is out there and how it all began. If you want to answer your child's question "What is antimatter, Dad?" this is the book for you.

Everyone's Guide to Atoms, Einstein, and the Universe covers everything from the smallest particles to the largest thing we know - our universe. Included are the people who made the discoveries.

The strength of this book is that it explains complex ideas so well, so straight-forwardly, and with so many illustrations that even non-technical people can understand them. And the book contains very little math so was much easier to read than I anticipated.

That is not to say that the subject matter is simple - it isn't. The universe isn't' simple and this book doesn't dumb it down. But it is clear that the author has respect for the reader and wants the reader to love these ideas and discoveries as much as he obviously does.

The book is even light in places. Dr. Piccioni's father was a famous physicist; he grew up around Nobel Prize winners, and he relates personal stories about his father and other well-known physicists, like Enrico Fermi and Richard Feynman.

This book is a great read!

( 5-stars ) Dr. Johns "Look no further!", May 3, 2009 by Dr. Johns
First, I need to preface this review by saying that I never liked physics. I had to take physics in high school and college as prerequisite classes, but I never enjoyed learning about physics. As an adult, I'm trying to broaden my horizons. In that spirit, I decided to give physics another try and I'm very glad that I did! Dr. Piccioni makes even complex concepts easy to understand and interesting. Who knew that a physics book could be a page-turner?! I wish I had this book back in high school. I highly recommend it to everyone, from students taking a physics class to anyone who is interested in learning more about how our universe works.

( 5-stars ) Read this book if you want to understand the universe. July 19, 2009 by David C.
f you want to understand how modern physics, cosmology and astronomy have drastically reshaped our view of the world in the past hundred years, read this book. As the title implies, any intelligent reader, with or without knowledge of mathematics, could understand this book. Very few physicists have succeeded in explaining modern physics without the use of complex mathematics, the native language of physicists. The notable exceptions on my list are Steven Weinstein (The First Three Minutes), Stephen Hawking (A Brief History of Time), Roger Penrose (Emperor's New Mind), Brian Green (The Elegant Universe), and Lee Smolin (The Trouble with Physics). After I finished reading this wonderful book, I have added Robert Piccioni to the list.

Einstein published three seminal papers in 1905. The first paper established the quantum nature of light, an essential element in the development of Quantum Mechanics. The second paper proposed the Special Theory of Relativity, a now firmly established theory that links time and space to form a four-dimensional space-time continuum. Einstein later extended this theory to the Theory of General Relativity, a theory that explains how the curvature of space-time creates our illusion of Newtonian gravity. The third paper utilized Brownian motion to provide clear evidence for molecules in motion, thus firmly established the existence of atoms. These three papers played a crucial role in launching modern physics in a totally different direction from that of nineteenth century physics.

The book "Everyone's Guide to Atoms, Einstein, and the Universe" starts with Einstein's early contributions, and ends with the most recent discoveries that form our current understand of the universe. This book surveys a broad range of topics, including Quantum Mechanics, elementary particles, four forces of nature, Special Relativity, General Relativity, Hubble expansion, the Big Bang, cosmic microwave background radiation (CMB), neutron stars, black holes, dark matter, and dark energy. Using these essential elements, Dr. Piccioni tells a fascinating story of modern physics and how we arrived at our modern view of the universe, starting with the Big Bang over 13 billion years ago and ending with how our universe may end in the distant future.

( 5-stars ) Everyone's Guide to to Atoms, Einstein, and the Universe, July 14, 2009 by Dr. Wm J. Veigele
In his book, Everyone's guide to Atoms, Einstein, and the Universe, Dr. Robert L. Piccioni has offered a commendable presentation of the world of physics, especially for the lay reader. Possibly not the "everyone" he alludes to in the title, however, will have the imagination and desire to understand the contents of the book. But for those who have those qualities, they will learn much and be entertained and awed.
The book is attractive and substantially bound with eminently readable type, graphics, photographs, and color plates. To supplement the material there is a glossary, list of symbols, index, and summary of key principles. Short and concise chapters make the book easy to read in short segments. In fact, the chapters are "stand alone" and need not be read in sequence. The author includes sidebars with personal insights into the minds and lives of some physicists of renown. Piccioni writes with the non-physicist reader in mind, and he has a gift for simplifying the complicated and making physics alive and entertaining as well as informative. His excitement about and need to explain physics is always evident. And he is true to his declaration that, in the book, the science is not "dumbed down." His explanations of physics are accurate to the degree and level of detail he could include in a book of less than 300 text pages that covers the entire scope of mankind's understanding of and speculations about the physical universe.
Dr. Piccioni takes the reader on a journey from the smallest of particles that make up atoms through the world that people know and experience to the mysterious realms of relativity and quantum theory and then to the unimaginably large expanse and majesty of the universe. The author uses clever and easy to grasp descriptions and analogies to explain the subtleties of the quantum and the universe. How much more enlightening, entertaining, and pleasurable can one book be?
More scientifically advanced readers should enjoy and learn from the book, but they might be concerned with a few items. Though energy and heat are concepts that are difficult to define, the lay reader should be informed that temperature, not heat, is given by the kinetic energy of vibrating atoms. Also, the author writes that energy is "the currency of existence." If energy is existence, then what is the role of fermions, which Piccioni calls the "constituents of matter?" And his statement that pairs of particles and antiparticles are created from "pure energy" needs clarification. There are a couple of historical inconsistencies. Theodore Maiman, not Charles Townes, produced the first working laser in 1960. Enrico Fermi produced the first successful reactor in 1942, but many persons contributed to and induced nuclear fission before then.
All in all, this is a beautifully scripted, well written, and engaging book. It will give serious readers an easy to grasp and illuminating view of the grandeur of the physical universe.
Wm. J. Veigele, Ph. D.

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barb302 | Jun 7, 2009 |( 5-stars )
A must read for anyone interested in science and the workings of our universe! This is a GREAT book and I really enjoyed it. I will be reading it a second time while taking notes. First of all, let me say that "Everyone's Guide to Atoms,Einstein and the Universe" is a book that allows every reader to pick and choose what they want to understand better about our planet earth, its place in the galaxy and about physics and the accomplishments of many physicists. What is particularly striking about this book is the author, Robert L. Piccioni's talent to make the complicated simple to understand. How does he do this? He explains scientific phenomena using practical examples that we can all relate to and understand. He includes fabulous illustrations in an Appendix in the book that he keeps referring us to in order to help us visualize what he is discussing. What is really amazing is that he takes subjects that can be way beyond our grasp and not only simplifies them but makes them so interesting...and he does this always with a sense of humor including wonderful stories.

Thank you, Robert L. Piccioni for writing such an outstanding book and for using your ability to teach a difficult subject and make it "real science for real people'. I loved the anecdotes the author includes about many physicists and the remarkable achievements which led to Nobel prizes for so many of them. I found myself totally absorbed in this book and chuckling often when the author shared an interesting fact or humorous story with the reader.

papyri | Jun 13, 2009 |( 4 stars )
I suggest you read this book with a paper and pencil beside you so you can take notes. You'll want to remember so much to refer back to at a later date. This book is incredibly enlightening even when discussing dark matter! I know so much more know about Einstein, his theories and also the Big Bang Theory and Quantum Mechanics. I understand that the Universe is expanding and as it does my knowledge is also expanding. My suggestion is that you buy this book, settle down on your favorite couch with some snacks by your side because once you pick up this book and start reading it you won't be able to put it down. Kudos to Piccioni for writing a book that will help everyone understand the Cosmos. Did you ever think of telescopes as time machines? Did you ever realize that if the Universe were divided into a million equal boxes, the contents of each box would be pretty much the same? Were you aware that Albert Einstein chose to give all of his Nobel Peace Prize money to his wife so she would agree to divorce him as he had another love interest waiting in the wings? This is just a tiny taste of what you can learn when you read this great book, "Everyone's Guide to Atoms, Einstein and the Universe". I encourage you to expand your own personal universe and read this book. You'll be glad you did. ( )
Sometimes you can't tell much about a book by its title, but this book's title describes it perfectly. It begins at the atomic level and works it way through to the whole universe and through time (from the beginning to the end). The author does a very good job of presenting complex scientific theories and information in a manner understandable to the general reader. Each chapter of the book seamlessly weaves biographical and background information about Einstein, various phsicsts, scientists, astronomers and others who contributed to our understanding of the subjects being discussed. This made the information presented more interesting and entertaining. A glossary section and notes at the end of each chapter provide further information and understanding of the topics.

The book is also nicely illustrated with diagrams and pictures which clarify what he is being discussed. It includes a section of color illustrations featuring images of the universe taken by the Hubble Space telescope showcasing its beauty.

This book was made for enjoyable informative reading.

PCGatore | July 1, 2009 |( 4 stars )
Dr. Robert Piccioni has accomplished at least two things with his new book Everyone’s Guide to Atoms, Einstein, and the Universe. One, he has conveyed something of the genius and the enormous contributions of Albert Einstein, whose work was instrumental to our knowledge of how the universe has changed over time and how it currently operates. And two, he’s revealed in everyday language the basic laws and theories that explain our modern understanding of matter and space. How he managed to cover so much ground without getting overly swamped in the heavy-duty physics and math that lurks behind the scenes is itself a bit of genius. Throw in some entertaining science history, a bit of humor, and some amazing color images, and Piccioni has created a comprehensive yet easy-to-digest primer to the Universe we all call home. Well, easily digested as long as the bites are small and thoroughly chewed on. Quantum mechanics does of course make an appearance, and there are a few mathematical equations. But the math is far from center stage here. Let’s face it, for most of us average-brained people, trying to keep up with Einstein’s thinking is a pretty daunting prospect. But a general knowledge of, and definitely a profound appreciation for, the cosmos is within our reach. One of the many Einstein quotes included in the book was the statement, “It should be possible to explain the laws of physics to a barmaid.” I’m not exactly a barmaid, but I’m not a theoretical physicist either. Yet armed with Everyone’s Guide, the barmaid and I will now be sitting at the table competently discussing the latest cosmological discoveries. And, we’ll be looking up at the skies with more awe than ever before.