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A history of gravity, and a study of its importance and relevance to our lives, as well as its influence on other areas of science.Physicists will tell you that four forces control the universe. Of these, gravity may the most obvious, but it is also the most mysterious. Newton managed to predict the force of gravity but couldn't explain how it worked at a distance. EinsteiA history of gravity, and a study of its importance and relevance to our lives, as well as its influence on other areas of science.Physicists will tell you that four forces control the universe. Of these, gravity may the most obvious, but it is also the most mysterious. Newton managed to predict the force of gravity but couldn't explain how it worked at a distance. Einstein picked up on the simple premise that gravity and acceleration are interchangeable to devise his mind-bending general relativity, showing how matter warps space and time. Not only did this explain how gravity worked – and how apparently simple gravitation has four separate components – but it predicted everything from black holes to gravity's effect on time. Whether it's the reality of anti-gravity or the unexpected discovery that a ball and a laser beam drop at the same rate, gravity is the force that fascinates....

Title : Gravity: How the Weakest Force in the Universe Shaped Our Lives
Author :
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ISBN : 9780312616298
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 336 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Gravity: How the Weakest Force in the Universe Shaped Our Lives Reviews

  • Manny
    2019-02-17 02:25

    Celebrity Death Match Special: Gravity versus Gravity[SANDRA BULLOCK sits listlessly in front of the instrument panel in the Soyuz spacecraft. Slowly, she adjusts a setting, leans back in her chair and closes her eyes.]BULLOCK: It's hopeless. I mean, how am I supposed to write a book about gravity? I can remember a bit of what I did in my undergraduate courses. Plus what I read in Scientific American. Who'd ever take me seriously?[Tears pour down her perfect cheekbones. Enter THE GHOST OF GEORGE CLOONEY.]CLOONEY: Hey, hey, hey! That's no way to talk. Trust me, you know plenty. Just write it down and they'll love it.BULLOCK: I wish. I don't understand relativity properly and I'm supposed to explain quantum gravity. How's that going to look? I mean, I can't even remember how to derive the formula for the Riemann--CLOONEY: Baby, you're overthinking it. Put in some stuff to make them laugh, some historical anecdotes--BULLOCK: Like, Einstein's teacher said he'd never amount to anything? Puh-lease.CLOONEY: Yeah, why not? It's good material. Lots of people don't know that. Newton and the apple. Everyone likes the apple story.BULLOCK: And what about the math?CLOONEY: Come on, you're writing a pop science book. Anything mathematical comes up, don't go into details. Just tell 'em it's complicated. No problem.BULLOCK: But look, I can't--CLOONEY: Stop thinking tensor calculus. Read my lips: space is like a rubber sheet. I want to hear you say that.BULLOCK: I--CLOONEY: Say it.BULLOCK: [Defeated] Space is like a rubber sheet.CLOONEY: You got it, baby. Trust me, it's all gonna be fine. [BULLOCK opens her eyes. CLOONEY has disappeared.]BULLOCK: Oh thank God, it was just a dream! [She glances at the incomprehensible Russian labels on the panel, then confidently presses two buttons] This'll be a piece of cake. I'm going home.Match point: Gravity

  • Tony
    2019-02-16 23:33

    GRAVITY. (2012). Brian Clegg. ****. An informative, though often nebulous exposition on the least understood force in the universe. The book starts out with a history on the study of gravity from the times of the ancient Greeks and ends up with the state of the science at the present day. Along the way, I managed to learn a few things. For example, GPS satellites “rely on comparing the time signals from a number of satellites to establish location. But the clocks on those satellites generating the signals are subject to the influences of relativity. Firstly, the satellites are moving quickly – about 87,000 miles per hour. So special relativity effects mean the checks run slow, by about 7 millionths of a second per day. Secondly, the GPS satellites orbit at around 12,400 miles up. At this height they experience a lower gravitational pull than we do on the surface. That means the clocks on the satellites run faster than they would on the Earth, where the higher gravitation would slow them down. Because of this, the clocks run fast by about 45 millionths of a second per day. Overall time on the satellites gets ahead, gaining around 38 millionths of a second per day. This sounds trivial, but if not corrected, the GPS system would be out by around 6 miles in just one day.” And,...”Neutron stars are amazing...Ordinary atoms are mostly empty space. The nucleus in the middle of the atom has been likened to a fly in a cathedral, with the rest of the space empty but for an insubstantial cloud of electrons. But neutron stars throw away all that empty space – they are pure nucleus. In a single cubic centimeter...a neutron star contains around 100 million tons of matter. An entire star, heavier than our Sun, occupies a sphere that is roughly the size of Manhattan.” I could go on for pages, but I won’t. Chapter 9 in the book left me stunned. It explores the recent attempts to develop mathematical tools to best explore the intricacies of gravity. I thought I had had a lot of math in college. I apparently was still at grade school level when it came to understanding this stuff. Overall, this was a good review on the status of where we are today on our understanding of this unknown force. Recommended.

  • Derek
    2019-02-19 18:28

    A nice book for learning about the history of humanity's understanding of gravity, the various theories of it over the ages, how they developed and changed, and the implications of gravity. Peripheral to the topic, it was fascinating to learn some of the less obvious aspects of the scientific method as he discussed current efforts to investigate theories of quantum gravity and to find some unification of quantum theory and general relativity.Clegg'swriting is very casual—perhaps slightly too much so for my taste—and very accessible.I am a bit disappointed, however. In recently reading about the string theory, I wondered why there was talk of and search for the "graviton." As I understand it, gravity is a force unlike light, for example, in that it is not transmitted by particles or waves, but simply by the topology of Space-Time. Why, then, would we expect there to be a gravity particle? Is there perhaps a paradigm in which gravity has a dual nature, the way electromagnetism acts both as particle and wave? Unfortunately, while Clegg referred both the curvature of space-time and graviton, he did not discuss a comparable son or relationship between the two. Perhaps it is a silly question arising fromMy relative ignorance of physics.

  • Adena Peh
    2019-01-24 23:50

    Ever thought of what compels weight as well as the formation of planets? Look no further and be immersed in this profound book which unravels the power of gravity; the weakest of the 4 universal forces, yet capable and influential in shaping the universe. Clegg masterfully introduces and integrates mind-bending theories such as Quantum Tunnelling, Wave-Particle duality and Kepler's laws to enrich our understanding of this mystical force. Discover the birth and growth of gravitational theories over the course of the book as we see the infamous clash between philosophical and scientific concepts. The debate between proponents of Aristotle's geocentricism and Galilei's heliocentrism has never been so heated. Furthermore, take the opportunity to marvel at how intriguing experiments like the Torsion Pendulum exacted the value of the famous Gravitational Constant G.A book that is certainly free from scientific jargon although a tad bit wordy, Gravity is sure to ignite your interest in the gravitational realm.

  • Andre
    2019-02-18 18:41

    Good:* Many interesting scientific information: gravitational wave, how to build a time machine to the future, black hole etc.Bad:* A lot of information in this book is already covered by other books.* Some sections are too technical for the average reader.

  • Emily
    2019-02-03 20:41

    Review Originally published at Bookshelf Love:, Brian. Gravity: How the Weakest Force in the Universe Shaped Our Lives. New York: St. Martin's, 2012. Hardcover. +336 pages. $25.99. Release date: 22 May 2012.Full disclosure: I received a digital advance copy of this book from the publisher for review.Gravity is one of those books that is trying to do two things and doing neither very well. At once, it's attempting to be a history of gravity as we know it and to explain gravity as well as possible in layman's terms, but reading through it, I found it a huge disappointment on both sides.This is partly because of the organization. Clegg jumps around from historical ideas to explanation with little to no transition. I'm not sure that there would have been a better way to organize the book--after all, one must understand Newton before one gets to Einstein, but it's not well done.I think the largest problem is that Clegg is not a historian of science, and I'm inclined to think that he had a bad experience with one somewhere in his career--either that, or he is one of those unfortunate souls who got to college, realized that things did not work the way he'd been told in high school and has continued to resent it the rest of his life. Most of the beginning part of the book is correcting misconceptions from high school science and history, which I truly have no problem with. After all, Clegg does address the fact that the Greeks and the medieval world knew that the world was round, for example. He points out that Christianity and Islam in the Middle Ages did not repress science, but encouraged it, and he points out that the medieval world, while not yet at the point to recognize that the earth was not the center of the universe, did realize that the earth rotated.Yet at the same time, Clegg's also correcting things that really don't matter. No, according to the Gregorian calendar change, Galileo did not die the same year Newton was born. But does it really matter? And is the brief digression into Latin philology necessary? And Clegg makes assumptions about the feelings of scientists without any evidence for them, sending him into one-sentence flights of fancy that is incredibly distracting from the rest of the text. The same thing goes for a brief discussion about the inside-out nature of anti-space and his completely gratuitous mention of Galaxy Quest, without any real meat to the analogy.Clegg is best at underscoring some of the newer developments, such as Horava Gravity, which he claims may, if future experiments work out, may someday reconcile Newtonian physics and general relativity. These are relatively new developments, which I'd not heard of. Granted, while I am an English professor, the history of science is one of my specialties, and I'm by no means ignorant of much of what he's saying.One section which really bothered me was Clegg's digression regarding the rubber sheet analogy. Oftentimes, physicists use the rubber sheet analogy to explain how space-time is warped by gravity. Here's an illustration from Stanford (from an article about Gravity Probe B, which Clegg does discuss in the book) that might help explain. {Illustration cut from text}If you want a really useful explanation, I'd click through to the article. But the point is that everything with mass distorts space-time around it. This is an example of it simply in one dimension. But Clegg has problems with it, because in this illustration, if we pretend the probe in the picture is a marble rolling around to the center of the well, we forget that there is also a little distortion around the probe.Clegg's point is not that this is necessarily wrong, but that it's overly simple--we forget that it's distorting space-time, not just space. That's all well and good, but the digression wasn't necessary. Clegg could have made the point without the need to attack the model. And I suppose that's the real problem with this book. Clegg is constantly on the offense, either against bad history, bad illustrations, bad politicians who are cutting money from projects, and bad scientists who are letting them. His explanations aren't clear, and the book itself would be immensely improved by illustrations for visual learners. All in all, if you want a good explanation of gravity and the way quantum mechanics may work with relativity, go read Brian Greene's The Elegant Universe or watch the NOVA series. It may not be as up-to-date as Clegg's, but you'll learn more and you'll learn it more easily.Gravity- D+

  • David
    2019-02-07 00:29

    Essentially a history of the science of gravity throughout time. I enjoyed the early chapters more than the later chapters, both because it was interesting to see how the understanding of (and explanations for) gravity changed over time, and because the later chapters are very, very dense as the author attempts to explain quantum physics to a lay audience. The author really appeared to know his stuff, but it was difficult to keep up with him at the end.

  • Robert
    2019-02-09 00:33

    I enjoyed Brian Clegg’s 2012 book, Gravity: How the Weakest Force in the Universe Shaped Our Lives . Let’s review a number of factoids about gravity that I gleaned from his book:1. Gravity is the most obvious force in nature: “What goes up, must come down.”2. It is “an invisible force with no detectable mechanism for exerting an influence.” 3. There exists a stronger gravitational force between a newborn baby and the midwife than between that baby and another planet.4. Without gravity, the fusion process couldn’t have begun. Fusion is what powers all the stars and our Sun. The Sun converts about four million tons of matter into energy every second.5. On August 2, 1971, the true extent of Galileo’s assertion that two bodies, regardless of their weight, accelerate at the same rate when dropped, was demonstrated vividly. During his third moonwalk, Apollo 15 mission commander David R. Scott dropped a geological hammer and a feather together on the surface of the Moon. They both fell at the same rate. Air resistance on Earth prevented Galileo from doing this experiment, but not so for Scott, who had no atmosphere on the Moon to contend with.6. Newton couldn’t explain why gravity works, just that it acts according to the laws of gravity he developed. 7. The Moon doesn’t rotate around the Earth. Both rotate around their joint center of gravity, which just so happens to be a point about three-quarters of the way to the Earth’s surface from its center. 8. If the Earth lasted long enough, eventually the Moon would slow down the Earth’s spin such that it would complete one rotation each year. In other words, the Earth would always have one of its sides facing the Moon. The other parts of Earth wouldn’t be illuminated by the Moon. This formation between a planet and its moon is called tidal lock.9. When a satellite is in orbit, it is falling freely under the force of gravity. The only reason it doesn’t crash to the Earth is because it keeps missing. The satellite is also moving “forward” at a tangent to the Earth’s surface. If it only had this forward velocity, the satellite would fly off into space; this forward motion coupled with the force of gravity keeps it in a fixed orbit. 10. Because astronauts are falling freely in the ISS, they don’t feel their weight (neither does a satellite in orbit).11. Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity states that the force of gravity is just a tendency of bodies to move along the warps in space-time caused by the distortion of the fabric of reality by mass.12. Gravity defines the curvature of space-time and is ignorant about mass when it comes to the speed of a falling body, for example. Photons, with zero mass, experience the same warping as anything else. 13. Light is bent by gravity; it is red-shifted by the pull of gravity. 14. Clocks slow down under the influence of gravity. A clock experiencing a higher gravitational pull will run slower. 15. A black hole is an inescapable gravity pit. 16. Gravity waves should cause ripples in space-time that should move at the speed of light. They are only an oscillation in the warping of space, not of time.17. Gravitons are the carriers of gravity, just as photons carry electromagnetism.I'm sure you can add to this list, so read Brian's book and go for it!

  • John-Paul DeWalt
    2019-02-06 23:28

    “Astronomy is such a high-minded, theoretical field of inquiry. The objects of its study are not at all down-to-Earth. Observations can be made only via the electro-magnetic spectrum (light).” Brian Clegg proved my posting on Facebook true with this book. He started (and ended) with the question of what happens when you hold out a book and let go. It falls. Why?Beginning with the natural philosophy of the ancient Greek Aristotle, passing through Galileo and Newton, and beyond Einstein, the author related various explanations for gravity. The last couple chapters were so theoretical and abstruse, I gave up and skipped to the end.Aristotle theorized (and refused to experiment) that solid objects by nature fall toward the center of the universe (the Earth) while airy things by nature rise away from the center. This view held for a couple thousand years until Galileo broke with tradition and conducted experiments. He argued for acceptance of Copernicus’s Sun-centered heresy of planet movements.Astronomers like Tycho Brahe and Johannes Kepler made observations and showed how the planets really orbit the Sun. Isaac Newton didn’t explain how gravity works but he did figure out how to calculate its effects. For hundreds of years, gravity was thought to be a force of attraction.Then Einstein started thinking…deeply. He decided gravity is really a warping of space and time in the presence of mass. Then he figured out the highly complex math to explain his reasoning. (This is where things started to get beyond me.) His “simple” equation has three tensors –mathematical expressions of ten highly complex equations.Many of the strange implications of his theory of general relativity (gravity) have been supported by experiments. Other implications have given rise to the abstruse, high-minded theories that lost me: string theory, multi-verses, symmetry, and quantized space-time.For the most part, I did enjoy the Clegg’s work. I like this sort of explanation of scientific knowledge. And I learned more about general relativity. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading about scientific inquiry.

  • Arvind Balasundaram
    2019-02-06 20:34

    This is a book with a distinct identity crisis. It masquerades in some parts as a work on the history of gravity, then occasionally digresses into biographies of gravity scientists like Newton and Einstein, and then takes on the deep science of gravity and the connected physics (often in language much too dense to fully comprehend the arguments), while randomly reporting on "pseudoscientific" excursions and arbitrary discoveries that are quite peripheral to the main hypotheses being discussed. Clearly, this work is noble in intent, but could have benefited from a better conceptualization of a uniting vision and definitely a better editor.That said, the book dances around its purported main theme - trying to unify gravity with our understanding of the quantum, and in reviewing the many attempts to reconcile the singularity problem when the mathematics behind general relativity regresses into meaningless infinities. Clegg's main contribution is a fairly copious review of theories more recent than string theory, such as loop quantum gravity. In particular, his citing and discussion of very novel perspectives/researches into tenets that abandon general relativity assumptions is quite fascinating - for example, the work of Czech physicist Peter Horava and English physicist, Mark Hadley. Horava treats space and time as separate concepts, in essence dismantling general relativity and starting afresh to remove problems that specifically erect barriers for a unified theory. Overall, readers are better served sticking with the other physicist author named 'Brian' - Brian Greene, who is able to enunciate the complex ideas surrounding the four forces (electromagnetic, strong, weak, and gravity) more cogently, and tie the overall ideas far better than Brian Clegg is able to do in this undertaking, which like the force itself, remains rather weak in its rendering...

  • Metta
    2019-02-19 20:31

    Gravity has been touted as the start of the scientific enquiry. And this book shows exactly just that. From Greek philosophy to the rise of the scientific method, this book covers it all, even describing the theory's influence on hallmarks of modern physics, such as quantum and particle physics.The book starts with a history lesson on the progress of Man's attempts to understand the world around him. It started with the Greek's attempt at using logic to explain the phenomenon he sees. Aristotle, as a philosopher had came up with explaination behind the falling apple and that became widely accpeted. Until comtemporary physicists came along, saw that experiments are crucial for uncovering the truth, then hence started the birth of the scientific method.Along the way, great minds throughout the centry had came up with mathematical predictions behind the movements of the heavenly bodies. Newton came along to unify all those under a force named gravity. Then Einstein came along, did some revolutionary work that helped complete the full picture by considering near-light speed.Then there is quantum physics. Gravity doesn't seem to fit anywhere yet, nobody can be sure of the cause of such a force, or energy. There have been many attempts are trying to combine the theory of relativity with quantum theory to form a "unified theory of the universe".There hasn't yet been a model that can be tested. But improving technologies are slowly chipping away at the theorectical frontier of modern physics. We have eliminated some theories, confirmed some observations, eventually, this will give us a full picture of what is actually happening about us.

  • Starman
    2019-02-04 02:34

    First read only chapters 9-12 in October 2016. A good read, and insightful, although I didn't really learn anything new. But it still was worth reading and I may go back to read the first 8 chapters, which I skipped largely due to a time restraint (it was a book from the public library). Start date is just an estimate.Update: Finally finished the first 8 chapters on November 30, 2016. Not that it is that long, just that I read it in bits and pieces here and there. Good read with some insights, although there were a few items I would like to discuss with the author. For example, on page 5 he says that the core temperature of the Sun is about 10 million K or 18 million degrees F. However, every reference I know of says more like 15 million K or 27 million degrees F. Also there was a statement on page 169 that black hole formation is not preceded by a supernova. Clearly, this seems possible and there appears to be some evidence of at least one red supergiant collapsing directly into a blackhole without a super nova (, it is not considered the norm.

  • Taylor Burrows
    2019-01-29 22:46

    The first half of this book covers the historical breakdown of many perspectives on the subject of gravity going from it just does to more definable and measurable events that take place on Earth. It covers Greek ideas, Roger Bacon, Galileo, and Einstein. However, following the basic concepts and the procession of events (specifically everything that follows general and special relativity), the explanation of each idea explaining the connection to relativity and quantum mechanics seems fairly ambiguous. While much of these theories are in some sense left in obscurity themselves, the author doesn't do them justice by only just barely skimming quantum mechanics with little to no explanation as to how or why it even relates to the topic of gravity. That said, I still think very highly of the first half of this book as a popular science read. But what it gained in the first half, it lost in momentum post relativity. Give the reader a chance! We know its complicated. That doesn't mean don't talk about it! 3/5

  • Rajendra Dave
    2019-02-14 20:46

    The simple title of the book is deceptive. In its short span of less than 300 pages, the book covers a breath-taking range of topics from Newtonian Gravity and Galilean Relativity to General Theory of Relativity, standard model of particle physics, to anti-gravity and beyond. To the credit of its author, this vast range of topics are treated very adequately. He is accurate without being rigorous. This makes book easy to read, even if one is not able to grasp all the complex details. It is also peppered with interesting anecdotes and stories about science and its practitioners. The only shortcoming of the book in my opinion is its economy with figures and illustrations. I could count less than ten figures in this book dealing with the most intricate of scientific subjects!

    2019-02-02 01:49

    This book mixes physics explanation of Gravity with the theory that were made about this argument from the beginning of philosophy. It's very articulated and long, maybe too long, and maybe it's just the topic that's not so interesting, for me anyway.Questo libro mischia spiegazioni di tipo fisico della gravità, con tutte le teorie che nel corso dei secoli si sono evolute per spiegare il concetto. E' un libro lungo e molto articolato, ma forse per quanto mi riguarda forse era l'argomento che, alla fine, non mi interessava più di tanto....THANKS TO NETGALLEY AND ST.MARTIN'S PRESS FOR THE PREVIEW

  • D.L. Morrese
    2019-01-24 22:32

    Gravity is a fascinating subject. This book will not tell you everything you ever wanted to know about it because no one yet knows everything one would want to know about gravity, but it does tell you a good deal about the ideas surrounding it and the efforts to learn more. It elucidates, debunks, and attempts to explain and contrast some past and current ideas in a way that can provide the reader with a deeper understanding of the weakest, most obvious, and possibly still the most mysterious of the fundamental forces of nature. I found it a good read. I recommend it.

  • Martin Empson
    2019-02-01 20:45

    In the final chapter Clegg quotes the American physicist Richard Feynman saying "the most impressive fact is that gravity is simple". In a way that is true but I fear that Clegg makes too much of this. Gravity might be simple, but understanding it is an incredibly difficult task. This is why many of the scientists discussed in the book devoted their entire lives to trying to solve aspects of the science. Cleggs book is a good attempt at making some difficult science easier.Full review:

  • Jim
    2019-01-26 20:23

    This is a very well written history of our ideas concerning gravity, from the Greeks to the present. His explanations of current thoughts are the easiest to comprehend of any I have read. I'll be sure to read more of his books.

  • Craig
    2019-02-11 22:47

    Excellent primer on gravity. Written with a sense f humor and aimed at the layman. Well worth the time to help get a grip on how gravity actually works.

  • Ilana Weiss
    2019-01-28 01:22

    I have received this book from Goodreads! It is definitely very educational and interesting but sometimes it can be a bit boring but it can definitely help in the future for school.

  • Aaron Wong
    2019-02-11 00:44

    An enthralling read, but a nonetheless confusing one way over my head. The fact that the author is already trying to simplify things makes it even more depressing.

  • Josh
    2019-02-15 18:24

    Practically an historical novel, telling the story of the development of theories about gravity.