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text 2017-04-27 09:31
Reading progress update: I've read 63 out of 452 pages.
An Introduction to Magnetohydrodynamics - P.A. DAVIDSON,E.J. Hinch,S.H. Davis,Mark J. Ablowitz

If I read "...a characteristic scale length, l," without any explanation of how to determine such a length in any specific case one more time, I am liable to scream. This isn't an isolated problem; undefined terms are popping up all over the place. The author also appears to have missed a subtle point about vorticity in fluid flows, namely it totals to zero even in a turbulent flow, unless there is external stirring.

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review 2017-04-25 05:53
Paul Dirac, Peter Goddard (editor)
Paul Dirac: The Man and His Work - Abraham Pais

Note the sub-title: this book consists of four lectures about Dirac, his work and developments from it in physics and mathematics, plus Hawking's laughably ignorant memorial address. (He repeatedly insulted his hosts for delaying for 11 years an event that was, in fact, only one year beyond the minimum requirement of ten years post Dirac's death.)

 

Only the first lecture is really biographical and even that takes time out to discuss Dirac's scientific contributions. From there the book gets progressively more technically challenging, ending with a lecture on the Dirac operator and spinors that in detail is going to be incomprehensible to anyone without an advanced working knowledge of topology. (The gist is that we have no clue what spinors mean, geometrically, in the way we know what vectors and tensors are, for example.)

 

In between, there's good stuff on antimatter from prediction to present day understanding and similarly Dirac's magnetic monopoles then to now.

 

Much of this book will go over the heads of the casual reader and if you want anything more than a cursory biography, you will also need to look elsewhere, but for physicists, it's a worthwhile publication.

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review 2017-04-22 10:51
Albert Einstein, Frieda Wishinsky
Albert Einstein - Frieda Wishinsky

If one respects the fact that this series is aimed at young people (young enough to need things like "geometry" and "Fascism" defined for them) then I think this is quite a good little book. It's short and inevitably superficial but I'm not sure how it could be anything else considering the intended audience. Nevertheless it gives an insight into Einstein's character and at least an indication of the significance of some of his work.

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text 2017-04-22 00:16
Reading progress update: I've read 71 out of 128 pages.
Albert Einstein - Frieda Wishinsky

Einstein knew Franz Kafka when they were contemporaries in Prague!

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text 2017-04-21 17:45
Reading progress update: I've read 40 out of 128 pages.
Albert Einstein - Frieda Wishinsky

I was a startled to discover that this book is aimed at young people - I should really research biographies a little more before purchasing! If that is borne in mind, then this seems quite good and even includes some stories not in Isaacson's mammoth book. The trouble is, they aren't referenced (kids' book, remember!) which means checking them requires ploughing through the works in the list of of sources...

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