Forces of Nature

Forces of Nature

A breathtaking and beautiful exploration of our planet, this groundbreaking book accompanies the new BBC One TV series, providing the deepest answers to the simplest questions.‘What is motion?’‘Why is every snowflake different?’‘Why is life symmetrical?’To answer these and many other questions, Professor Brian Cox uncovers so...

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Title:Forces of Nature
Author:Brian Cox
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Forces of Nature Reviews

  • Stuart Aken

    This surprising book exudes the author’s enduring sense of wonder and delight at the natural world. Such qualities, when demonstrated by a leading academic, who is also a well-loved and respected TV presenter, can motivate and inspire. I hope many non-scientists read this book.

    Not an ‘easy’ read, it demands attention and concentration. But it does explain, where possible in layman’s terms, the fundamental forces that control how things are made in this extraordinary universe we occupy. Ack

    This surprising book exudes the author’s enduring sense of wonder and delight at the natural world. Such qualities, when demonstrated by a leading academic, who is also a well-loved and respected TV presenter, can motivate and inspire. I hope many non-scientists read this book.

    Not an ‘easy’ read, it demands attention and concentration. But it does explain, where possible in layman’s terms, the fundamental forces that control how things are made in this extraordinary universe we occupy. Acknowledging the roles of early pioneers, and explaining the history of discovery, Professor Cox builds pictures of the way brilliant minds have come to understand the way things work in nature.

    If I have a negative comment, it’s only that some early equations in the book would benefit from a few more labels to identify the quantities and qualities described. As the book progresses, however, these very issues, that I imagined were an assumption about readers’ mathematical skills and knowledge, are made clearer: the later formulae are better labelled. For someone like me, with all the mathematical aptitude of an artichoke, some of the workings might just as well have been written in Klingon. But that’s my problem, not the book’s.

    It’s refreshing to find a scientist, a popular one at that, so willing to explain at length that science is not a fixed or exact thing. Its methods, however, are subject to peer scrutiny and its theorems require proofs to reach that status. Science is an area of endeavour where simple speculation coupled with a belief system is no substitute for factual information and a serious attempt to discover the realities. It’s refreshing to find this mind-set in a scientist of Professor Cox’s stature, since there are, unfortunately, scientists who treat their discipline in the same cavalier way that most religious authorities treat their beliefs: as if somehow the very fact that they believe their myths should render them beyond question.

    I read this book as background research for a science fiction novel I’m writing. I’m very pleased I did! It’s caused me to reconsider certain elements of the future I’m portraying and prevented me appearing more foolish than I might otherwise seem: I’ve discovered that certain ‘facts’ in some fields are not quite what some proponents have declared them to be.

    This is a book about the forces of nature. Four of them that form the basic ‘building blocks’ of how the universe, and everything in it, is structured. It’s a truly fascinating read, peppered with amusing comments and presented in a very readable manner. What could so easily have been a dry textbook, is actually an entertaining and informative piece of accessible writing. I wish I’d had teachers with Professor Cox’s ability to explain things in an engaging and inspiring fashion; my school education would have taken an entirely different and more useful route!

    Readers with little scientific background may find some of the explanations difficult to comprehend, and those, like me, with poor maths, may have problems understanding some of the proofs. But the Professor makes allowances for these holes in our education and finds ways to make clear what might otherwise be obscure. It’s an intriguing and inspiring read and, having thoroughly enjoyed it, I fully recommend the book.

  • Ming Wei

    Very strong indepth educational book, learnt many thing from this, Brian Cox yet again makes topics very interesting, the book is well written, well presented, the book cover is OK, this book really expands your knowledge, many people I believe would find this book interesting, if you like the TV series, this book is a great complement to the TV shows. The eudcational level is that the book would potentially be very useful to university students, study relevent topics. Reall enjoyed this book. N

    Very strong indepth educational book, learnt many thing from this, Brian Cox yet again makes topics very interesting, the book is well written, well presented, the book cover is OK, this book really expands your knowledge, many people I believe would find this book interesting, if you like the TV series, this book is a great complement to the TV shows. The eudcational level is that the book would potentially be very useful to university students, study relevent topics. Reall enjoyed this book. No editorial issues, no negatives at all from my point of view.

  • Andrew

    This is another sumptuous book in the series but if you have read any of Professor Brian Cox's previous books you would come to expect nothing less - and this book does not disappoint.

    However this book has quite a challenge ahead of it. You see his previous books have been on rather straight forward and easily defined subjects - the solar system, the universe and so on - how we have something a little more vague and as such something totally open to interpretation.

    And this is where

    This is another sumptuous book in the series but if you have read any of Professor Brian Cox's previous books you would come to expect nothing less - and this book does not disappoint.

    However this book has quite a challenge ahead of it. You see his previous books have been on rather straight forward and easily defined subjects - the solar system, the universe and so on - how we have something a little more vague and as such something totally open to interpretation.

    And this is where the challenge lies - what do you class as the force of nature - and this interpretation works both for and against this book. Do not get me wrong it is amazing with beautiful photography and amazing insights just that I would say that you do have a rather whirlwind tour.

    Now I maintain that these books though never definitive act as an appetiser drawing the reader in with the hope that it sparks some thirst for more knowledge and setting the reader off on a journey of discovery - if the reader just thinks "hmm that was interesting" and simply shuts the book and goes off else where then the book and I guess Professor Cox have failed. Somehow reading this book I dont think they have anything to worry about, just yet.

  • Rob

    As with most of the TV Shows and other stuff done by Brian, this book is a very good primer into the wonder of science and the natural world. The narrator of the Audiobook really does a good job conveying that tone of wonder and amazement that is so often heard from Brian on his TV miniseries. I think this is definitely a good book for anyone interested in the natural word.

  • Gabriella

    This was a really interesting and informative book. I liked the fact that it explored science through asking basic questions about the world, such as 'Why do snowflakes have six points?' or 'What makes things different colours?' etc. This made it feel like I was learning how the knowledge is applied to the world rather than that I was just learning random facts. I did struggle to understand some concepts and diagrams but you can tell that he's done his best to explain things clearly. He also thr

    This was a really interesting and informative book. I liked the fact that it explored science through asking basic questions about the world, such as 'Why do snowflakes have six points?' or 'What makes things different colours?' etc. This made it feel like I was learning how the knowledge is applied to the world rather than that I was just learning random facts. I did struggle to understand some concepts and diagrams but you can tell that he's done his best to explain things clearly. He also throws in the occasional anecdote or a bit of dry wit which made it entertaining too.

  • Zoe Hall

    This is such an interesting read! It forms book 5 of my Penguin Read the Year Challenge too. Well written, interesting and thoroughly fascinating. It felt like my science lessons from school all in one! Only, this is a little more complicated. I’d highly recommend it.

  • Arie Prasetyo

    Some of the discussions are too deep for a pop science book. But the "Ionian enchantments" I had from some of the information provided by the book make up for its shortcomings.

  • thelostlibrary

    I absolutely adore Brian Cox's lyrical, romantic view on science. He does make it much more approachable than in science class where you just dread every second. That being said I enjoyed the BBC documentary by the same name much more than the book. Seeing visual representations in such exotic surroundings just made me fall in love with science all over again. There are many mathematical equations in the book, which I was not particularly fond of. It was however a joy and very humbling to find o

    I absolutely adore Brian Cox's lyrical, romantic view on science. He does make it much more approachable than in science class where you just dread every second. That being said I enjoyed the BBC documentary by the same name much more than the book. Seeing visual representations in such exotic surroundings just made me fall in love with science all over again. There are many mathematical equations in the book, which I was not particularly fond of. It was however a joy and very humbling to find out how much we don't actually know.

    The mane theme of this book is to ask questions, which is the cornerstone of science and what makes it unequalled in its beauty, so be a child again and ask the simple questions. Do you know the answers?

  • Nilesh

    The short introductory book on science is too short to serve a purpose. To start with, the tone is as if the author is trying to convince its readers that there is science/reason, rather than anything mystical, at the base of the reality around. The wonderment angle often leads to the author spending a considerable amount of time (compared to the size of the book) making elementary arguments, discussing the history of scientists/discovery or raising questions that do not fit. From the mundane or

    The short introductory book on science is too short to serve a purpose. To start with, the tone is as if the author is trying to convince its readers that there is science/reason, rather than anything mystical, at the base of the reality around. The wonderment angle often leads to the author spending a considerable amount of time (compared to the size of the book) making elementary arguments, discussing the history of scientists/discovery or raising questions that do not fit. From the mundane or the most comprehensible, the author would suddenly make almost quantum jumps to extremely complex arguments with little explanations. And in another flash, the readers would find the book on a completely different topic as it covers multiple branches of biochemistry, evolutionary science, astronomy, electromagnetism, relativity and quantum physics apart from issues like the origin of life and even the Big Bang.

  • Lorrie

    I tried with this one, I really did. I don't have any science background, and math was never my strongest subject in school, but I know when someone is a good teacher. The biggest factor is being able to take really abstract or difficult concepts and boil them down into something someone who doesn't have a physics degree can understand them. Neil deGrasse-Tyson can do it wonderfully. Carl Sagan could do it too. Brian Cox? Nope. Not even a little. After a third chapter if scratching my head, rere

    I tried with this one, I really did. I don't have any science background, and math was never my strongest subject in school, but I know when someone is a good teacher. The biggest factor is being able to take really abstract or difficult concepts and boil them down into something someone who doesn't have a physics degree can understand them. Neil deGrasse-Tyson can do it wonderfully. Carl Sagan could do it too. Brian Cox? Nope. Not even a little. After a third chapter if scratching my head, rereading the section to see if I missed something, and then giving up and moving on to the next concept, I eventually made the decision to DNF this book. Nothing in this book was boiled down so the lay person (ie. me) could get more than the basic gist of the concept.

    As much as this stuff interests me, I don't want to have to go and get a physics degree just to understand what this author is trying to say.

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