New physics books don’t censor the math behind reality | Science News

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New physics books don’t censor the math behind reality

‘Special Relativity and Classical Theory’ and ‘The Physical World’ don’t shy away from equations

3:00pm, October 16, 2017

Many books about science are meant to be pleasure reading. Such books attempt to convey the wonder and fascination and excitement of science, and ideally some of the substance as well. After all, good popular science writing is not only engaging and entertaining, but also informative. But even very informative popular books are not designed to be fully educational about the science in technical detail. Popularization by its very nature requires omission of detail and simplification in description.

As a result, many readers of popular science never get a true picture of how intricate and deep the corpus of scientific knowledge can be. For physics in particular, the “big ideas” conveyed via clever analogies and metaphors rarely reveal the richness of the mathematical foundations underlying them. It is equally rare for writers who do include equations to dissect them and analyze how they are derived. After all, most authors early on were advised of the old publisher

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