Seven Brief Lessons on Physics by Carlo Rovelli | Book Review

★★★☆☆
January 16th – 17th

I’ve had this book on my TBR since the beginning of 2018 when I finished Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson. This was supposed to come shortly after that, so I could continue to dip my toes back into the only subject in science that really interested me in school. I didn’t get around to it then, but two years later my extremely base-level interest in physics remains, and I figured I’d give this a try.

This is very flowery. It takes seven (though I’d argue it’s really six) concepts in physics, and provides a base-level overview of what they are and how they interact with each other. I think that Rovelli does a great job with his metaphors, but the overall tone is very high level and not very specific. As with the last of this type of book I’ve read, I’m left wanting more.

This was put together as a collection of several articles which were originally published by Rovelli in an Italian newspaper, but slightly expanded on to be bound together. I think that these would work better as articles, and they’re definitely written this way. Only the last “lesson” is different, and this is the one that I found myself the most bored with. That last lesson deals with the philosophy of physics and how science as a whole interplays with human beings. While fundamentally interesting, philosophy isn’t a huge interest of mine, and I found it a strange note to end on.

Most of Rovelli’s other work is much denser and focused solely on one aspect of physics, which I’d be reluctant to give a try. Still, this has done it’s job in that I’m craving more non-fiction, and may look to read books slightly more challenging than this in the future.

-Siobhan

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