Imagine embarking on a journey to comprehend the physics of the entire universe with a guide who’s not only an expert but makes the concepts digestible and entertaining. Robert J. Nemiroff offers such a journey in Faster Than Light, a book that initially describes the speed of light, then touches on subjects as esoteric as time travel using the theory of relativity and speculation on how to send information back in time, among other subjects.
In his prologue, Nemiroff explains his goals and encourages readers to attack the book in their own comfort zone, either by reading straight through or by jumping around (what he calls the “butterfly method”). While each section stands on its own, readers can easily look back for more information on concepts introduced along the way. For example, readers can enjoy the chapters on superluminal tricks and illusions without first understanding the definition of superluminal, then look back to the chapter defining the term.
Journeying with Nemiroff feels like sitting in a classroom with one’s favorite instructor who uses accessible anecdotes to illustrate challenging concepts and sometimes provides simplistic drawings to prove a point. His strongest teaching method is to pose a multiple-choice question with three plausible answers and a fourth that’s clearly in jest, allowing readers to appreciate his wit.
The author’s presentation is based on solid physics concepts. His bona fides include work in astrophysics at NASA as well as ongoing pursuits in astronomy and astrophysics. He also acknowledges associations with other modern physics intellectuals, such as Christina Thone and Qi Zhong. Nemiroff ‘s helpful glossary and solid index round out the book.
While Faster Than Light isn’t geared toward experts in quantum mechanics or string theory, it’s not so watered down as to be a “For Dummies” offering. In fact, it provides a valuable resource for anyone who grasps the basic concepts of higher mathematics and science and seeks a broader understanding of physics.
Also available as an ebook