The Reality Frame by Brian Clegg

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The Reality Frame by Brian Clegg

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Category: Popular Science
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Andy Heath
Reviewed by Andy Heath
Summary: 'The Reality Frame' is a systematic guide through the scientific concepts that shape our universe. Starting from basic principles, and aimed at the general reader, Brian Clegg builds a theoretical universe showing the forces and dynamics that shape it.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 320 Date: April 2017
Publisher: Icon Books Ltd
ISBN: 978-1785782084

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For many people, the scientific concepts that build and shape our universe are impenetrable and abstract. The big bang and Einstein's theories on relativity seem so complex that an understanding of them, for the general reader, appears impossible. The acclaimed science writer Brian Clegg, in his new book 'The Reality Frame', tackles the problem head-on and what emerges is a triumph in the General Science genre. Starting from basic principles, he builds a theoretical universe that captures and illuminates the forces and dynamics that shape space, time and matter. The subject is arguably one of the most difficult for a general reader to grasp and understand but this book achieves the impossible with remarkable clarity.

As an author, Brian Clegg has the magical gift of reducing highly complex principles into simple and easy to understand concepts. Starting from solid foundations, he builds his universe one block at a time, in a clear and lucid manner. Using analogies and metaphors, he has an engaging and highly conversational style of writing that draws the reader into his narrative and arguments. The genius in 'The Reality Frame' is the way he uses and explains the reference frame. A fundamental requirement in any understanding of relativity and ultimately astrophysics it is used as the central core of his book. Every block he builds is based around this central theme and by the time, you turn the final page its use has almost become a part of your DNA.

General Science writing can have a tendency to become condescending and patronising to its audience. In other cases, through no fault of the author, it can pitch itself over the head of the reader or fail to satisfy the curiosity and interest that they have. Science is a complicated subject for the majority and while scientists themselves are celebrated and respected, they are often viewed as belonging to a small private club where membership is for the chosen few. The triumph of 'The Reality Frame' is that it throws the door open wide and invites you in. The wonder and marvel of the universe are maintained but the fun and curiosity at understanding its inner workings are also retained. There is much within the pages for all readers regardless of their understanding of science as learned within the classroom and for this reason, the book is to be treasured and celebrated. What Brian Clegg has achieved here is an astounding work that I cannot recommend to highly. An absolute masterpiece.

If you enjoy The Reality Frame, you may also enjoy Exploring Space: From Galileo to the Mars Rover and Beyond by Martin Jenkins and Stephen Biesty, From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time by Sean Carroll, Einstein's Telescope: The Hunt for Dark Matter and Dark Energy in the Universe by Evalyn Gates and Why Does E Equal mc Squared? by Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw. You could shelve The Reality Frame alongside What If Einstein Was Wrong?: Asking the Big Questions About Physics by Brian Clegg.

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Buy The Reality Frame by Brian Clegg at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Reality Frame by Brian Clegg at


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