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Penrose's Road to Reality

  1. Apr 20, 2012 #1
    A lot of people keep recommending this book, I have it but I'm a little skeptical about trying it out. I want to do the hard calculations and master them whereas it seems this book just tells you what's out there, it doesn't show you how to master the subject matter. However, it's really hard finding out what math is needed for the physics you want to master so I'm thinking maybe this book outlines the math for all the laws of nature in existence. I'm not interested in pure math, I'm just interested in the math needed for physics and I'm wondering if that is what this book is about.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 20, 2012 #2
    It's not a book to teach you physics really, rather explain all of what is known in the world of physics (to the best of the current working knowledge). Most of the math intensive parts you can skip if you aren't well versed in the math that is discussed within the book. When I read it, the math wasn't the main part of the book rather the explanation of how law x is supported by 'this' math, more of a proof in other words imo.

    Some people felt that it acted more like a history book of physics to which I can agree with as well.
  4. Apr 25, 2012 #3
    Definitely not a textbook. If you went through 1,000s of math/phys books, paraphrasingly extracted all the little side notes, motivations, informal comments on the significance/implication of some theorem or formula, historical notes, and other bodies of information that's more expositional then proof, then I think you would have to move your bed into the library and start paying rent, but also I think result of which would be a book like this. I would say that it's got a lot of historical discussion in it, as any science book really should include if even relegated to the end of the book in a "history" section, but as far as I've read into it, there's more of a focus on the history and evolution of the ideas themselves and not bibliographical information.

    I've read a few biographies on scientists, and I find those really boring. Honestly, I just forget the dates and who did what besides the really big stuff. But this book, at least so far, I'm now to the chapter on manifolds, doesn't bore me with that stuff.
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