The number one physics book on Amazon of Italy

  1. marcus

    marcus 24,319
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    http://www.amazon.it/realtà-appare-struttura-elementare-delle/dp/8860306418

    It came out in January 2014.

    I looked today on Amazon.it (Italian Amazon) and the book was not only #1 in the category Physics, but was actually #141 in the ALL BOOKS category. For a physics book that is remarkable.

    I sampled the reviews, all were 5 star or 4 star, with the great majority being 5 star.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Greg Bernhardt

    Staff: Admin

    So did you get a copy? :)
     
  4. StevieTNZ

    StevieTNZ 955
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    What kind of book is it?
     
  5. marcus

    marcus 24,319
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    I read Italian (spent some time in Italy, and it's not so different from the Spanish and French I took in high school and college) and like the language. I've been reading it off and on, skipping around.
    Last week I loaned it to a friend who also can read Italian and he tells me he has ordered himself a copy.

    It's not a technical book. Almost no equations. It give INTUITIVE guidance about how to think of general relativity spacetime, and quantum matter. And at the end, how to think about the two (quantum geometry and quantum matter) interacting together, that still being work in progress. It approaches the insights often through anecdotes from the lives of people who had them. Personalizes. I like it.

    I have no idea when it will be published in English translation, I expect it will eventually but might be a while.

     
  6. marcus

    marcus 24,319
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    One way to answer "what kind of book is it" would be to translate a sampling of the CUSTOMER REVIEWS from Italian Amazon:
    http://www.amazon.it/realtà-appare-struttura-elementare-delle/dp/8860306418
    Here are some, in case anyone is interested. I've put the English (google translator plus some tweaking) and then the Italian original, one by one.

    Reality Is Not How It Appears
    ALBERTO GREPPI
    Among the many physics books I've read, this is absolutely one of the best ever.
    It tells the history of physics since its early beginnings, from Anaximander and Democritus to the present day, with an exceptional clarity.
    It transmits to the reader the fascination of scientific research, as well as the enormous difficulties to achieve important results.
    It inspires one to deeper scientific, philosophical and literary reading.
    It's the book that I will give to the people I most respect. A.G.

    10 di 10 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
    5.0 su 5 stelle La realtà non è come ci appare 1 marzo 2014
    Di ALBERTO GREPPI
    Formato:Copertina flessibile|Acquisto verificato
    tra i molti libri di fisica letti, questo è uno dei più belli in assoluto.
    racconta la storia della fisica e sin dalle sue prime origini, da Anassimandro e Democrito fino ai giorni nostri, con una chiarezza espositiva eccezionale.
    Trasmette al lettore il fascino della ricerca scientifica , come pure le enormi difficoltà per raggiungere risultati importanti.
    stimola alla lettura per maggior approfondimento scientifico, filosofico e letterario.
    E' il libro che regalerò alle persone che più stimo. A.G.

    Philosophy and history of physics
    Massimo Guizzardi
    Wonderful ride in the history of thought and of human genius and research of the profound nature of life.
    Recommended reading for all thinkers who are 15 and older.

    8 di 8 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
    5.0 su 5 stelle Filosofia e storia della Fisica 23 febbraio 2014
    Di guizzardi massimo
    Formato:Copertina flessibile|Acquisto verificato
    Meravigliosa galoppata nella storia del pensiero e del genio umano e della ricerca della natura profonda della vita.
    Lettura consigliata a tutti i pensatori dai 15 anni in su.

    A history of scientific thought
    RENATO
    Rovelli has managed to combine a subject considered among the most difficult with the language of a gripping novel.
    Through his story you will get to understand topics that probably you never had the courage to face, frightened by difficulties.
    The words and explanations fully replace scientific formulas.
    Sole regret: that the book is so short.

    6 di 6 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
    5.0 su 5 stelle storia del pensiero scientifico 4 marzo 2014
    Di RENATO
    Formato:Copertina flessibile|Acquisto verificato
    Rovelli è riuscito a coniugare una materia ritenuta tra le più ostiche con un linguaggio da romanzo avvincente.
    Attraverso il suo racconto si arriva a comprendere argomenti che probabilmente non abbiamo mai avuto il coraggio di affrontare , spaventati dalle difficoltà.
    Le parole e le spiegazioni sostituiscono esaurientemente le formule scientifiche.
    Unico rimpianto, che il libro sia così breve.

    A look at the way physicists explain what we call reality (surprising!)
    Vincenzo Montevecchi
    The book Rovelli, a physicist of international renown, is focused on the latest research in the field of quantum gravity. The subject is certainly not easy to explain, unless one has exceptional talent for communicating with a wide audience. So here Rovelli, starting from the first ideas of the Greek philosophers on the structure of matter and the world in general, takes us gradually, in a light understandable manner, to the latest theories (many already being tested) about the composition of matter, space, time and gravity, making us understand that their essence is not normally how we think. It may not be a book for everyone, but for many, yes. It's a chance to gain new perspective and reflect on our own state of existence.

    5 di 5 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
    5.0 su 5 stelle Uno sguardo su come i fisici spiegano quello che noi chiamiamo realtà (e che sorprese!) 31 marzo 2014
    Di Vincenzo Montevecchi
    Formato:Copertina flessibile|Acquisto verificato
    Il libro di Rovelli, fisico di fama internazionale, è incentrato sulle ultime ricerche nell'ambito della gravitazione quantistica. Argomento certo non facile da spiegare, a meno che non si abbia una capacità divulgativa notevole. Ecco quindi che Rovelli, partendo dalle prime idee dei filosofi greci sulla struttura della materia e più in generale del mondo, ci accompagna gradualmente, in modo leggero e comprensibile, fino alle ultime teorie (molte delle quali già verificate) sulla composizione della materia, dello spazio, del tempo e della gravità, facendoci capire come la loro essenza non sia come normalmente la pensiamo. Non credo sia un libro per tutti, ma per molti sì. Un'occasione per avere un punto di vista nuovo e riflettere sul nostro stesso stato di esistenza.

    On the concept of information
    Giancarlo Meloni
    I have not read the book in its entirety.
    I looked here and there
    and I found something
    of great interest.
    At the beginning of Chapter 12
    on information,
    precisely at p. 208,
    is presented a remarkably simple
    definition of the quantity of information,
    which is usually defined
    in a very confused way.
    I, who am a mathematician
    of a certain age,
    was never able to understand
    this well the concept of
    information = surprise = entropy of a proposition.
    Then I did a quick survey
    among physicists, computer scientists and mathematicians
    I know
    and I found that no one
    had the ideas so clear.
    I conclude that Rovelli
    is a genius in the field
    of popular science
    simply because he thoroughly understands
    what he is explaining
    and does not just repeat things
    like a parrot,
    as too many people do.

    9 di 10 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
    5.0 su 5 stelle Sul concetto di informazione 31 marzo 2014
    Di Giancarlo Meloni
    Formato:Copertina flessibile|Acquisto verificato
    Non ho letto il libro nella sua interezza.
    Ho guardato qua e là
    ed ho trovato una cosa
    di grande interesse.
    All'inizio del capitolo 12
    sull'informazione,
    precisamente a pag. 208,
    è presentata una semplicissima
    definizione di quantità di informazione,
    che usualmente è definita
    in modo molto confuso.
    Io, che sono un matematico
    di una certa età,
    non ero mai riuscito a capire
    cosí bene il concetto di
    informazione = sorpresa = entropia di una proposizione.
    Poi ho fatto una rapida inchiesta
    tra i fisici, gli informatici e i matematici
    che conosco
    e ho scoperto che nessuno
    aveva le idee cosí chiare.
    Ne deduco che Rovelli
    è un genio, nel campo
    della divulgazione scientifica,
    semplicemente perché ha capito a fondo
    quello che spiega
    e non si limita a ripetere le cose
    come un pappagallo,
    come troppe persone fanno.

    =============================

    Italian students have started buying their physics textbooks, and the textbook sales have displaced this one from #1 spot. But it is still the number one NON-textbook, and I see it has also won a book prize that is given every year in Rome for excellence in science writing.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2014
  7. StevieTNZ

    StevieTNZ 955
    Gold Member

    I do hope it gets translated in English! I wouldn't mind reading it.
     
  8. julian

    julian 405
    Gold Member

    I didn't notice the "t" in your opening statement.
     
  9. marcus

    marcus 24,319
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    Heh heh! No it was the book, not me. :biggrin:
    It is still doing quite well, Just now around 8PM pacific time I checked and:
    So it was #148 in all the books Amazon Italia sells, and #3 physics bestseller.
     
  10. marcus

    marcus 24,319
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    One reason I think it's doing really well is that when I look at the list of physics bestsellers
    http://www.amazon.it/gp/bestsellers/books/508871031/
    the first 40 or 50 of them are always TEXTBOOKS, except for this one.

    Like just now, today, "Realtà" was #3 and the first NON textbook besides that was number 45 or 46.

    Even on days when the textbook sales are heavy and "Realtà" is, say, #15 in physics it is STILL a mile ahead of all the other popular physics books, e.g. like books by Carl Sagan, or Richard Feynman, or Haku, or Kawking or whatnot.

    I think demand for Highschool and College physics texts in seasonal, like it is in Usa, so I think of the other non-textbooks as the real comparison, and this one is doing really really well by that standard. Looks blockbuster to me.
     
  11. julian

    julian 405
    Gold Member

    While we are talking about other language expositions...A while back I came across a
    French Masters/PhD exposition on (possibly 0ld-hat) LQG. Personally I have to admit that I didn't exactly get top marks in my GCSE French exams, however I was able to follow a lot of this French exposition on the basic structure behind LQG!!! (I'll have to try to find it again for peeps to have a look at) It was very well written and I was able to realise this despite my poor french skills.

    Personally, I am very interested in "learning" new languages via reading about subjects I already have a sound understanding in. Thanks - who knows - I might learn a bit of Italian by trying to go through this book.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2014
  12. marcus

    marcus 24,319
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    Wait Julian! I'll bet you the French edition of Realtà comes out well before the English. You would have several good reasons for sampling that one rather than having a go at the Italian original.

    That is what happened with Rovelli's Anaximander book. The French version came out at least 2 years before the American, and it actually won a French Book Prize! I forget which one.

    If you like maintaining your reading skill in French by reading physics you already know some of in a foreign language that would be a natural.

    BTW I made another comparison just now around 9:30PM pacific time and Realtà was #107 in all books category.
    At the same time the next bestseller non-textbook physics book was Feynman "QED" and it was #2096. That's a factor of 20 lead over all the other popular physics books!

    Maybe I can find out if and when there's going to be a French edition. (With this level of success in the Italian market it seems a good bet there will be one, and likely without much delay.)
     
  13. julian

    julian 405
    Gold Member

    French would be best for me as I know maths type French language.

    You mentioned something about Feynman and QED - I have to say that I have personally written up my own notes on the derivation of the Feynman rules for QED myself - written up myself (in English of course - my French aint that good)!!!
     
  14. marcus

    marcus 24,319
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    No luck. I could find no clue as to when a French or English version might appear. I'm reluctant to write an email to Rovelli or anyone else about such a seemingly trivial matter. Just have to wait and see.

    But meanwhile I looked just now and saw that Realtà is again #1 best seller in Physics! and in the all books category it is #72.

    For comparison, the next most popular non-textbook physics book continues to be "QED" and it is #50 in Physics and #2102 in All Books.
     
  15. StevieTNZ

    StevieTNZ 955
    Gold Member

    I have just emailed him from my university email, and will let you know of the response I get.
     
  16. StevieTNZ

    StevieTNZ 955
    Gold Member

    Received a response:
     
  17. marcus

    marcus 24,319
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    Stevie, thanks for reporting Rovelli's answer.
    I just checked and the book ranked 17 x 485. Number 17 in Physics and number 485 in All Books.

    The closest non-textbook runners-up were Brian Greene's "L'Universo Elegante, Superstringhe, , Dimensioni Nascoste e la Ricerca della Teoria Ultima" which ranked 67 x 2118
    and the Italian translation of James Kakalios' "The Physics of Superheros" ranking 68 x 2150

    So Rovelli's "Realtà" was getting swamped by physics texts (those eager Italian highschool students getting ready for their fall classes by reading ahead.) but it still beats the nontext competition by a wide margin.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2014
  18. marcus

    marcus 24,319
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    Realtà is still the number one non-textbook in physics at Amazon Italia.
    osizione nella classifica Bestseller di Amazon: n. 348 in Libri
    n.12 in Libri > Scienze, tecnologia e medicina > Fisica

    http://www.amazon.it/gp/bestsellers/books/508871031/

    When I looked just now the closest non-textbook rival was n. 37 in physics and ranked over 1035 in the all books category. So basically trailing by about a factor of 3.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2014
  19. marcus

    marcus 24,319
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    Rovelli's popular physics book "Realtà…" continues to do pretty well. I just looked in at Amazon-Italy and
    "Posizione nella classifica Bestseller di Amazon: n. 155 in Libri (Visualizza i Top 100 nella categoria Libri)
    n.5 in Libri > Scienze, tecnologia e medicina > Fisica"

    The book ranked #155 among all the books Amazon.it sells, and #5 in the Physics category.

    Here's the amazon.it link if anyone wants to read the reviews (in Italian)
    http://www.amazon.it/realtà-appare-struttura-elementare-delle/dp/8860306418
    Here's the listing of physics bestsellers:
    http://www.amazon.it/gp/bestsellers/books/508871031/

    the rest of the top 20 or so are textbooks, so "Reality…" is fairly consistently showing up as the top non-textbook physics bestseller.
    This has been the case for over a month now, ever since I started looking (around 13 July).
     
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