Top critical review
I wish I could trust the author -
Reviewed in the United States on April 28, 2020
I had so much hope for the book and got greatly disappointed.
The book is written by a university professor who is used to admiration of the grey masses looking up to him. For him finding and presenting an obscure reference is more important than verifying that routine content of the book is not a part of the “internet lore”.
For example, after the first chapter which is designed to show how important it is to be careful with the conclusions; the author violates his own admonition when he transitions to Galileo and his experiments. Most of the chapter is devoted to interesting trivia; such as Galileo attempts to calculate the properties of lid that covers hell. I enjoyed it a lot. However, the chapter ends with a contempt pored on those stupid ball players who do not understand Newton’s first law of motion and think that a baseball or cricket ball can speed-up after it hits the ground. Unfortunately, the ball can accelerate; it has been measured; and it does not violate the Newton’s laws of motion. It turned out, that up to 40% of the energy of batted ball is in the rotation of the ball. Hence fast spinning ball can and will accelerate when it hits the ground.
The author is biophysicist. It is hard for me to judge his biological examples, but, as a professional physicist, I find his theory of relativity and quantum mechanics explanations suspect. Someone else should take a look at the biology.
The bottom line: the book is full of interesting trivia related to science figures and characters. That part is fun. Be very careful with actual interpretation of physical phenomena that the author proposes. Some of them belong to Junior High School.
Reference: Robert Kemp Adair, “The physics of baseball”