Back in the lawless wasteland of the early 2000s, while Outkast CDs were playing on America’s boomboxes, and Arrested Development was lighting up television sets every week, I was an unjustifiably ambitious college student enrolled at the University of Texas at Austin with the declared intention of earning a degree in the study of Physics. Four years later, I crossed the stage at the Palmer Events Center with the rest of the liberal artists who had come up hard against their mental limitations to receive a diploma that qualified me to practice Philosophy any time I wanted. During my inauspicious academic tenure, I could barely string two differential equations together, much less grasp the intricacies of string theory. However, after reading Seven Brief Lessons on Physics by Carlo Rovelli, I can say with some confidence that, for the first time in my life, I actually understand something about physics.
This elegant, little book addresses the most abstract concepts of modern physics in a beautiful language that demystifies as it entertains. From special relativity to the nature of the human mind, Rovelli unravels the complexities of the universe with grace and humor, illuminating esoteric ideas through accessible conversation. With the patience and understanding you wish your physics professor had, this volume demonstrates that any abstraction, no matter how seemingly convoluted, can be reduced to its constituent parts and presented in a way that even I can understand. Seven Brief Lessons on Physics is a lofty, literary text for non-academics, illustrating the history and application of seven essential enigmas, and it should be included prominently in the library of anyone with a basic curiosity about the workings of existence.