Seven Brief Lessons on Physics by Carlo Rovelli

Seven Brief Lessons on Physics by Carlo RovelliSeven Brief Lessons on Physics by Carlo Rovelli
Published by Riverhead Books on March 1, 2016
Genres: Physics, Quantum Theory, Science
Pages: 96
Source: I borrowed this book from my local library.
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Everything you need to know about the beauty of modern physics in less than 100 pages.
In seven brief lessons, Italian theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli guides readers with admirable clarity through the most transformative physics breakthroughs of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. This playful, entertaining and mind-bending introduction to modern physics, already a major bestseller in Italy, explains general relativity, quantum mechanics, elementary particles, gravity, black holes, the complex architecture of the universe, and the role of humans in the strange world Rovelli describes. This is a book about the joy of discovery. It takes readers to the frontiers of our knowledge: to the most minute reaches of the fabric of space, back to the origins of the cosmos, and into the workings of our minds. “Here, on the edge of what we know, in contact with the ocean of the unknown, shines the mystery and the beauty of the world,” Rovelli writes. “And it’s breathtaking.”


In Seven Brief Lessons on Physics, Carlo Rovelli delivers physics lessons in a most untraditional way, inspiring readers to think differently, to get excited about discovery, to open their minds, to see beauty in the strange. Get ready for a lot of quotes!

Rovelli has the attitude of an unschooler, so he won me over immediately:

“Albert [Einstein] was reading Kant and attending occasional lectures at the University of Pavia: for pleasure, without being registered there or having to think about exams. It is thus that serious scientists are made.”

“Undistracted by schooling, one studies best during vacations.”

History, science, math, and philosophy all intersect to give us a better understanding of each topic. Rovelli encourages us to embrace doubt. To have a thirst for knowledge and understanding. He stresses the importance of remaining humble when introducing theories, recognizing that we are only discovering pieces to a greater picture, and that our current theories may be upended in the future.

“Genius hesitates.”

“The world continues to change before our eyes as we gradually see it more extensively and more clearly.”

“It is hardly surprising that there are more things in heaven and earth, dear reader, than have been dreamed of in our philosophy–or in our physics.”

And the phrasing! Exquisite.

“This strange, multicolored, and astonishing world that we explore–where space is granular, time does not exist, and things are nowhere…”

“It’s as if God had not designed reality with a line that was heavily scored but just dotted it with a faint outline.”

If you love nonfiction and science as much as you love literary fiction, this is a must-read.

  • In general, space and physics makes me anxious with its “bigness”, but this was really, really gorgeous.

  • This sounds like a lovely book, and wow, that cover is totally gorgeous!

  • I cam across the library and was curious about it, so I’m glad to hear it was such a fantastic read! Definitely going to have to check this one out. The quotes you shared are so gorgeous.

  • Runwright

    Such a cool review of what seems like such a cool book. I’ve never heard of this one before but now I’ll look for it.
    I just found your site because I see we are both reviewing a TLC book this week. I am following you now and hope you’ll check me out too. I blog and have a BookTube channel. Would love to connect.