Archives For Physics


Here are a few nonfiction new book releases from this week that are worth checking out:

*** Beginnning this week we will post two lists of new book releases for each week, one fiction and one non-fiction.

[ Fiction New Releases for this Week! ]

(Where possible, we have also tried to include a review/interview related to the book…)

  [easyazon_image align=”center” height=”500″ identifier=”1101871849″ locale=”US” src=”” tag=”douloschristo-20″ width=”329″]

[easyazon_link identifier=”1101871849″ locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Our Towns: A 100,000-Mile Journey into the Heart of America[/easyazon_link]

James Fallows /
Deborah Fallows

***An introduction to the book from THE ATLANTIC


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“Distinctively Particular Ways of Thinking
About the Spaces We Inhabit

A Review of
The First Six Books of The Elements of Euclid

By Oliver Byrne.

Reviewed by Chris Smith.

The First Six Books of The Elements of Euclid
By Oliver Byrne.

Two Volume Set in Clamshell Case: Taschen, 2010.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

Oliver Byrne - EUCLID'S ELEMENTSA dozen years ago this Fall, I was just starting my graduate studies in philosophy of science, working toward a PhD.  I was particularly interested in the ways that humankind has historically understood and talked about the spaces that we inhabit.  But as I got further and further into my research, I grew increasingly frustrated with the depth of layer upon layer of abstraction inherent in contemporary systems of geometry and physics.  Eventually, I got to the point at which I could no longer continue to be so heavily invested in these abstract worlds and I had to take a break from my graduate studies for my own sanity.

One hundred and fifty years before my graduate school experience, a little known Irish mathematician and surveyor by the name of Oliver Byrne had a similar experience.  Byrne’s frustrations – aimed particularly at the way geometry was taught – led him to craft one of the most elegant geometry books ever printed.  And now thanks to Taschen Books, Byrne’s book The First Six Books of The Elements of Euclid, is back in print. As its title implies, Byrne’s work is an adaptation of Euclid’s Elements, but its novelty lies in its use of color to identify specific figures.  Consider, for instance, the following proof which Byrne offers in the book’s along with its parallel in the traditional rendering of Euclid to demonstrate the contrast between the two methods:

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Thanks to Thomas Nelson, we are giving away a copy of St. Patrick by Jonathan Rogers (our review) and Isaac Newton by Mitch Stokes (our review).  Both of these books are a part of the new series “Christian Encounters” from Thomas Nelson.

One lucky winner will win a copy of both books!  How to enter to win:

  1. Announce the contest on Twitter, Facebook or your blog: I just entered to win  bios of St Patrick & Isaac Newton from The Englewood Review (@ERBks ). You can enter too:
  2. Post a comment to this announcement with your name and a link to your post for #1.
  3. You may enter one time per day for the duration of the contest.
  4. We will pick a winner at random from the eligible contestants and notify them this weekend.

The contest will end at 4PM ET on this Friday April 2nd.


A Brief Review of

Isaac Newton
(Christian Encounters Series)
Paperback: Thomas Nelson, 2010.
Buy now:  [ ]

Reviewed by Chris Smith.

Isaac Newton was undoubtedly a genius and essential to the development of Modern, Western thought – especially our understanding and experience of time and space.  His life and his thought, while historically of the utmost significance, was full of complexities.  Mitch Stokes begins to capture some of these complexities in his new biography of Newton, one of five volumes in the first installment of Thomas Nelson’s “Christian Encounters” series.  The picture of Newton that Stokes paints recognizes his profound genius and his preference to work in isolation, and yet seeks to humanize him. Stokes, for instance, begins the book with the story of a schoolyard fight that would inspire Newton to get serious about his schoolwork and eventually propel him to the top of his class.  Stokes’ biography goes beyond the basic narrative of Newton as a pre-eminent natural philosopher, touching on his inquires into alchemy, magic and theology. Stokes says:

Newton’s study of theology and alchemy comes as a shock to people.  But Newton was a great synthesizer; he didn’t merely want to master a few separate disciplines.  A command of mathematics and natural philosophy was only part of his goal.  Newton endeavored to a great, comprehensive system of the world – from the solar system to the fundamental nature of matter to God’s work in redemptive history (81-82).

Stokes has offered us here a fine introduction to Newton; however, it leaves one a bit perplexed about the question of why it was included in the “Christian Encounters” series.  There is some brief engagements here with Newton’s faith, the most interesting of which related to the nature of science as a naturalistic discourse (an idea that Newton rejected), but one would have liked to seen a deeper level of theological reflection on Newton’s work and its significance for the Church.  I recommend this biography for math and science folks who want to understand Newton’s life in its historical context or for students simply seeking to learn more about Newton.  However, for those desiring a distinctively Christian examination of Newton’s life and work, this biography leaves much to be desired.