256 pages, 53 b/w illus. 2 tables
Mr Tompkins is back! The mild-mannered bank clerk with the short attention span and vivid imagination has inspired, charmed and informed young and old alike since the publication of the hugely successful Mr Tompkins in Paperback (by George Gamow) in 1965. He is now back in a new set of adventures exploring the extreme edges of the universe – the smallest, the largest, the fastest, the farthest. Through his experiences and his dreams, you are there at Mr Tompkins' shoulder watching and taking part in the merry dance of cosmic mysteries: Einstein's relativity, bizarre effects near light-speed, the birth and death of the universe, black holes, quarks, space warps and antimatter, the fuzzy world of the quantum, and that ultimate cosmic mystery of all ...love. This new text is revised, updated and expanded by best-selling popular-science author Russell Stannard (who wrote the much-acclaimed Uncle Albert series of books for children).
"The best just got better. Two of the most influential popular science books ever were Mr Tompkins in Wonderland (1940) and Mr Tompkins Explores the Atom (1945) [...] They were brought together in one volume, slightly updated, and reprinted in 1965 as Mr Tompkins in Paperback [...] Russell Stannard, the very best writer of science books for young readers [has updated Mr Tompkins] with immense care and subtlety, rearranging the text, adding new material and changing a word or two where necessary [...] I had two fears – that my remembered delight in the original would be destroyed by looking at it through more mature eyes, and that Stannard might spoil the book. Both were unfounded. There is a certain period charm about the original, but Stannard has improved on both the physics and the narrative [...] It is absolutely the best place to get a feel for the most important scientific ideas of the twentieth century."
- John Gribbin, The Independent
"[...] as I kept reading, I began to realize that Stannard had actually done a remarkable job of preserving the mood and feeling of the original [...] The book still has a charming naiveté, and although the illustrations have been changed, they too still have that same, almost Victorian quality. So, to my surprise, I have to pronounce the translation a success. If newcomers who have not seen the original read the book, they will find a charming, whimsical introduction to modern physics [...] Are there other good books that cover the same material? Lots of them! Is there another book that does it so pleasantly, giving the reader a direct, sort of inside view of otherwise very remote phenomena, all within the context of a running short novel? I doubt it! The New World [...] is a unique book."
- Physics Today
"[...] here is a version that Stannard believes Gamow himself might have written, had he been at work today. Physics took a giant leap at the junction of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries [...] the book deals very well with the more recent developments and Mr Tompkins' visit to a particle accelerator is well described. Stannard has also updated the language, where appropriate. This has been a successful exercise that Gamow [...] would have liked. I can recommend the book both for general readers, and for specialists who may like to check how their subject is being presented to Mr Tompkins today."
- Physics World
"A new version of the Mr Tompkins' adventures, revised and updated by Russell Stannard, brings the experiences into modern day. A welcome addition to the original."
- Astronomy Now
"For more than five decades the fictional Mr Tompkins has helped familiarize people with many esoteric concepts of physics. Russell Stannard [...] has brought George Gamow's Mr Tompkins into atomic physics and cosmology but has kept the British flair."
- Sky and Telescope
"Russell Stannard is a brilliant communicator."
- The Times Higher Education Supplement
1. City speed limit
2. The professor's lecture on relativity which caused Mr Tompkins' dream
3. Mr Tompkins takes a holiday
4. Notes of the professor's lecture on curved space
5. Mr Tompkins visits a closed universe
6. Cosmic opera
7. Black holes, heat death and blow torch
8. Quantum snooker
9. The quantum safari
10. Maxwell's demon
11. The merry tribe of electrons
12. Inside the nucleus
13. The woodcarver
14. Holes in nothing
15. Visiting the 'atom smasher'
16. The professor's last lecture
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George Gamow (1904 to 1968) was not only one of the most influential physicists of the twentieth century (one of the founders of the Big Bang theory) but was also a master at science popularisation. Of his many popular books, the best known is Mr Tompkins in Paperback (1965).
Russell Stannard has established a reputation as one of the most gifted popularisers of science through numerous media appearances and projects, and in particular for his Uncle Albert Trilogy (The Time and Space of Uncle Albert, Black Holes and Uncle Albert and the Quantum Quest), which covers the work of Albert Einstein and quantum theory in a way that is accessible to children of 11+. These books have enjoyed much success and critical acclaim, being translated into 15 languages, shortlisted for the Rhone-Poulenc non-fiction Book Prizes, the Whitbread Children's Novel of the Year, and the American Science Writing Award.