Lewin loves to teach. Starting in his parents’ school in Hollandand then at Delft University, and later at MITfor 43 years, his undergraduate physics classes emphasized the beauty of discovery over complicated math. To this end his lectures included live demonstrations such as flying on a pendulum, or shooting a bullet through two paint cans (one full of water and the other partially full)to demonstrate the incompressibility of water, or the creation of rainbows.
In this book, Lewin covers a range of topics including Optics, Acoustics, Electromagnetism, X-rays, Subatomic Particles, Neutron Stars, and Black Holes. He rarely resorts to the mathematics of a subject, but when he does it is to give you a scale of reference to awe you with the incredible size of the numbers, whether unimaginably small or incomprehensibly large.
In addition to his 20 years flying research balloons to study astronomical phenomena the majority of the atmosphere, Lewin also has a deep love of art. He claimed to have a dozen books on physics in his home, but over 200 art books! This book includes accounts of Lewin’s collaboration with a Dutch artist over the years in the creation of art. One of his lectures, Looking at 20th Century Art Through the Eyes of a Physicist, demonstrates his inclusion of art in his life and his classes.
Absolutely a worthwhile read, and I hope you explore some of Lewin’s MIT lectures on YouTube!
For the Love of Physics (Bill Gates Book Review)
Walter Lewin (Wikipedia biography)
Walter Lewin YouTube site (MIT lecture series)