Form and Content

Irving Adler’s The Wonders of Physics: An Introduction to the Physical World describes the role played by this branch of science in everyday life. Although simple mathematics are found throughout the book, the purpose of this book goes beyond that of a textbook. Rather, the author attempts to stimulate the interest of the reader in their world. Adler introduces the text with a basic discussion of what physics involves. In addition to providing a basic definition of the subject, this introductory chapter begins by addressing questions to events occurring around people that they often take little time to observe. Topics are described using a basic question-and-answer format. For example, the reader is asked about the rising and setting of the sun. In this manner, Adler introduces his readers to such concepts as planetary motion.

The text is subdivided into chapters, each dealing with a specific application of the physical sciences. First is introduced the concept of measurement; the terms commonly used to carry out physical measurements are explained. In a sense, these first chapters merely introduce subjects in order to pique the interest of young readers. From this point on in the book, Adler emphasizes the applications of physics. Each chapter begins with an explanation of the subject; individual chapters deal with such topics as the forms of matter, relativity, and radiation. A brief history is provided for the subject matter; for example, in...

(The entire section is 506 words.)