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Home > Catalogue > The Lighter Side of Gravity
The Lighter Side of Gravity


  • 117 b/w illus. 2 tables
  • Page extent: 232 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.51 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 531/.14
  • Dewey version: 20
  • LC Classification: QB331 .N37 1996
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Gravity

Library of Congress Record

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 (ISBN-13: 9780521550093 | ISBN-10: 0521550092)

  • Also available in Paperback
  • Published October 1996

Manufactured on demand: supplied direct from the printer

 (Stock level updated: 17:01 GMT, 25 November 2015)


Gravity is the most enigmatic of all known basic forces in nature. Yet it controls everything from the motion of ocean tides to the expansion of the entire Universe. Many books use technical jargon and high-powered maths to explain what gravity is all about. In The Lighter Side of Gravity, the presentation is beautifully clear and completely non-technical. Familiar analogies, interesting anecdotes and numerous illustrations are used throughout to get across subtle effects and difficult points. The coverage is, however, comprehensive and makes no compromise with accuracy. This second edition has been brought completely up to date and expanded to include the discovery of gigantic gravitational lenses in space, the findings of the COBE satellite, the detection of MACHOS, the investigations of the very early Universe and other new ideas in cosmology. In short, this lucid and stimulating book presents 'the lighter side' of the intriguing phenomena of 'gravity' to the student and general reader.

• Suitable for the general reader and student • Completely non technical – avoids jargon and complex maths • Many line drawings • Uses familiar analogies and entertaining anecdotes • Secondd edition has been brought completely up to date and expanded to include new results e.g. discovery of MACHOS, investigations of the early Universe and other new ideas in cosmology (note: 1st edition pub. by W. H. Freeman & Co. in 1982)


Preface; 1. Why things move; 2. From the falling apple to Apollo II; 3. How strong is gravity?; 4. Fusion reactors in space; 5. Living in curved spacetime; 6. Ocean tides and gravity waves; 7. The strange world of black holes; 8. Cosmic energy machines; 9. The Big Bang; 10. The Universe: from simplicity to complexity; 11. Gravity and the creation of matter; 12. The many faces of gravity.


'an accessible account of gravity, black holes and the Universe … A refreshing alternative to the received wisdom.' New Scientist 'For readers who really want to get to grips with the concepts and don't mind a few simple equations (on the level of F=ma), Narlikar's exposition is masterly, a model of clarity and illumination. And it is enlivened wtih many interesting side-lights and touches of humour ... This book is not only full of insights, it is also fun.' Werner Israel, Physics World

'This pocket-sized text on a difficult subject makes good reading (a trip home on the train!) for the general reader.' Irish Astronomical Journal

' … a refreshing read … rewards await those who concentrate on its contents.' Quentin Stanley, Journal of the British Astronomical Association

' … clear and simple explanations of basic gravitational phenomena: it does not try to rush headlong into exotica, but takes time to coax the reader through orbits, motions and the fate of stars.' John D. Barrow, The Observatory

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