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The New World of Mr Tompkins

The New World of Mr Tompkins
George Gamow's Classic Mr Tompkins in Paperback


  • Date Published: August 2001
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521639927

£ 20.99

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About the Authors
  • 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. In this 1999 book, he returns 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 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).

    • A paperback edition of the hugely successful and highly reviewed The New World of Mr Tompkins
    • The book is a revised and updated version of Mr Tompkins in Paperback, one of the classic popular science books of the twentieth century, which sold more than 100,000 copies and has been translated into 17 languages
    • Revised by Russell Stannard, a famous and successful popular science writer in his own right (particularly for the best-selling Uncle Albert series)
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '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

    '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 in atomic physics and cosmology but has kept the British flair.' Sky and Telescope

    'Russell Stannard is a brilliant communicator.' The Times Higher Education Supplement

    From reviews of Mr Tompkins in Paperback: 'Enthusiastically recommended to both scientific and general readers.' The Guardian

    'Not only entertaining; the ordinary reader can learn from it a great deal about sub-atomic particles - electrons, neutrons and the rest - and the strange rules which govern their behaviour.' The Observer

    'Will vastly fascinate the whimsical, and is also entirely scientific.' Scientific American

    'An inspired double reissue'. GNOMON

    'All in all, this has been a successful exercise … 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.' Jayant Narlikar, Physics World

    ' … a new edition of this classical book, revided and updated by Russell Stannard. Such an update was, indeed, long overdue … If you need a gift for a non-physicist, The New world of Mr Tompkins is the right thing for you to buy.' Volker Perlick, General Relativity and Gravitation

    'Popular science author Russell Stannard, has treaded - successfully in this reviewer}s opinion - on hallowed ground by updating a classic, written by an author who has made major contributions to cosmology and nuclear physics, and who was a tireless populizer of science … other than there not being enough sex, this is a wonderful introduction to the most important scientific ideas of our time.' MNASSA

    'Modern physics has never been explained in such an entertaining way.' School Science Review (Association for Science Education)

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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2001
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521639927
    • length: 272 pages
    • dimensions: 214 x 138 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.37kg
    • contains: 53 b/w illus. 2 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Revisor's foreword
    Gamow's preface
    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
    11.1/2. The remainder of the previous lecture through which Mr Tompkins dozed
    12. Inside the nucleus
    13. The woodcarver
    14. Holes in nothing
    15. Visiting the 'atom smasher'
    16. The professor's last lecture
    17. Epilogue.

  • Author

    George Gamow


    Russell Stannard
    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).


    Wu Bozhe

    Illustrated by

    Michael Edwards
    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.

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