"Everyone knows that E=mc2 is really important, but they usually don't know what it means. That's frustrating, because the equation is so short that you'd think it would be understandable. [...]
"There are plenty of books that try to explain it, but who can honestly say they understand them? To most readers they contain just a mass of odd diagrams ‚ those little trains or rocketships or flashlights that are utterly mystifying. Even first-hand instruction doesn't always help, as Chaim Weizmann commented when he took a long Atlantic crossing with Einstein in 1921: 'Einstein explained his theory to me every day,' Weizmann said, 'and on my arrival I was fully convinced that he understood it.'
"The overall surveys of relativity fail not because they're poorly written, but because they take on too much. Instead of writing yet another account of all of relativity [...] I could simply write about E=mc2. That's possible, for it's just one part of Einstein's wider work. To a large extent, it stands on its own."
Indeed it does. From the "Toronto Globe and Mail," November 4, 2000:
"...Bodanis's account is exhilarating. One thinks of Browning's description of youth: 'Oh the wild joys of living, the leaping from rock up to rock.' As a minor participant, I have experienced the slipperiness of those rocks. This book filled me, once again, with delight at what numbers, together with a free-ranging intellect, can achieve. E=mc2 is to be treasured because, in its small compass, it reveals so much of what makes science tick..."
How can we apply what makes science tick to what makes everything else tick? Bodanis combines a laser-like focus and a wide-view lens to make e=mc2 not only understandable, but even personal. What can we learn by focusing on the many small things that comprise every great thing? Where do you find your "wild joys of living"? Are there lessons here? There's certainly a great book and a fascinating mind.