Free Physics Textbook: Motion Mountain

Courtesy of Kevin Kelly’s Cool Tools blog. Someday, I’d love to get time to go back and learn the physics and math that I once knew.

Motion Mountain
Inspiring physics textbook

This is not your father’s physics textbook. It is the self-published 1,500-page (!!), still-unfinished physics textbook written and designed by your polymath genius uncle who dwells on a mountain with the spirits of departed philosophers (whom he quotes, in German). It’s what a physics textbook would be like if a poet wrote it and made no mistakes. The book is massively visual. There is minimal math. It’s a textbook with soul.

The guiding metaphor of Motion Mountain, and thus its name, is to frame physics as varieties of motion and change. When it gets to quantum mechanics it considers this in almost Taoist terms, as the “smallest change.”

This textbook is a work of art. Unlike standard texts, it is an enthusiastically personal masterpiece, yet still has exercise problems for students to practice. It sprawls across topics you won’t find in any other physics textbook: semantics, lying, color theory, the physics of pleasure. In many ways it reminds me of Godel, Escher, Bach in its witty brilliance, stupendous range, and self-designed idiosyncrasies. Motion Mountain is an amazing portrait of the physical world as flux. It has the power to equip you with the intellectual tools to work with, and love, this flux. Studying it is an adventure in understanding.

Best of all, it is a free PDF book. A PDF means that it is hyperlinked to footnotes and intensely cross-referenced. And it is easily searchable. Every student — anywhere — can download a copy.

— KK

Motion Mountain: An Adventure in Physics
By Christoph Schiller
2007, 1498 pages
Available at Motion Mountain

Cool Tool: Motion Mountain.

The To-and-Fro over 2.0: It's Rematch Time!

Well, Andy’s been sizing up his opponent for tomorrow’s rematch. I’ll do my best to keep it a clean match. That’s 11am Eastern Standard Time.

Tom Davenport and I debated Enterprise 2.0 last June as part of the 2007 Enterprise 2.0 conference. And we re going to do it again this Friday at 11 am in a Webinar sponsored by the enterprise search company FAST (FAST maintains a great collection of E2.0 blogs, and I ll be speaking at the company s conference in Orlando in February). The debate will be moderated by Jim McGee, who s been thinking about the topics under discussion for a long time.

In debates and his other writing on the subject Tom s been making three broad points: that Enterprise 2.0 is really not anything new, that it s not going to be successfully taken up by most companies, and that even when it is in place it s not going to make much of a difference in things that pragmatic business leaders care about. To which I reply well, tune in and see for yourself.

The webinar is free to attend, but advance registration is required.

I ve been obsessively watching the video of our previous encounter, and have noticed that Tom drops his left when he s getting ready to throw a hook, and that he doesn t move as well to his left. Come watch as I exploit these weaknesses.

The To-and-Fro over 2.0: It’s Rematch Time!
Thu, 10 Jan 2008 19:30:00 GMT

Andrew McAfee and Tom Davenport webinar on viability of Enterprise 2.0

This should be a fun and illuminating interchange this Friday, the 11th. Both Andy and Tom have been paying attention to the realities of how enterprises do and don’t make effective use of new technologies for a long time.

I’ve agreed to moderate their discussion, which will likely consist of throwing in a new question or two if things slow down. I’m also looking forward to continuing the discussion in Orlando at the FASTforward ’08 Conference. Follow the link below to get a special blogger’s discount if you plan to attend yourself.

We re excited to announce we ll be hosting a free webinar discussion next Friday (January 11th) from 11:00-12:00 AM EST between two academics with much to say about Enterprise 2.0: Andrew McAfee of Harvard Business School and Tom Davenport of Babson College.

Join us at 11 AM EST for a point/counterpoint debate about the viability and speed of adoption of Enterprise 2.0 tools within the enterprise. If you re familiar with their writing and thinking, which has been much discussed here on this blog and elsewhere, you know this should make for a spirited and fun joust between two great minds with strong opinions on the matter.

Among the topics that ll be touched upon:

  • Are the barriers to adoption human, cultural and political in nature too large to overcome?
  • Is there enough ongoing momentum to ensure broad-based adoption in certain industries?
  • What processes are most likely to benefit from Enterprise 2.0 tools?
  • How will success be measured?

Join the discussion by registering for the webinar here. We ll be taking questions from the audience at the end of their discussion or feel free to leave questions in the comments of this post.

FASTforward 08

Andrew and Tom (as well as all of the contributors to this blog) will also be joining us at FASTforward 08 in Orlando. The theme of this year s conference, which runs from February 18-20: The User Revolution. Among the other notable speakers: John Hagel, Don Tapscott, David Weinberger, Clare Hart, and Safa Rashtchy.

Find out more at the conference s website and if you register be sure to do so through that link for a special discount for readers of this blog.

Andrew McAfee and Tom Davenport webinar on viability of Enterprise 2.0
Hylton Jolliffe
Fri, 04 Jan 2008 16:18:31 GMT