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The Manga Guide to Relativity [Englisch] [Taschenbuch]

Hideo Nitta , Masafumi Yamamoto , Keita Takatsu

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18. April 2011 Manga Guide To...
Everything's gone screwy at Takai academy. When the crazy headmaster forces Minagi's entire class to study Einstein's theory of relativity over summer school, Minagi volunteers to go in their place. There's just one problem: he's never even heard of relativity before! Luckily, Minagi has the plucky Miss Uraga to teach him. Follow along with The Manga Guide to Relativity as Minagi learns about the non-intuitive laws that shape our universe. Before you know it, you'll master difficult concepts like inertial frames of reference, unified space-time, and the equivalence principle. You'll even see how relativity affects modern astronomy and discover why GP systems and other everday technologies depend on Einstein's extraordinary discovery. The Manga Guide to Relativity also teaches you how to: - unterstand and use E = MC2, the world's most famous equation - calculate the effects of time dilation using the pythagorean theorem - understand classic thought experiments like the twin paradox, and see why length contracts and mass increases at relativistic speeds - grasp the underpinnings of Einstein's special and general theories of relativity If the idea of bending space and time really warps your brain, The Manga Guide to Relativity will straighten things out. "Highly recommendes." - Choice Magazine "Stimulus for the next generation of scientists." - Scientific Computing "A great fit of form and subject. Recommended". - Otaku USA Magazine

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Hideo Nitta, PhD, is a professor in the Department of Physics at Tokyo Gakugei University. He has had many papers and books published by Japanese and overseas publishers on subjects including quantum dynamics and radiation physics. He also has a strong interest in physics education. He is a member of the International Commission on Physics Education (ICPE), which is a commission of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP).Masafumi Yamamoto earned his PhD in Applied Physics from the Graduate School of Engineering at Hokkaido University. His numerous publications include books on physics, electromagnetism, and lasers.Trend Pro, Inc. is a pioneer of Ad-Manga--advertisement and advertising using Manga--in Japan. The company has produced over 1,700 Ad-Manga for over 700 clients, including many well-known public companies and government agencies. The company has over 100 registered professional Manga artists.

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5.0 von 5 Sternen Manga Guide to Relativity Delivers! 25. April 2011
Von Michael Larsen - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
First off, let me set the expectation here. I'm a software tester by trade. I'm fan of science (as opposed to being a scientist). I'm also a huge fan of Japanese animation, which is commonly referred to in America as "Anime" in its video format, and "manga" in its illustrated paper format. In short, yes, I'm a grown man who enjoys comic books and I have absolutely no shame in saying that whatsoever ;).

Anime and manga is used to reach many audiences in Japan; it's not just geared towards kids. Stories range from the fanciful to the dark and gritty. In between, every conceivable topic and interest is covered and illustrated in a way that grabs attention, entertains, and helps inform the readers on an emotional level.

This combination of storytelling, emotion, quirky characters and an illustration style that's both cute and engaging helps lend it to the idea that "hard topics" can be discussed using manga, and that the topic will be much more engaging for the reader. "the Manga Guide to..." series is an example of this, and covers a broad variety of interesting, difficult and sometimes downright geeky topics. In some ways, "The Manga Guide to..." series can be seen as being on par with "Standard Deviants".

The most recent title, "The Manga Guide to Relativity" (written by Hideo Nitta, Masafumi Yamamoto and Keita Takatsu) uses the classic story techniques common to most fans of manga; student body president Ruka Minagi takes on a challenge from Rase Iyaga, the sadistic and capricious school headmaster (who also has a penchant towards androgyny, but hey, for anyone with more than a passing familiarity with Manga titles, this is par for the course) to write a report about relativity, thus sparing the rest of the class from having to do it over summer break. If he succeeds, the rest of the class will be spared the assignment. If he fails, he has to agree to be Iyaga's "personal assistant" for the next school year. All is not lost, though, as Physics teacher Alisa Uraga agrees to teach Minagi about relativity so that he can complete the challenge. With that, an adventure begins.

During this process, the reader almost forgets that they are actually looking at a topic that is fairly challenging to explain, the theories of Special and General Relativity. Instead the focus is on a fun and engaging story (and not a few quirky characters... did I mention the Vice Headmaster is a dog? OK, I'll mention it).

So can a "comic book" really teach us one of the trickier scientific topics? Let's find out...

What is Relativity?

The first chapter helps us get into the mindset of our protagonist Minagi and his sensei Uraga as they discuss the differences between special and general relativity. The history of relativity from Galileo and Newton on through Einstein and the idea that the speed of light is a constant and the fact that all reality is in constant motion is explored. The illustrations are both cute and informative, and help fill in the blanks for many of the concepts that might be difficult to visualize any other way. At the end of the chapter a full breakdown of the concepts and some background information is presented again to help drill home the ideas (this also allows those who want to have a nice outline and paragraph explanation of the principles a chance to get that along with Minagi's exploits).

What Do You Mean Time Slows Down?

A Japanese fable leads off this section, the story of Urashima Taro. the legend tells about a man who rescues a turtle and brings him to the undersea palace of the dragon god. When he returns home back to land, instead of a few days having passed, several hundred years have passed. This idea is called the Urashima Effect in Japan, and is called the Rip Van Winkle effect in western countries. In both cases, the concept covered is Time Dilation.Time dilation is the situation where as an object approaches the speed of light, time slows down for the object. the manga guide uses an imaginary device called a "light clock" to help define how this idea works. this is further emphasized with a visual idea of the Twin Paradox, where a twin goes on a space voyage for a year at light speed and returns to Earth, and sees that their twin has aged by several years in their absence.

The Faster an Object Moves, the Shorter and Heavier It Becomes?

Wow, Sensei Uraga looks pretty hot in a bikini... have I piqued your attention yet ;)? Hey, it's a manga, what can I tell you? OK, back to the topic... Sensei Uraga continues the discussion with the idea that, when an object gets towards the speed of light, it contracts (and demonstrates in a breakdown the equation necessary to prove this idea, i.e. the Lorentz Contraction).Space and time are said to contract based on this theory of specific relativity (remember, thus far that's what we've been looking at, general relativity comes later) and because of this, we need to look at Space and time as not separate entities, but interlocking entities.additionally, objects get progressively heavier as they approach the speed of light (except for light, which by its very nature is assumed to have a mass of zero for it to work the way it does). Incidentally, this is why it is believed that no object of any measurable mass will ever get to break through the light barrier (science fiction story writers and Start Trek fans notwithstanding. the relationship between mass and energy are also discussed here (the famous E = mc^2 equation and what it really refers to).

What Is General Relativity?

Special relativity takes the idea that gravity and motion for an object travels in a straight line. General relativity is more mathematically complicated, because the gravity of nearby objects (such as stars) has a direct effect on the object in motion, and that gravity has to be accounted for. In addition, light "bends" as it makes its way around an object with a large gravitational pull. Time also slows down as it passes such a large gravitational pull as well.The idea is called the Equivalence Principal and states that "the inertial force accompanying accelerated motion is indistinguishable from gravity, and therefore, they are the same." This is compared to the feeling of pressure you feel in an accelerating and decelerating train, or in an elevator as it goes up and down, or on an amusement park ride like the spinning swings. A demonstration is shown where a bowling ball is placed on a tightly pulled rubber sheet. When the bowling ball is placed on the sheet, the sheet indents to make room for the ball. Put another one on the same sheet at the opposite end of the sheet, and it will make its own indentation. Gie enough time, and the balls will slowly move towards each other. This shows that gravity is really the bending and warping of space (yeah , I had to read that one a few times :) ). General relativity also takes into account that matter, space and time all have interactive relationships, and while it's a "theory" there are devices we use everyday that depend on this theory and in its actions prove it works (GPS, anyone :)?). We can really take this to the mind bending level of looking at the universe (by the theory of General Relativity, observations indicate our universe is expanding).

Bottom Line:

That's a lot of detail packed into a manga. the cool thing is that it's entertaining, fun to read, and in many ways, the ideas and theories come naturally, and it's only when you put down the book and realize "wait a minute... did we just cover what I think we covered?!" That's the great success of this book, in that you learn new ideas and concepts without really having to think about it too much. You're having too much fun to realize how much you are learning. On that level, The Manga Guide to Relativity succeeds very well. So how does Minagi do on his report? Can sensei Uraga deliver the goods? And what is it about that dog, anyway?! For answers to those riddles (and many others within the Relativity metaverse), you'll just have to pick up a copy of The Manga Guide to Relativity and find out for yourself.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Silly story, but GREAT content presented clearly 19. Mai 2011
Von M. Helmke - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
The Manga Guide to Relativity follows the actions of a high school class president who steps in to save the rest of the students at the school who were being threatened by the school headmaster with a punishment for their lack of scholastic success. To save them, the brave student leader agrees to take a special summer course on relativity and write a report for the headmaster. The student doesn't know what relativity is, but a kind and attractive teacher volunteers to teach him all about it. The story line is okay, but not as good as some of the other stories in the series. However, it still succeeds in its main task of easing the reader into the topic.

The book covers all the main questions and topics you would expect such as the definition of relativity, the Urashima Effect (where times slows down as speed approaches the speed of light), mass and the contraction of length (again, as speed approaches the speed of light),and the difference between Special Relativity and General Relativity. Each chapter contains a manga section with an introduction to and discussion of the topic. This is followed in each chapter by a more detailed and technical section filled with equations and deeper explorations of the chapter's subject.

I've studies physics, and although I am rusty, I believe the book is accurate and it is quite clear. The story created to assist with that presentation is kind of silly, but does fulfill its mission of making a difficult topic a bit more approachable and the science communicated in both the manga and the technical sections is clear and well expressed.

My kids are too young to really understand all of the details of the topics covered in this series, but they continue to read the books with great interest. Most of the science is above the grade level even of my oldest (age 9), but their attention remains fixed on the art and the story and the kids are absorbing some of it as they read.

Overall, I would say the book is a success and recommend it without reservation for anyone wanting an accessible introduction to Einstein's Theory of Relativity and how it changed our understanding of physics.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Amazing book on relativity 14. Dezember 2011
Von Joseph Dewey - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
I really liked this book. It's an illustrated story about the student body president who volunteers to learn about relativity from the cute physics teacher, in order to save the rest of the class from punishment from the cruel principal.

Since I've read this book, I've read a few other books on relativity, and this is by far the best book. I highly recommend it to everyone, since relativity is an ill understood topic that everyone should really know about.

I thought the manga format of this story was wonderful, as it quickly takes us into space, and quickly back to Earth. This illustrates some otherwise difficult concepts that are hard to visualize without jumping out into space, and then coming quickly back to Earth to apply them. Even though it's manga, it has a lot of pages of technical details, so this book has some good content, and isn't just a quick read.

Pros:
+Great artwork
+Great story
+The best introduction to relativity that there is!

Cons:
-The technical details in the fine-print pages take a long time to read
-Spends almost all of the time on specific relativity, and skims over general relativity
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3.0 von 5 Sternen Wrong Topic For Manga Guide 29. August 2011
Von Dan McKinnon - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
I really enjoyed some of the other Manga guides as it relates to Physics, Math, etc but I feel that this book takes one of the most difficult concepts in science to understand and doesn't accomplish what it tries to do: serve it up for the masses to understand. I appreciate the effort, but I feel that for a topic like this, it simply doesn't work. The guide is cute and the author makes a nice attempt, but I can't recommend this Manga guide due to the complexity of the content.

***
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Great Manga for Physics Geeks & Students Alike 9. Oktober 2012
Von Thomas A Harning Jr - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
If you have a physics curiosity , this is a fun way to sate it. "The Manga Guide to Relativity" by Masafumi Yamamoto, Keita Takatsu, and Hideo Nitta is a beautiful blend of manga, humor and science.

I had this book for quite some time and decided to try to get through it... little did I know that I would finish it in only a few hours of reading! While I understood some of the concepts at a very high level, some of the paradoxes and details typically got me. This guide's illustrations make the complex issues easier to grasp, while the chapter reviews help explore the topics in a little more depth.

Even though the manga was constructed with the intent of explaining the complex concepts of Special and General Relativity, it did not deviate from the tried-and-true manga recipe: bizarre scenarios, extreme characters, and strange character appearances.

The ebook format was well-implemented and worked beautifully on my Touchpad. While some PDFs choke due to overly complex layouts, this manga was smooth to navigate and rendered beautifully. Anybody used to reading mangas using "Perfect Viewer" on Android should install the PDF plugin to read this, it works great in two-page mode.

This ebook is a great read and its quality entices me to check out the other books in the "Manga guide to ..." series. If you're a high-school student just getting into physics or a manga fan looking for some intellectual fun, this book is a perfect addition to your collection.

Disclaimer: The eBook format of this book was provided free through O'Reilly's Blogger Review program
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