Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Tao Of Physics

I remember my physics teacher saying that all scientific thought and theories are limited by the five senses of man.  And it is quite evident that we are stranded in certain areas of science due to these limitations. In the best case we can only appreciate this limitation and try to know more within these boundaries of human capability.

Physicists have been trying to put forward complex theories and scientific findings to the lay man. Such tradition was prevalent in the royal society where faraday used to deliver the Friday lectures on science to the public. Legendary physicist Richard Feynman has also pioneered in taking complex science to the lay-man through his books like Q.E.D: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter. It is said that Einstein believed that theories that can’t be explained to kids are not fit to be accepted. Though science can’t be fully understood or savoured without mathematics, purely qualitative presentations of theories do force theoreticians to look beyond equations.  Such analysis not only captures the public attention, but also enhances the present understanding of science

The Tao of Physics by Fritjof Capra is one such unique book that not only explains physics in simple language but also has the power to challenge all the fundamentals that any ordinary reader would’ve known. His book only reiterates what the legends of modern physics have been saying. Neils Bohr, Werner Heisenberg and Albert Einstein have pointed out that the philosophical framework of the new physics is strikingly similar to that of eastern mystics. Apart from explaining this central idea, he also exhibits great maturity in understanding the depths of the Hinduism and Buddhism. My views of religion and Hinduism were greatly enhanced through his chapters on various eastern philosophies. His recognition for relatively unknown and nearly rejected bootstrap theory of particles also deserves special credit.

In spite of all the positive reviews and accolades, there have been considerable amount of criticism branding the book as “un-scientific” and “misleading”.
The publisher supposedly told Mr.Capra that the book might sell 10,000 copies in the best case. However it turned to out to be a bestseller and has sold millions of copies. Mr.Capra was treading on a new path when he wrote this book at that time and was wandering into the unknown risking his reputation and future. His success has inspired many similar books that dwell on the parallels between science and philosophy. For anybody with basic knowledge of physics and a desire to have a glimpse at the beauty and unity of ancient thought The Tao of physics is a must read.


  1. Tao of physics is certainly a must read. But in my opinion, one must form their own opinion of modern science. There, to me, seems only one way of doing it - learning.

  2. Definitely. But that is dependent on the aptitude/attitude of the individual. Reading can only help you to be aware of various opinions that already existing. You might stumble on something while reading somebody's opinion.