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The Physics Devotional
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The Physics Devotional

Celebrating the Wisdom and Beauty of Physics

Clifford A. Pickover

Approaching physics with a sense of awe, reverence, and mystery

"The great equations of modern physics are a permanent part of scientific knowledge, which may outlast even the beautiful cathedrals of earlier ages." ~Steven Weinberg

From the ingenious author of The Math Book and The Physics Book comes an inspirational volume that celebrates the beauty and wisdom of physics. Every page of this yearlong devotional features a witty, insightful remark about physics alongside a stunning piece of art or photo relating to physics.

Let The Physics Devotional fill your mind with wonder and astonishment, ignite your imagination, and serve as a rich repository of transcendent beauty. For each day of the year, internationally renowned author Clifford A. Pickover provides an insightful quotation and a magnificent image related to the world of physics. Wisdom by notable physicists, educators, novelists, and diverse thinkers—including Isaac Newton, Carl Sagan, Douglas Adams, and even Vincent van Gogh—is featured along with marvelous photographs and illustrations of force fields, galaxies, machines, and more. You’ll also find micro-biographies of some of the most influential physicists in history, whose birthdays are highlighted throughout. Rounding out the book is a selected bibliography for those who want to learn more about this philosophical yet eminently practical field of knowledge that touches both subatomic and supergalactic realms.

Praise for Pickover

"Pickover contemplates realms beyond our known reality."
The New York Times

"Pickover inspires a new generation of da Vincis to build unknown flying machines and create new Mona Lisas."
Christian Science Monitor

Physics and Beauty

Explore the mysteries of physics through quotations, as the adventure unfolds over 1000s of years.

"The great equations of modern physics are a permanent part of scientific knowledge, which may outlast even the beautiful cathedrals of earlier ages."
Steven Weinberg, in Graham Farmelo’s It Must Be Beautiful, 2003

"We all use physics every day. When we look in a mirror, or put on a pair of glasses, we are using the physics of optics. When we set our alarm clocks, we track time; when we follow a map, we navigate geometric space. Our mobile phones connect us via invisible electromagnetic threads to satellites orbiting overhead. But physics is not all about technology…. Even the blood flowing through arteries follows laws of physics, the science of our physical world.”
Joanne Baker, 50 Physics Ideas You Really Need to Know

"Since 1960 the universe has taken on a wholly new face. It has become more exciting, more mysterious, more violent, and more extreme as our knowledge concerning it has suddenly expanded. And the most exciting, most mysterious, most violent, and most extreme phenomena of all has the simplest, plainest, calmest, and mildest name—nothing more than a black hole."
Isaac Asimov, The Collapsing Universe, 1977

"Perhaps an angel of the Lord surveyed an endless sea of chaos, then troubled it gently with his finger. In this tiny and temporary swirl of equations, our cosmos took shape."
Martin Gardner, “Order and Surprise,” 1950

"I believe that scientific knowledge has fractal properties, that no matter how much we learn, whatever is left, however small it may seem, is just as infinitely complex as the whole was to start with. That, I think, is the secret of the Universe."
Isaac Asimov, I Asimov, 1995

Some Reviews of previous book in the series, "The Math Devotional":

  1. Cumbrian Sky: "I have often wondered how mathematicians can find numbers so beautiful. I just haven’t been able to get my head around it. But when I read 'The Mathematics Devotional,' a new book by Clifford A. Pickover, author of the best-selling 'The Math Book', I had my eyes opened. I finally, finally, got it."
  2. Neatorama: "Every page of this yearlong devotional features an intriguing quotation about math, alongside a beautiful artwork relating to mathematics: fractals, optical illusions, architecture, and more. The quotes range from Pythagoras to Feynman to Churchill. At the end of the book is a brief biographical dictionary that provides additional curiosities."
  3. American Scientist Gift Guide: "You know someone who may especially enjoy The Mathematics Devotional, a full-color book that features quotations about mathematics (by luminaries such as Pythagoras, Feynman, and Heinlein—a quote for each day of the year), displays math-inspired art, and highlights major mathematical milestones. Your mathematician’s daily inspiration will be well cultivated by Pickover’s thoughtful selections"
  4. Boing Boing essay: The beauty and wisdom of mathematics

Sampling of Images from The Physics Devotional

(Image credits in the book)

First book in the Devotional series:
The Mathematics Devotional

"Bucky Fuller thought big, Arthur C. Clarke thinks big, but Cliff Pickover outdoes them both." -- WIRED

"A perpetual idea machine, Clifford Pickover is one of the most creative, original thinkers in the world today." -- Journal of Recreational Mathematics

Clifford A. Pickover is a prolific author, having published more than forty books, translated into over a dozen languages, on topics ranging from science and mathematics to religion, art, and history. He received his PhD from Yale University's Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, holds over 200 U.S. patents, and is an associate editor for several scientific journals. His research has received considerable attention from media outlets ranging from CNN and WIRED to The New York Times, and his website,, has received millions of visits.

Pickover has been elected a Fellow for the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry for his "significant contributions to the general public's understanding of science, reason, and critical inquiry through scholarship, writing, and work in the media." Other Fellows have included Carl Sagan and Isaac Asimov.

Follow Dr. Cliff Pickover on Twitter. Return to Pickover's main web page. Information on Pickover's other books.

Mini-Biographies in Book

Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, James Maxwell, Niels Bohr,
Werner Heisenberg, Galileo Galilei, Richard Feynman,
Paul Dirac, Erwin Schrodinger, Ernest Rutherford...
and so many more.

Other Born on this Day people:
Ampère, André-Marie (1775–1836), France;
Bardeen, John (1908–1991), U.S.;
Becquerel, Henri (1852–1908), France;
Bernoulli, Daniel (1700–1782), Switzerland;
Bohr, Niels (1885–1962), Denmark;
Boltzmann, Ludwig (1844–1906), Austria;
Boyle, Robert (1627–1691), Ireland;
de Broglie, Louis (1892–1987), France;
Cavendish, Henry (1731–1810), England;
Clausius, Rudolf (1822–1888), Germany;
de Coulomb, Charles-Augustin (1736–1806), France;
Copernicus, Nicolaus (1473–1543), Poland;
Dirac, Paul (1902–1984), England

For the Joy of Learning
Other Illustrated Books by Pickover

"My primary interest is finding new ways to continually expand creativity by melding art, science, mathematics and other seemingly disparate areas of human endeavor.
I seek not only to expand the mind, but to shatter it."

Return to Cliff Pickover's main web page.
Information on Cliff's other books is here.