Ouch: Tales of Gravity
A&U Children’s, 2022
32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99
Over 350 years ago, Isaac Newton saw an apple fall from a tree and he began to wonder why it fell straight down rather than floating upwards or sideways. Being a person of very great brain he surmised that there must be a force pulling the apple to the ground and from there he devised a number of theories and experiments that explained what gravity does, but it wasn’t until 1915 when another scientist Albert Einstein published his works that we began to understand how it does. Or, at least, those people who have clever brains understand it.
Therefore, this book is tailor-made for those like me who have never mastered the magic of physics even after years of enforced study at high school and who remain just as bewildered now as then. It is also tailor-made for our students who, like Newton and Einstein, do notice such things and want to know more. Because in simple text and hilarious illustrations, it explains to even those like me the whats and the hows of this force that keeps feet firmly on the ground and the planet circling the sun so we can all carry on carrying on. It is ideal for answering those inevitable questions that children ask their parents but it is also a great platform for the scientifically inclined who want and need to know more.
As well as the explanation that is simple enough for even me to understand why what goes up must come down, there are also some brief notes about Newton and Einstein and their contributions and an experiment to conduct – a version of that old conundrum about whether a feather or a hammer will hit the ground first when dropped from the same height.
So many of the concepts of physics are too abstract for ordinary people (and particularly children) to understand so this book is a most useful contribution to the scientific growth of our young (and not-so-young) people.