Magnetism: A Very Short Introduction by Stephen Blundell
a broad account, with care taken to explain the theory
slim volume delivers everything that the VSI concept promises. The text is
relaxed and good-humoured, reviewing early historical views, perhaps `beliefs'
is more accurate, about magnetism. The author describes applications of
magnetism, including sound recording and data storage, and surveys future
possibilities. He outlines the role of magnetism in the solar system and the
universe at large, and pays particular attention to the solar wind and magnetic
fields of planets.
main body of the text explains research into magnetism as the scientific method
was applied, going on to reveal the quantum physical basis of magnetism. The
theoretical and historical diversions are appropriate and inserted helpfully.
The author, Professor Stephen Blundell, is to be commended for keeping these
explanations lucid and accessible. His disinclination to introduce formulae is a
bit tedious, no doubt in response to an editorial rider applied by Oxford Uni
Press. This very minor concern is compensated by a useful further reading list
which, in 2012, is current.
This VSI has inclined me to read the related
VSIs on relativity, superconductivity and quantum theory, topics on which I am
reasonably familiar but which I expect, from my experience with this book, will
also be well summarised in this series.