I only picked up The Wizard of Quarks yesterday at my favorite used books store, and so I have only read a little of it. Yet in researching this book and others by Robert Gilmore, Once Upon a Universe, Scrooge's Cryptic Carol, and Alice in Quantumland, I knew I had to post about these marvelous living science books.
Each book explains complicated physics through a modern retelling of a classic fairy tale. The Wizard of Quarks is an introduction to atomic physics told through Frank L. Baum's classic. Grimm's Fairy Tales are used to explain the universe in Once Upon a Universe: Not So Grimm Tales of Cosmology. Three ghosts visit a descendant of Dicken's famous character in Scrooge's Cryptic Carol: Visions of Energy, Time, and Quantum Nature. And then there's Alice in Quantumland, with the obvious nod to the Lewis Carroll classic.
Make no mistake, these are college-level books dealing with college-level concepts. I noticed that several comments on Amazon mention these books being enjoyed by elementary students, they are that fun, even if they didn't get all the concepts. It seems only scientists pan the books, and not for the content but rather for the fairy tales.
These books are rather pricey as new hardcovers but used copies are readily available at good prices. (I've already ordered the other three myself.) I will post a full review on Shelfari as soon as I finish these delightful finds!
So far Dorothy has encounter the very large witch of mass, who explains how her strength is far, far less than her sister, electromagnetism. She has two other sisters, too--strong (color) interaction and weak interaction.
Dorothy has also met the Observant Scarecrow in an electron probability field...