100th year of the classic! yakov isidorovich ‘y perelman’: physics can be fun!

November 18, 2013

(or) USSR (RIP), MIR Publications, and oh yeah – Yakov Isidorovich ‘Y Perelman’: Physics can be Fun! (aka ‘Physics for Entertainment’)

This book published in 1913,  – ‘Physics can be Fun’ – is truly a classic and is still a classic. I recommend it heartily to anyone (and everyone) who is fortunate enough to have a passing knowledge of English – well, that’s how I recommended it to myself in the first place!

In my humble opinion, no home is complete without this book on its bookshelves. Really.

I am of the opinion that, if one really goes through the book, it would be next to impossible NOT to appreciate the wonderful world around us.  Oh the pure  joy! ‘Physics can be fun’ is eminently readable, sprinkled with great insights & cutesy diagrams and is a fantastic work of translation (from the Russian original – or so a little Ruski bird tells me!).

However, I  note that these are the stellar times of the gag reflexes – sometimes even from otherwise well accomplished people! You enthusiastically start talking about some delightful aspect of math or literature or film or science or music or whatever, or even cooking for that matter – and you can literally (and immediately) see the eyes of your acquaintances glazing over, eyeballs bulging  in disbelief, as they sincerely feel that ‘I can’t do / understand it’ all the time.

They tell themselves forever that they are not good at this, not good at that, they are not made to understand these things, I am like this only etc etc and so very happily settle for Aamir Khan films mediocrity! How sad… What a waste of human potential!

But, I would say that, without fail, most of the children that I have been fortunate enough to interact with, are always enthusiastic  about learning; there have been a few exceptions – these are the cases of  some children,  hapless ones at that, who suffer from:

  • the parents  who excruciatingly dote over them endlessly  (they belong to the obnoxious school of ‘helicopter parenting’) or
  • the parents who ignore their own children altogether (this set of parents belong to the school of footfallers-in-glitzy-malls and/or inveterate socialites and/or ‘keychain partycipants’).

Children are the hope of our world. Well, most of them children, at least!


perelmanphbookA lovely english edition (among a zillion other great books!) of this Y Perelman text was originally published by the Foreign Languages Publishing House and then later, by that fantastic Mir publishers of Moscow  – but subsequent to the timely  demise of USSR as an idea, I suppose only a few publishers such as Dover (of USA) have been bringing out very costly, heavily marked-up editions of some of the great USSR books. But ‘Physics can be fun’ was sadly not reprinted at all, not even by any major university press – or that’s what I thought, until some 3 years back.

So, being a great fan of the two-volume original book (and such others) I took it upon myself to copy and distribute the bootlegs, to any promising youngster that I came across, whose mindscape was ripe and curious enough to allow for Perelmanish digressions – in the past couple of decades.

And so, it was with much delight and satisfaction that I could locate the book once again in Chennai, during one of my trips ‘to enjoy the holidays for one day’ – thanks to New Century Book House. (NCBH – the publishing outfit of the Momma Communist Party of India – CPI!); cool!

Thanks SO VERY MUCH, Comrades! :-)

Book particulars: ISBN 978 81 234 1521 4 | February 2009 | 432 pages

The address / contact info of the publisher:

41-B, Sidco Industrial Estate,
Chennai – 600 098.
Phone No : 0091- 044 – 26258410, 26251968, 26359906
E-mail : ncbhbook@yahoo.co.in

The book has been produced nicely – and is priced at a meagre Rs. 250/- (some US $ 5 only!) – however it is nowhere near the great production value (and incredibly subsidized one at that!) of the Mir Publishers.

But, I don’t mean to complain that the NCBH production is useless. It is nice too and is in a larger (therefore more readable) format than the original one. I must commend NCBH for their great service.

Amazon had a ‘not available’  link here, for years and yearshttp://www.amazon.com/Physics-Can-Be-Fun-Perelman/dp/0828534594 – but, now shows a whopping  $99.95 hard cover original Ruski edition!

I very earnestly request the readers of the blog (and anyone who is even remotely interested in life and is curious about how things happen to be the way they are) to please favourably consider buying this book – may be through DialForBooks.in – paradise is just a phone call (and a little lighter purse!) away, yeah!

Of course, I had bought two freshmint copies, of which one was for the school library.

ps: scribd has a scanned copy of it; but, please buy the book so that the other great books of USSR (which have gone out of print) can see the light of the day too…


The draft of this post – which is actually a JournalEntry, has been lying (truthfully so!) dormant from the beginning of the year, and finally I could post it only today – thanks to the mention of this Perelman guy  by MysticMundane in an email.

We should feel indeed fortunate that we are living in a post Perelmanish world! Yeah!

‘கல்வி,’ இளைஞர்கள், கவலைகள், நம்பிக்கைகள்…

8 Responses to “100th year of the classic! yakov isidorovich ‘y perelman’: physics can be fun!”

  1. Packirisamy N Says:

    விளையாட்டுக் கணிதம், விளையாட்டுப் பௌதிகம் என்று இந்தப் புத்தகங்களை தமிழில் படித்திருக்கிறேன். அருமையான புத்தகங்கள்.

  2. Sir

    Thanks for the info.
    Please change the link to DialForBooks.in in the post- It points to Amazon at present.


    —->>>> Have corrected the error; thanks! (__r)

  3. Prabu T Says:

    I read the book in tamil. 2 volumes. Pozhuthupokku Bowtheegam, availed from a tamilnadu public branch library 20 years back :)

  4. Rajkumar V Says:

    bought the tamil version of both volumes when i was in 8th standard (30 years back). (Poluthupokku Bowtheegam). even now its my favorite…

  5. Ramanan Jagannathan Says:


    Basic concept of Quantum Mechanics by Tarasov is another one of my favorites.
    This site provides access to the old MIR publication books – Providing it for the reference of your readers – http://mirtitles.org/2011/09/04/tarasov-and-tarasova/



  6. ramasami Says:

    Thanks for the link. Actually, I am familiar with the young scientist behind this gem of a site: mirtitles.org. May their tribe increase!

  7. Ramanan Jagannathan Says:


    If you can suggest a series of books (through a separate post) that you think are good for initiating kids into science and maths, i believe it will be of great help.



  8. Jeyakumar Says:

    When I was 7 I started to study these Tamil version books. Very loveable books.I did more models based on it in my school days. . But now I lost it.please friends can anyone help to get those books. Please.

மேற்கண்ட பதிவு (அல்லது பின்னூட்டங்கள்) குறித்து (விருப்பமிருந்தால்) உரையாடலாமே...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s