About the book
Fizz, nothing is as it seems
Fizz is a novel telling the story of the history of physics—mankind unraveling the universe—from the perspective of a young woman who time travels to meet Galileo, Newton, Einstein and Hawking. Fizz revives the edu-novel genre made famous by Sophie's World which sold 30 million copies worldwide. Fizz was published in June 2011 on the 100th anniversary of Einstein's seminal discovery that gravity bends light which led to the general theory of relativity and black holes.
The future. In response to environmental degradation, the Eco-community sect eschews science and technology, returning to an austere agricultural life of nature-worship. But one young member, Fizz, has a burning curiosity that defies suppression. Risking life and social standing, Fizz embarks on a quest that brings her face-to-face with the often-eccentric giants of physics, from Aristotle and Galileo, to Einstein and Hawking. One encounter at a time, Fizz pieces together the intricate workings of our universe, and struggles with the resulting intellectual, moral, and personal challenges.
Returning as a changed person from the epic quest, Fizz faces the decision that will change her world forever.
Praise for fizz
Not since Sophie's World, has there been a book to do for the scientific world what the former did for philosophy—inform, intrigue, & entertain... Young girls who accompany Fizz on her journey will quickly discover how good it feels to satisfy their curiosity... Men and women of all ages will also be enthralled with these adventures in physics... Zvi Schreiber's writing is clear and the plot zooms along... The personalities of the real-life physicists are well-drawn... Challenges that they faced are presented boldly... A lot of fun
This is a great novel for anyone who loves physics and anyone who thinks they cant understand it. And maybe even a few who hate physics. It's also a great novel for anyone who loves historic novels
JLD on Amazon
Fizz: Discussion points for book clubs
⦁ How does Fizz’s character evolve during the book? What are the major influences on her character?
⦁ In what ways is Fizz’s development along her quest similar or dissimilar to the emotional development of a typical young adult?
⦁ What analogies does Schreiber use between the physical universe and the human experience?
⦁ How does the experience of learning scientific concepts through a fictional story compare with traditional didactic methods?
⦁ How does the inclusion of substantial scientific content affect the experience of reading the fictional story?
⦁ How well does Schreiber capture the historical settings? The historical personalities?
⦁ What is the role of the "Ecommunity" in the story? Fizz’s father? The Dean?
⦁ What genre should Fizz be classified as? How is it similar or dissimilar to Sophie's World?
⦁ How are the voices of the various physicists distinguished?
⦁ In Fizz’s time travel, no other character accompanies Fizz for more than a couple of chapters. Despite this limitation, is the story able to investigate relationships?
⦁ Why is exploring the physical universe a compelling need for some people and a boring irrelevance to others?
⦁ Does Fizz shed new light on humanity's march toward ever-more advanced technologies?
Read this after chapter The Gedankenexperiment. Einstein has proposed the outlandish hypothesis that two people moving off in different directions will always find themselves at the center of the same circle of light. Using the thought experiment of Fizz flying in a spaceship at half the speed of light, Fizz and Einstein have already discovered that her time must be running slower relative to him and her space contracted. Fizz is still skeptical...
He's not going to get the better of me so easily. If he thinks my world is contracted and I think his world is contracted we just need to arrange an encounter between the two worlds to prove there is a contradiction. "But... we're not done yet. Care for another round?"
"Fizz to Albert. Am back at 0.5c (half the speed of light). Confirm length of my ship. Over."
"Just under two meters, relative to me. Over."
"Very well. Prepare a garage just under two meters long for my arrival. Say one meter ninety. And Albert, place the garage adjacent to your own house. Over." I smile.
"Garage just under two meters long prepared. Over."
"Fizz to Albert, confirm garage is longer than ship. Oh and confirm you're wearing a safety helmet. Over."
"Very good." Of course, he thinks my ship is contracted to less than two meters long but I know that my ship is still two meters and if this space contraction is real then relative to me it is that garage which will be contracted by 12% to less than one meter ninety, shorter than my vehicle. So this will be fun. "Spaceship to Albert, standby for parking maneuver. Over."
"Standing by. Your ship is shorter than the garage but please apply your um, instant hyper-breaks as soon as the back of the ship is inside the garage to avoid damage to my home. Over."
I swoop down and align the ship perfectly with the garage that I can view through my forward-looking telescope. Albert is standing outside his garage smiling and waving enthusiastically, his frizzy hair shimmering in the wind as I approach at astronomical speed. I'll be wiping that smile off his face soon... Without a moment's hesitation I shoot directly at the garage at 0.5c.
Then, at the precise moment when the back of the ship reaches inside I apply the brakes. Nothing quite prepares you for such a shock. The hyper-break brings the ship to an instant stop and my body splats against the front wind-shield a few billionths of a second later at the speed of 0.5c. I'm barely alive but I am pleased to hear some bricks bouncing off the meteor-proof crystal sky-roof of the spaceship. At least I made my point - the ship is two meters long and did not fit in the garage. I may have damaged Albert's home but next time he will think twice before assaulting space and time.
When the brick shower ends I slide open the hatch, climb out, and whip off the goggles giving my red hair a swirl for good measure. "Well Albert, there you are, as you see my ship is two meters long and your garage is just one meter ninety. So I'm sorry about breaking through the wall to your living room, but, well, you asked for it. So then, what happened to my ship being shorter than the garage, heh?"
"Your ship was shorter than the garage, at least relative to me. But you cheated, I do believe I told you very clearly to apply the brakes instantly."
"I did too."
"At those speeds you need to stop both the front and the back of the vehicle at the same moment to avoid it stretching."
"OK, let's say I did, in fact, yes, I sent a light signal simultaneously to the front hyper-breaks and the back hyper-breaks. The circle of light expanded around me to reach the front and back in perfect unison guaranteeing that both brakes activated simultaneously."
"So that is what you did. That explains it. Perhaps you didn't hear but I was screaming on the communications 'Fizz you maniac you've applied the back brake but you haven't yet applied the front-brake - you're causing the ship to stretch! Apply the front-brake quickly before you smash through to my home.' "
"Oh, you were shouting that?"
"Yes, at least I wanted to shout that, but it all happened kind of quickly."
"Stuff happens fast in that ship. But I assure you I dispatched light signals to the front and back brakes so that they would activate at the same time."
"At the same time relative to you," Albert corrects. "Say I was standing above the middle of the garage. I saw your light circle going out towards the brakes but I was the center of that circle. Relative to me, the light circle was centered but your ship was moving! The back of the ship was moving towards the light. The front of the ship was moving away from the light. The back brakes were applied before the front brakes. Then because the back brakes were applied and the front brakes were not, the ship got stretched causing..." he glances sadly at the imaginary pile of rubble.
"What? You're saying both brakes were applied simultaneously relative to me but at different times relative to you? So now you want to abandon even the concept of simultaneity. Two events can be simultaneous relative to me, but one after the other relative to you?!"
"Ja, that is another consequence of the hypothesis - not only is time faster or slower depending on the observer but even the order of events is relative to the observer."