Quantum field theory is arguably the most far-reaching and beautiful physical theory ever constructed, with aspects more stringently tested and verified to greater precision than any other theory in physics. Unfortunately, the subject has gained a notorious reputation for difficulty, with forbidding looking mathematics and a peculiar diagrammatic language described in an array of unforgiving, weighty textbooks aimed firmly at aspiring professionals. However, quantum field theory is too important, too beautiful, and too engaging to be restricted to the professionals. This book on quantum field theory is designed to be different. It is written by experimental physicists and aims to provide the interested amateur with a bridge from undergraduate physics to quantum field theory. The imagined reader is a gifted amateur, possessing a curious and adaptable mind, looking to be told an entertaining and intellectually stimulating story, but who will not feel patronised if a few mathematical niceties are spelled out in detail. Using numerous worked examples, diagrams, and careful physically motivated explanations, this book will smooth the path towards understanding the radically different and revolutionary view of the physical world that quantum field theory provides, and which all physicists should have the opportunity to experience.
Magnetism is a strange force, mysteriously attracting one object to another apparently through empty space. It has been claimed as a great healer, with magnetic therapies being proposed over the centuries and still popular today. Why are its mysterious important to solve? In this Very Short Introduction, Stephen J. Blundell explains why. For centuries magnetism has been used for various exploits; through compasses it gave us navigation and through motors, generators, and turbines it has given us power. Blundell explores our understanding of electricity and magnetism, from the work of Galvani, Ampere, Faraday, and Tesla, and goes on to explore how Maxwell and Faraday's work led to the unification of electricity and magnetism, thought of as one of the most imaginative developments in theoretical physics. With a discussion of the relationship between magnetism and relativity, quantum magnetism, and its impact on computers and information storage, Blundell shows how magnetism has changed our fundamental understanding of the Universe. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Superconductivity is one of the most exciting areas of research in physics today. Outlining the history of its discovery, and the race to understand its many mysterious and counter-intuitive phenomena, this Very Short Introduction explains in accessible terms the theories that have been developed, and how they have influenced other areas of science, including the Higgs boson of particle physics and ideas about the early Universe. It is an engaging and informative account of a fascinating scientific detective story, and an intelligible insight into some deep and beautiful ideas of physics. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
An understanding of thermal physics is crucial to much of modern physics, chemistry and engineering. This book provides a modern introduction to the main principles that are foundational to thermal physics, thermodynamics and statistical mechanics. The key concepts are carefully presented in a clear way, and new ideas are illustrated with copious worked examples as well as a description of the historical background to their discovery. Applications are presented to subjects as diverse as stellar astrophysics, information and communication theory, condensed matter physics and climate change. Each chapter concludes with detailed exercises. The second edition of this popular textbook maintains the structure and lively style of the first edition but extends its coverage of thermodynamics and statistical mechanics to include several new topics, including osmosis, diffusion problems, Bayes theorem, radiative transfer, the Ising model and Monte Carlo methods. New examples and exercises have been added throughout.