Today physicists and mathematicians throughout the world are feverishly working on one of the most ambitious theories ever proposed: superstring theory. String theory, as it is often called, is the key to the Unified Field Theory that eluded Einstein for more than thirty years. Finally, the century-old antagonism between the large and the small-General Relativity and Quantum Theory-is resolved. String theory proclaims that all of the wondrous happenings in the universe, from the frantic dancing of subatomic quarks to the majestic swirling of heavenly galaxies, are reflections of one grand physical principle and manifestations of one single entity: microscopically tiny vibrating loops of energy, a billionth of a billionth the size of an atom. In this brilliantly articulated and refreshingly clear book, Greene relates the scientific story and the human struggle behind twentieth-century physics' search for a theory of everything.
Through the masterful use of metaphor and analogy, The Elegant Universe makes some of the most sophisticated concepts ever contemplated viscerally accessible and thoroughly entertaining, bringing us closer than ever to understanding how the universe works.
In concise, high-def videos, various skills and techniques are demonstrated and explained. These cover topics for the novice, such as mounting and cleaning of optics, as well as for the more advanced learner, such as balanced detection, and lock-in amplifiers.
Various interactive widgets let you simulate the experience of aligning a laser beam to an optical system, aligning an interferometer to get fringes, or adjust a Fabry-Perot cavity while observing the mode spectrum. Other tools help you quickly find the Gaussian beam parameters of your laser from measured beam radii, and to calculate the position of a lens or pair of lenses to mode match a laser to a cavity.
Professor Brian Cox and Professor Jeff Forshaw go on a journey to the frontier of 21st century science to consider the real meaning behind the iconic sequence of symbols that make up Einstein’s most famous equation, E=mc2. Breaking down the symbols themselves, they pose a series of questions: What is energy? What is mass? What has the speed of light got to do with energy and mass? In answering these questions, they take us to the site of one of the largest scientific experiments ever conducted. Lying beneath the city of Geneva, straddling the Franco-Swiss boarder, is a 27 km particle accelerator, known as the Large Hadron Collider. Using this gigantic machine—which can recreate conditions in the early Universe fractions of a second after the Big Bang—Cox and Forshaw will describe the current theory behind the origin of mass.
Alongside questions of energy and mass, they will consider the third, and perhaps, most intriguing element of the equation: 'c' - or the speed of light. Why is it that the speed of light is the exchange rate? Answering this question is at the heart of the investigation as the authors demonstrate how, in order to truly understand why E=mc2, we first must understand why we must move forward in time and not backwards and how objects in our 3-dimensional world actually move in 4-dimensional space-time. In other words, how the very fabric of our world is constructed. A collaboration between two of the youngest professors in the UK, Why Does E=mc2? promises to be one of the most exciting and accessible explanations of the theory of relativity in recent years.
Radiation: What could go wrong? In short, plenty. From Marie Curie carrying around a vial of radium salt because she liked the pretty blue glow to the large-scale disasters at Chernobyl and Fukushima, dating back to the late nineteenth century, nuclear science has had a rich history of innovative exploration and discovery, coupled with mistakes, accidents, and downright disasters.
In this lively book, long-time advocate of continued nuclear research and nuclear energy James Mahaffey looks at each incident in turn and analyzes what happened and why, often discovering where scientists went wrong when analyzing past meltdowns. Every incident, while taking its toll, has led to new understanding of the mighty atom—and the fascinating frontier of science that still holds both incredible risk and great promise.
Timeless and collectible, the lectures are essential reading, not just for students of physics but for anyone seeking an introduction to the field from the inimitable Feynman.
Raised in Depression-era Rockaway Beach, physicist Richard Feynman was irreverent, eccentric, and childishly enthusiastic—a new kind of scientist in a field that was in its infancy. His quick mastery of quantum mechanics earned him a place at Los Alamos working on the Manhattan Project under J. Robert Oppenheimer, where the giddy young man held his own among the nation’s greatest minds. There, Feynman turned theory into practice, culminating in the Trinity test, on July 16, 1945, when the Atomic Age was born. He was only twenty-seven. And he was just getting started. In this sweeping biography, James Gleick captures the forceful personality of a great man, integrating Feynman’s work and life in a way that is accessible to laymen and fascinating for the scientists who follow in his footsteps.
"What time is it?" That simple question is probably asked more often in contemporary society than ever before. In our clock-studded world, the answer is never more than a glance away, and so we can blissfully partition our days into ever smaller increments for ever more tightly scheduled tasks. Modern scientific revelations about time, however, make the question endlessly frustrating. If we seek a precise knowledge of the time, the infinitesimal flash of now dissolves into a scattering flock of nanoseconds. Because we are bound by the speed of light and the velocity of nerve impulses, our perception of the "present" reflects the world as it occurred an instant ago – for all that human consciousness pretends otherwise, we can never catch up. Even in principle, perfect synchronicity escapes us. Relativity dictates that, like a strange syrup, time flows slower on moving trains than in the stations and faster in the mountains than in the valleys. The time for our wristwatch is not exactly the same as the time for our head. This eBook, A Question of Time, summarizes what science has discovered about how time permeates and guides both our physical world and our inner selves. That knowledge should enrich the imagination and provide practical advantages to anyone hoping to beat the clock, or at least to stay in step with it. Synchronize your watches...
The book begins at the simplest level, develops the basics, and reinforces fundamentals, ensuring a solid foundation in the principles and methods of physics. It provides an ideal introduction for college-level students of physics, chemistry, and engineering; for motivated AP Physics students; and for general readers interested in advances in the sciences.
This unassuming man struggled with issues relevant today, such as the threat of nuclear annihilation and the relationship of science to politics. Fleeing Fascism and anti-Semitism, Fermi became a leading figure in America's most secret project: building the atomic bomb. The last physicist who mastered all branches of the discipline, Fermi was a rare mixture of theorist and experimentalist. His rich legacy encompasses key advances in fields as diverse as comic rays, nuclear technology, and early computers.
In their revealing book, The Pope of Physics, Gino Segré and Bettina Hoerlin bring this scientific visionary to life. An examination of the human dramas that touched Fermi’s life as well as a thrilling history of scientific innovation in the twentieth century, this is the comprehensive biography that Fermi deserves.
In The Radioactive Boy Scout, veteran journalist Ken Silverstein recreates in brilliant detail the months of David’s improbable nuclear quest. Posing as a physics professor, David solicited information on reactor design from the U.S. government and from industry experts. (Ironically, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission was his number one source of information.) Scavenging antiques stores and junkyards for old-fashioned smoke detectors and gas lanterns—both of which contain small amounts of radioactive material—and following blueprints he found in an outdated physics textbook, David cobbled together a crude device that threw off toxic levels of radiation. His unsanctioned and wholly unsupervised project finally sparked an environmental catastrophe that put his town’s forty thousand residents at risk and caused the EPA to shut down his lab and bury it at a radioactive dumpsite in Utah.
An outrageous account of ambition and, ultimately, hubris that sits comfortably on the shelf next to such offbeat science books as Driving Mr. Albert and stories of grand capers like Catch Me If You Can, The Radioactive Boy Scout is a real-life adventure with the narrative energy of a first-rate thriller.
From the Hardcover edition.
In The Theory of Almost Everything, Robert Oerter shows how what were once thought to be separate forces of nature were combined into a single theory by some of the most brilliant minds of the twentieth century. Rich with accessible analogies and lucid prose, The Theory of Almost Everything celebrates a heretofore unsung achievement in human knowledge—and reveals the sublime structure that underlies the world as we know it.
“The amazing story of an unbelievable boy . . . The world that opens up to us through his story is both fascinating and slightly terrifying . . . but in a good way. You won’t be able to walk away from this tale.” — Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love
“Imagine if cartoon whiz kid Jimmy Neutron were real and had a brainchild with MacGyver and his adolescence got told as a rollicking bildungsroman about American prodigies and DIY nuclear reactors—well, that’s this book.” —Jack Hitt, author of Bunch of Amateurs
By the age of nine, Taylor Wilson had mastered the science of rocket propulsion. At eleven, his grandmother’s cancer diagnosis inspired him to investigate new ways to produce medical isotopes. And by fourteen, Wilson had built a 500-million-degree reactor and become the youngest person in history to achieve nuclear fusion. How could someone so young achieve so much, and what can Wilson’s story teach parents and teachers about how to support high-achieving kids?
In The Boy Who Played with Fusion, science journalist Tom Clynes narrates Taylor’s extraordinary journey—from his Arkansas home, to a unique public high school just for academic superstars, to the present, when Wilson is designing devices to prevent terrorists from shipping radioactive material and inspiring a new generation to take on the challenges of science.
“Clynes guides us on an engrossing journey to the outer realms of science and parenting. The Boy Who Played with Fusion is a fascinating exploration of ‘giftedness’ and all its consequences.” —Paul Greenberg, author of Four Fish and American Catch
“An essential contribution to our understanding of the most important underlying questions about the development of giftedness, talent, creativity, and intelligence.” —Psychology Today
“A modern voyage of discovery.” —Frank Wilczek, Nobel Laureate, author of The Lightness of Being
The Higgs boson is one of our era’s most fascinating scientific frontiers and the key to understanding why mass exists. The most recent book on the subject, The God Particle, was a bestseller. Now, Caltech physicist Sean Carroll documents the doorway that is opening—after billions of dollars and the efforts of thousands of researchers at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland—into the mind-boggling world of dark matter. The Particle at the End of the Universe has it all: money and politics, jealousy and self-sacrifice, history and cutting-edge physics—all grippingly told by a rising star of science writing.
Podcast — Building the H Bomb: A Personal History
Hosted by Milt Rosenberg (1590 WCGO), 25 June 2015
Building the H-Bomb: The Big Idea
APS News, June 2015 (Volume 24, Number 6)
Behind the Making of a Super Bomb
The Washington Post, 22 May 2015
Hydrogen Bomb Physicist's Book Runs Afoul of Energy Department
The New York Times, 23 March 2015
In this engaging scientific memoir, Kenneth Ford recounts the time when, in his mid-twenties, he was a member of the team that designed and built the first hydrogen bomb. He worked with — and relaxed with — scientific giants of that time such as Edward Teller, Enrico Fermi, Stan Ulam, John von Neumann, and John Wheeler, and here offers illuminating insights into the personalities, the strengths, and the quirks of these men. Well known for his ability to explain physics to nonspecialists, Ford also brings to life the physics of fission and fusion and provides a brief history of nuclear science from the discovery of radioactivity in 1896 to the ten-megaton explosion of “Mike” that obliterated a Pacific Island in 1952.
Ford worked at both Los Alamos and Princeton's Project Matterhorn, and brings out Matterhorn's major, but previously unheralded contribution to the development of the H bomb. Outside the lab, he drove a battered Chevrolet around New Mexico, a bantam motorcycle across the country, and a British roadster around New Jersey. Part of the charm of Ford's book is the way in which he leavens his well-researched descriptions of the scientific work with brief tales of his life away from weapons.Contents:The Big IdeaThe ProtagonistsThe ChoiceThe Scientists, the Officials, and the PresidentNuclear EnergySome PhysicsGoing WestA New WorldThe Classical SuperCalculating and TestingConstructing MatterhornAcademia CowersNew Mexico, New York, and New JerseyThe Garwin DesignClimbing MatterhornMore Than a Boy
Readership: A memoir for general readership in the history of science.
Key Features:It contains real physics, clearly presented for non-specialistsCombining historical scholarship and his own recollections, the author offers important insights into the people and the work that led to the first H bombPersonal anecdotes enliven the bookKeywords:Nuclear Weapons;Atomic Weapons;H Bomb;Thermonuclear Weapons;Nuclear Physics;Nuclear History;Thermonuclear History;Los Alamos;Edward Teller;Stanislav Ulam;John Wheeler;Project MatterhornReviews:
“It was a great treat to read a book that's well-written, informative, and gets the science right. It is these personal recollections and descriptions; the fact that it is a personal and first-hand account of a unique time in history and a remarkable scientific and technical achievement that made this book so enthralling. This is an engaging account of a young scientist involved in a remarkable project.”P Andrew Karam
The Ohio State University
“Ford's book is a valuable resource for anyone interested in the history of the H bomb and its role in the Cold War, and in how that work affected the life and career of an individual involved.”Physics Today
"Personal memories are the book's greatest strength. Ford doesn't glorify, or apologize for, his work on the H-bomb. He simply tells it as it was. As a result, this is an engagingly human glimpse into the world of physics in the US in the early 1950s."Physics World
Particle physics as we know it depends on the Higgs boson: It’s the missing link between the birth of our universe—as a sea of tiny, massless particles—and the tangible world we live in today. But for more than 50 years, scientists wondered: Does it exist?
Physicist Jon Butterworth was at the frontlines of the hunt for the Higgs at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider—perhaps the most ambitious experiment in history. In Most Wanted Particle, he gives us the first inside account of that uncertain time, when an entire field hinged on a single particle, and life at the cutting edge of science meant media scrutiny, late-night pub debates, dispiriting false starts in the face of intense pressure, and countless hours at the collider itself. As Butterworth explains, our first glimpse of the elusive Higgs brings us a giant step closer to understanding the universe—and points the way to an entirely new kind of physics.
The laws of physics define every aspect of our lives and society, from human nature and relationships to geopolitical issues like financial markets, globalization, and immigration. But how can such a complex subject be understood by anyone without a quadruple-digit IQ and a pocket protector full of doctorate degrees?
The answer is here. The Quantum Rules is a different kind of physics book that will familiarize you with the important and established laws at the heart of physics by showing how the defining patterns of our lives, our behavior, and our society already follow similar rules.
Whether you struggled through science classes or already have a grounding in physics, this book can help you relate to it in a whole new way, discover new perspectives on it, and learn how to have meaningful conversations about it in a way that won’t make people’s eyes glaze over.
The Quantum Rules also does something no other book on physics can do—it will makes you laugh, and often. With an original and humorous take on the established natural laws that govern our world, Professor of Physics Kunal K. Das brings this challenging subject down to earth.
Timeless and collectible, the lectures are essential reading, not just for students of physics but for anyone seeking an introduction to the field from the inimitable Feynman.
Author Sal Cangeloso shows you the working parts of a “simple” LED bulb and explains the challenges electronics companies face as they push LED lighting into the mainstream. You’ll learn how you can use LEDs now, and why solid state lighting will bring dramatic changes in the near future.Explore the drivers, phosphors, and integrated circuits in a typical LED bulb Understand the challenges in producing LED bulbs with acceptable brightness, color temperature, and power consumption Learn about non-bulb LED applications, including lamps, street lights, and signage Discover the market forces driving—and impeding—the adoption of LED lighting Compare LEDs to compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and electron-stimulated luminescence (ESL) bulbs Gaze into the future of intelligent lighting, including networked lighting systems
There was a time when "universe" meant all there is. Everything. Yet, a number of theories are converging on the possibility that our universe may be but one among many parallel universes populating a vast multiverse. Here, Briane Greene, one of our foremost physicists and science writers, takes us on a breathtaking journey to a multiverse comprising an endless series of big bangs, a multiverse with duplicates of every one of us, a multiverse populated by vast sheets of spacetime, a multiverse in which all we consider real are holographic illusions, and even a multiverse made purely of math--and reveals the reality hidden within each.
Using his trademark wit and precision, Greene presents a thrilling survey of cutting-edge physics and confronts the inevitable question: How can fundamental science progress if great swaths of reality lie beyond our reach? The Hidden Reality is a remarkable adventure through a world more vast and strange than anything we could have imagined.
It starts by introducing, in a completely self-contained way, all mathematical tools needed to use symmetry ideas in physics. Thereafter, these tools are put into action and by using symmetry constraints, the fundamental equations of Quantum Mechanics, Quantum Field Theory, Electromagnetism, and Classical Mechanics are derived.
As a result, the reader is able to understand the basic assumptions behind, and the connections between the modern theories of physics. The book concludes with first applications of the previously derived equations.
The authors outline how their positions have further diverged on a number of key issues, including the spatial geometry of the universe, inflationary versus cyclic theories of the cosmos, and the black-hole information-loss paradox. Though much progress has been made, Hawking and Penrose stress that physicists still have further to go in their quest for a quantum theory of gravity.
In Life’s Ratchet, physicist Peter M. Hoffmann locates the answer to this age-old question at the nanoscale. The complex molecules of our cells can rightfully be called “molecular machines,” or “nanobots”; these machines, unlike any other, work autonomously to create order out of chaos. Tiny electrical motors turn electrical voltage into motion, tiny factories custom-build other molecular machines, and mechanical machines twist, untwist, separate and package strands of DNA. The cell is like a city—an unfathomable, complex collection of molecular worker bees working together to create something greater than themselves.
Life, Hoffman argues, emerges from the random motions of atoms filtered through the sophisticated structures of our evolved machinery. We are essentially giant assemblies of interacting nanoscale machines; machines more amazing than can be found in any science fiction novel. Incredibly, the molecular machines in our cells function without a mysterious “life force,” nor do they violate any natural laws. Scientists can now prove that life is not supernatural, and that it can be fully understood in the context of science.
Part history, part cutting-edge science, part philosophy, Life’s Ratchet takes us from ancient Greece to the laboratories of modern nanotechnology to tell the story of our quest for the machinery of life.
Dr. Kock's lucid introduction to lasers and holography has now been revised and updated for a second edition. It begins with a clear discussion of wave patterns and coherence. Then the development of lasers is summarized, along with the phenomenon of wave diffraction. Finally, the important subjects of zone plates and the properties of holograms are skillfully described. A new, concluding chapter brings the story up to the present, with a survey of recent advances in such areas as viewing holograms, hologram computer memories, liquid surface holography, synthetic-aperture radar and sonar, large new lasers, fiber optics, etc.
Using language that can be readily understood by high school and junior high school students, Dr. Kock has written a brief, yet authoritative volume that should satisfy anyone's curiosity about this burgeoning field. The remarkable discoveries that have already occurred are only a prelude to an even more remarkable future. 84 illustrations, including 8 new to this edition. New preface. Suggested (1981) additional reading. Index.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Soon Emmy was trying to use the strange ideas of quantum mechanics for the really important things in her life: chasing critters, getting treats, and going for walks. She peppered Chad with questions: Could she use quantum tunneling to get through the neighbor's fence and chase bunnies? What about quantum teleportation to catch squirrels before they climb out of reach? Where are all the universes in which Chad drops steak on the floor? And what about the bunnies made of cheese that ought to be appearing out of nothing in the backyard?
With great humor and clarity, Chad Orzel explains to Emmy, and to human readers, just what quantum mechanics is and how it works -- and why, although you can't use it to catch squirrels or eat steak, it's still bizarre, amazing, and important to every dog and human.
Follow along as Chad and Emmy discuss the central elements of quantum theory, from particles that behave like waves and Heisenberg's uncertainty principle to entanglement ("spooky action at a distance") and virtual particles. Along the way, they discuss the history of the theory, such as the experiments that discovered that electrons are waves and particles at the same time, and Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr's decades-long debate over what quantum theory really meant (Einstein may have been smarter, but Bohr was right more often).
Don't get caught looking less informed than Emmy. How to Teach Physics to Your Dog will show you the universe that lies beneath everyday reality, in all its randomness, uncertainty, and wonder.
"Forget Schrödinger's Cat," says Emmy, "quantum physics is all about dogs." And once you see quantum physics explained to a dog, you'll never see the world the same way again.
Parallel universes are a staple of science fiction, and it's no wonder. They allow us to explore the question, "what if?" in a way that lets us step completely outside of the world we know, rather than question how that world might have turned out differently. For cosmologists, the question isn't "what if the South won the Civil War?" but "what if the constants that make up the fundamental building blocks of physics were different?" Physicists argue that any slight change to the laws of physics would mean a disruption in the evolution of the universe, and thus our existence. Take gravity, for example: too strong and stars would burn through their fuel far more quickly. If the universe expanded too fast, matter would spread out too thin for galaxies to form. The list of examples goes on – to the point where the laws of physics might seem finely tuned to make our existence possible. Short of a supernatural or divine explanation, one possibility is that our universe isn't the only one. That's the idea explored in this eBook, Possibilities in Parallel: Seeking the Multiverse. In Section 1, we explore why scientists think other universes could exist. After that, we get a look at the implications. Is it possible to have life in a universe with different physical laws? It would seem so. In "Cracking Open a Window," George Musser discusses the possibility that our universe has more than three spatial dimensions – the others happen to be very small. Other articles, including "The Universe's Unseen Dimensions," analyze the idea that our universe is one of many "branes" – three-dimensional structures stretched out over a higher-dimensional space. The concept of a parallel universe also touches time travel, and then there's the question of what the term "parallel universe" actually means. It's a triumph of the sciences that the very question of why the universe looks as it does can be asked at all. There are currently several possibilities for a multiverse, if it exists. Time and a lot of scientific spadework will reveal which one is right – and get us closer to answering those metaphysical questions: what if, why us, why now?
For most people, quantum theory is a byword for mysterious, impenetrable science. And yet for many years it was equally baffling for scientists themselves.
In this magisterial book, Manjit Kumar gives a dramatic and superbly-written history of this fundamental scientific revolution, and the divisive debate at its core. Quantum theory looks at the very building blocks of our world, the particles and processes without which it could not exist.
Yet for 60 years most physicists believed that quantum theory denied the very existence of reality itself. In this tour de force of science history, Manjit Kumar shows how the golden age of physics ignited the greatest intellectual debate of the twentieth century.
Quantum theory is weird. In 1905, Albert Einstein suggested that light was a particle, not a wave, defying a century of experiments. Werner Heisenberg's uncertainty principle and Erwin Schrodinger's famous dead-and-alive cat are similarly strange. As Niels Bohr said, if you weren't shocked by quantum theory, you didn't really understand it.
While "Quantum" sets the science in the context of the great upheavals of the modern age, Kumar's centrepiece is the conflict between Einstein and Bohr over the nature of reality and the soul of science. 'Bohr brainwashed a whole generation of physicists into believing that the problem had been solved', lamented the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Murray Gell-Mann. But in "Quantum", Kumar brings Einstein back to the centre of the quantum debate. "Quantum" is the essential read for anyone fascinated by this complex and thrilling story and by the band of brilliant men at its heart.
Your plain-English guide to understanding and working with the micro world
Quantum physics — also called quantum mechanics or quantum field theory — can be daunting for even the most dedicated student or enthusiast of science, math, or physics. This friendly, concise guide makes this challenging subject understandable and accessible, from atoms to particles to gases and beyond. Plus, it's packed with fully explained examples to help you tackle the tricky equations like a pro!Compatible with any classroom course — study at your own pace and prepare for graduate or professional exams Your journey begins here — understand what quantum physics is and what kinds of problems it can solve Know the basic math — from state vectors to quantum matrix manipulations, get the foundation you need to proceed Put quantum physics to work — make sense of Schrödinger's equation and handle particles bound in square wells and harmonic oscillators Solve problems in three dimensions — use the full operators to handle wave functions and eigenvectors to find the natural wave functions of a system Discover the latest research — learn the cutting-edge quantum physics theories that aim to explain the universe itself
Understanding Wine Chemistry:Summarizes the compounds found in wine, their basic chemical properties and their contribution to wine stability and sensory properties Focuses on chemical and biochemical reaction mechanisms that are critical to wine production processes such as fermentation, aging, physiochemical separations and additions Includes case studies showing how chemistry can be harnessed to enhance wine color, aroma, flavor, balance, stability and quality.
This descriptive text provides an overview of wine components and explains the key chemical reactions they undergo, such as those controlling the transformation of grape components, those that arise during fermentation, and the evolution of wine flavor and color. The book aims to guide the reader, who perhaps only has a basic knowledge of chemistry, to rationally explain or predict the outcomes of chemical reactions that contribute to the diversity observed among wines. This will help students, winemakers and other interested individuals to anticipate the effects of wine treatments and processes, or interpret experimental results based on an understanding of the major chemical reactions that can occur in wine.
From the New York Times–bestselling author of Seven Brief Lessons on Physics, a closer look at the mind-bending nature of the universe.
What are the elementary ingredients of the world? Do time and space exist? And what exactly is reality? Theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli has spent his life exploring these questions. He tells us how our understanding of reality has changed over the centuries and how physicists think about the structure of the universe today.
In elegant and accessible prose, Rovelli takes us on a wondrous journey from Democritus to Albert Einstein, from Michael Faraday to gravitational waves, and from classical physics to his own work in quantum gravity. As he shows us how the idea of reality has evolved over time, Rovelli offers deeper explanations of the theories he introduced so concisely in Seven Brief Lessons on Physics.
This book culminates in a lucid overview of quantum gravity, the field of research that explores the quantum nature of space and time, seeking to unify quantum mechanics and general relativity. Rovelli invites us to imagine a marvelous world where space breaks up into tiny grains, time disappears at the smallest scales, and black holes are waiting to explode—a vast universe still largely undiscovered.
If you sit as still as you can in a quiet room, you might be able to convince yourself that nothing is moving. But air currents are still wafting around you. Blood rushes through your veins. The atoms in your chair jiggle furiously. In fact, the planet you are sitting on is whizzing through space thirty-five times faster than the speed of sound.
Natural motion dominates our lives and the intricate mechanics of the world around us. In ZOOM, Bob Berman explores how motion shapes every aspect of the universe, literally from the ground up. With an entertaining style and a gift for distilling the wondrous, Berman spans astronomy, geology, biology, meteorology, and the history of science, uncovering how clouds stay aloft, how the Earth's rotation curves a home run's flight, and why a mosquito's familiar whine resembles a telephone's dial tone.
For readers who love to get smarter without realizing it, ZOOM bursts with science writing at its best.
• It took more than an iceberg to sink the Titanic.
• The Challenger disaster was predicted.
• Unbreakable glass dinnerware had its origin in railroad lanterns.
• A football team cannot lose momentum.
• Mercury thermometers are prohibited on airplanes for a crucial reason.
• Kryptonite bicycle locks are easily broken.
“Things fall apart” is more than a poetic insight—it is a fundamental property of the physical world. Why Things Break explores the fascinating question of what holds things together (for a while), what breaks them apart, and why the answers have a direct bearing on our everyday lives.
When Mark Eberhart was growing up in the 1960s, he learned that splitting an atom leads to a terrible explosion—which prompted him to worry that when he cut into a stick of butter, he would inadvertently unleash a nuclear cataclysm. Years later, as a chemistry professor, he remembered this childhood fear when he began to ponder the fact that we know more about how to split an atom than we do about how a pane of glass breaks.
In Why Things Break, Eberhart leads us on a remarkable and entertaining exploration of all the cracks, clefts, fissures, and faults examined in the field of materials science and the many astonishing discoveries that have been made about everything from the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger to the crashing of your hard drive. Understanding why things break is crucial to modern life on every level, from personal safety to macroeconomics, but as Eberhart reveals here, it is also an area of cutting-edge science that is as provocative as it is illuminating.
From the Hardcover edition.
One of the nineteenth century's most significant papers, "A Dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field," appears here, along with similarly influential expositions of Maxwell's dynamical theory of gases. The author's extensive range of interests is well represented, from his discussions of color blindness and the composition of Saturn's rings to his essays on geometrical optics, ether, and protecting buildings from lightning. His less technical writings are featured as well, including items written for the Encyclopedia Britannica and Nature magazine, book reviews, and popular lectures. Striking in their originality, these papers offer a wealth of stimulating and inspiring reading to modern students of mathematics and physics.
The subatomic realm has a reputation for weirdness, spawning any number of profound misunderstandings, journeys into Eastern mysticism, and woolly pronouncements on the interconnectedness of all things. Cox and Forshaw's contention? There is no need for quantum mechanics to be viewed this way. There is a lot of mileage in the “weirdness” of the quantum world, and it often leads to confusion and, frankly, bad science. The Quantum Universe cuts through the Wu Li and asks what observations of the natural world made it necessary, how it was constructed, and why we are confident that, for all its apparent strangeness, it is a good theory.
The quantum mechanics of The Quantum Universe provide a concrete model of nature that is comparable in its essence to Newton's laws of motion, Maxwell's theory of electricity and magnetism, and Einstein's theory of relativity.
"...this is an excellent book which is both instructive and amusing to read. Its true value is neatly summarised in one of the closing sentences: 'We have supplied you with the guidelines and criteria which you can now apply when considering supercritical fluids for your own needs.'' - Chemistry in Britain, February 1995
You will follow your oxygen atoms through fire and water and from forests to your fingernails. Hydrogen atoms will wriggle into your hair and betray where you live and what you have been drinking. The carbon in your breath will become tree trunks, and the sodium in your tears will link you to long-dead oceans. The nitrogen in your muscles will help to turn the sky blue, the phosphorus in your bones will help to turn the coastal waters of North Carolina green, the calcium in your teeth will crush your food between atoms that were mined by mushrooms, and the iron in your blood will kill microbes as it once killed a star.
You will also discover that much of what death must inevitably do to your body is already happening among many of your atoms at this very moment and that, nonetheless, you and everyone else you know will always exist somewhere in the fabric of the universe.
You are not only made of atoms; you are atoms, and this book, in essence, is an atomic field guide to yourself.
Time moves forward, not backward—everyone knows you can’t unscramble an egg. In the hands of one of today’s hottest young physicists, that simple fact of breakfast becomes a doorway to understanding the Big Bang, the universe, and other universes, too. In From Eternity to Here, Sean Carroll argues that the arrow of time, pointing resolutely from the past to the future, owes its existence to conditions before the Big Bang itself—a period modern cosmology of which Einstein never dreamed. Increasingly, though, physicists are going out into realms that make the theory of relativity seem like child’s play. Carroll’s scenario is not only elegant, it’s laid out in the same easy-to- understand language that has made his group blog, Cosmic Variance, the most popular physics blog on the Net.
From Eternity to Here uses ideas at the cutting edge of theoretical physics to explore how properties of spacetime before the Big Bang can explain the flow of time we experience in our everyday lives. Carroll suggests that we live in a baby universe, part of a large family of universes in which many of our siblings experience an arrow of time running in the opposite direction. It’s an ambitious, fascinating picture of the universe on an ultra-large scale, one that will captivate fans of popular physics blockbusters like Elegant Universe and A Brief History of Time.
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In 1900, German physicist Max Planck postulated that light, or radiant energy, can exist only in the form of discrete packages or quanta. This profound insight, along with Einstein's equally momentous theories of relativity, completely revolutionized man's view of matter, energy, and the nature of physics itself.
In this lucid layman's introduction to quantum theory, an eminent physicist and noted popularizer of science traces the development of quantum theory from the turn of the century to about 1930 — from Planck's seminal concept (still developing) to anti-particles, mesons, and Enrico Fermi's nuclear research. Gamow was not just a spectator at the theoretical breakthroughs which fundamentally altered our view of the universe, he was an active participant who made important contributions of his own. This "insider's" vantage point lends special validity to his careful, accessible explanations of Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, Niels Bohr's model of the atom, the pilot waves of Louis de Broglie and other path-breaking ideas.
In addition, Gamow recounts a wealth of revealing personal anecdotes which give a warm human dimension to many giants of 20th-century physics. He ends the book with the Blegdamsvej Faust, a delightful play written in 1932 by Niels Bohr's students and colleagues to satirize the epochal developments that were revolutionizing physics. This celebrated play is available only in this volume.
Written in a clear, lively style, and enhanced by 12 photographs (including candid shots of Rutherford, Bohr, Pauli, Heisenberg, Fermi, and others), Thirty Years that Shook Physics offers both scientists and laymen a highly readable introduction to the brilliant conceptions that helped unlock many secrets of energy and matter and laid the groundwork for future discoveries.