"A lucid introduction to the basics of quantum physics for the lay reader, showing how much the scientific understanding of reality has changed in the last century and how important this science is to technology, the economy, and modern life"--
Weaving together the great ideas of science, The Reality Frame takes us on a thrilling journey from empty space all the way to the human mind. Acclaimed science writer Brian Clegg builds up reality piece by piece, from space, to time, to matter, movement, the fundamental forces, life, and the massive transformation that life itself has wrought on the natural world. He reveals that underlying it all is not, as we might believe, a system of immovable absolutes, but the ever-shifting, amorphous world of relativity. From religion to philosophy, humanity has traditionally sought out absolutes to explain the world around us, but as science has developed, relativity has swept away many of these certainties, leaving only a handful of unchangeable essentials – such as absolute zero, nothingness, light – leading to better science and a new understanding of the essence of being human. This is an Ascent of Man for the 21st century, the gripping story of modern science that will fill you with wonder and give you a new insight into our place in the universe.
An easy-to-understand guide to the complex subject of quantum physics. Quantum physics is how scientists describe the world of the very small. For other people, however, the rules of quantum physics seem to violate all logic: How can a particle be in more than one place at the same time? How can it tunnel through an impenetrable barrier? How can a cat in a box be both alive and dead? This book explains the complexities of quantum physics in bite-sized "lessons" that make it clear and accessible to all readers. The sections and chapters are: 1. Atoms -- quantum; quantum physics in everyday life; the periodic table; atoms and nuclei; isotopes; hydrogen atom (energy levels and spectra) 2. Photons -- photoelectric effect; thermal emission and the Planck distribution; wave particle duality (Young's slit experiment) 3. Quantum devices -- superconductors; transistor, diode; light-emitting diode; laser 4. Spin -- spin; fermions; exclusion principle; Fermi Dirac distribution; Bose-Einstein statistics 5. Wave Mechanics -- Heisenberg uncertainty principle; wave functions; standing waves; wave particle duality 6. Subatomic Particles -- radioactivity; atomic particles; protons; neutrons; electrons 7. Particle Physics -- elementary particles; quarks; leptons; electron and electron neutrino; muon and muon neutrino; tauon and tau neutrino; bosons; photon; W and Z boson; gluon; Higgs boson; composite particles; hadrons; matter-anti-matter 8. Quantum Physics in Medicine and industry -- magnetic resonance imaging; superfluidity; cancer treatment by radiation 9. Into the Future -- quantum physics of space; quantum gravity; graviton; Hawking radiation (grand unified theory); dark matter; strings; dark energy. Throughout the book, there are timelines and profiles about the scientists who developed the theories and made important discoveries in quantum physics, including Dmitri Rutherford, Albert Einstein, Heike Kamerlingh Onnes, William Shockley, Isama Akasaki, Stephen Hawking, Enrico Fermi, and Max Born.
"The next frontier in space exploration is Mars, the red planet-and human habitation of Mars isn't much farther off. In October 2015, NASA declared Mars oan achievable goal;o that same season, Ridley Scott and Matt Damon'saThe Martianadrew crowds into theaters, signaled by its nearly half-billion-dollar gross in the first two months. Now the National Geographic Channel goes years fast-forward with oMars,o a six-part series documenting and dramatizing the next 25 years as humans land on and learn to live on Mars. Following on the visionary success of Buzz Aldrin's Mission to Marsaand the visual glory of Marc Kaufman'saMars Up Close, this companion book to the Nat Geo series shows the science behind the mission and the challenges awaiting those brave individuals. The book combines science, technology, photography, art, and story-telling, offering what only National Geographic can create. Clear scientific explanations, gorgeous photography from outer space and the planet itself, and dramatic scenes from the TV series featuring exquisitely constructed sets made to replicate Mars make the Mars experience real and provide amazing visuals to savor and return to again and again."
From New York Times bestselling author Sam Kean comes incredible stories of science, history, finance, mythology, the arts, medicine, and more, as told by the Periodic Table. Why did Gandhi hate iodine (I, 53)? How did radium (Ra, 88) nearly ruin Marie Curie's reputation? And why is gallium (Ga, 31) the go-to element for laboratory pranksters?* The Periodic Table is a crowning scientific achievement, but it's also a treasure trove of adventure, betrayal, and obsession. These fascinating tales follow every element on the table as they play out their parts in human history, and in the lives of the (frequently) mad scientists who discovered them. THE DISAPPEARING SPOON masterfully fuses science with the classic lore of invention, investigation, and discovery--from the Big Bang through the end of time. *Though solid at room temperature, gallium is a moldable metal that melts at 84 degrees Fahrenheit. A classic science prank is to mold gallium spoons, serve them with tea, and watch guests recoil as their utensils disappear.
Niels Bohr and the Quantum Atom is the first book that focuses in detail on the birth and development of Bohr's atomic theory and gives a comprehensive picture of it. At the same time it offers new insight into Bohr's peculiar way of thinking, what Einstein once called his 'unique instinct and tact'. Contrary to most other accounts of the Bohr atom, the book presents it in a broader perspective which includes the reception among other scientists and the criticism launched against it by scientists of a more conservative inclination. Moreover, it discusses the theory as Bohr originally conceived it, namely, as an ambitious theory covering the structure of atoms as well as molecules. By discussing the theory in its entirety it becomes possible to understand why it developed as it did and thereby to use it as an example of the dynamics of scientific theories.
A tale set at the end of the twenty-first century finds the planet's divided hominid population subjected to the forces of a splintery metaconsciousness that inundates networks with plans for cataclysmic technologies, prompting an unwitting jury member to participate in a grueling decision.
Does God exist? This is probably the most debated question in the history of mankind. Scholars, scientists, and philosophers have spent their lifetimes trying to prove or disprove the existence of God, only to have their theories crucified by other scholars, scientists, and philosophers. Where the debate breaks down is in the ambiguities and colloquialisms of language. But, by using a universal, unambiguous language—namely, mathematics—can this question finally be answered definitively? That’s what Dr. Stephen Unwin attempts to do in this riveting, accessible, and witty book, The Probability of God. At its core, this groundbreaking book reveals how a math equation developed more than 200 years ago by noted European philosopher Thomas Bayes can be used to calculate the probability that God exists. The equation itself is much more complicated than a simple coin toss (heads, He’s up there running the show; tails, He’s not). Yet Dr. Unwin writes with a clarity that makes his mathematical proof easy for even the nonmathematician to understand and a verve that makes his book a delight to read. Leading you carefully through each step in his argument, he demonstrates in the end that God does indeed exist. Whether you’re a devout believer and agree with Dr. Unwin’s proof or are unsure about all things divine, you will find this provocative book enlightening and engaging. From the Hardcover edition.
The story of the unlikely friendship between the two physicists who fundamentally recast the notion of time and history In 1939, Richard Feynman, a brilliant graduate of MIT, arrived in John Wheeler's Princeton office to report for duty as his teaching assistant. A lifelong friendship and enormously productive collaboration was born, despite sharp differences in personality. The soft-spoken Wheeler, though conservative in appearance, was a raging nonconformist full of wild ideas about the universe. The boisterous Feynman was a cautious physicist who believed only what could be tested. Yet they were complementary spirits. Their collaboration led to a complete rethinking of the nature of time and reality. It enabled Feynman to show how quantum reality is a combination of alternative, contradictory possibilities, and inspired Wheeler to develop his landmark concept of wormholes, portals to the future and past. Together, Feynman and Wheeler made sure that quantum physics would never be the same again.
The Little Book of String Theory offers a short, accessible, and entertaining introduction to one of the most talked-about areas of physics today. String theory has been called the "theory of everything." It seeks to describe all the fundamental forces of nature. It encompasses gravity and quantum mechanics in one unifying theory. But it is unproven and fraught with controversy. After reading this book, you'll be able to draw your own conclusions about string theory. Steve Gubser begins by explaining Einstein's famous equation E = mc2 , quantum mechanics, and black holes. He then gives readers a crash course in string theory and the core ideas behind it. In plain English and with a minimum of mathematics, Gubser covers strings, branes, string dualities, extra dimensions, curved spacetime, quantum fluctuations, symmetry, and supersymmetry. He describes efforts to link string theory to experimental physics and uses analogies that nonscientists can understand. How does Chopin's Fantasie-Impromptu relate to quantum mechanics? What would it be like to fall into a black hole? Why is dancing a waltz similar to contemplating a string duality? Find out in the pages of this book. The Little Book of String Theory is the essential, most up-to-date beginner's guide to this elegant, multidimensional field of physics.
Humans have been trying to understand the physical universe since antiquity. Aristotle had one vision (the realm of the celestial spheres is perfect), and Einstein another (all motion is relativistic). More often than not, these different understandings begin with a simple drawing, a pre-mathematical picture of reality. Such drawings are a humble but effective tool of the physicist's craft, part of the tradition of thinking, teaching, and learning passed down through the centuries. This book uses drawings to help explain fifty-one key ideas of physics accessibly and engagingly. Don Lemons, a professor of physics and author of several physics books, pairs short, elegantly written essays with simple drawings that together convey important concepts from the history of physical science.Lemons proceeds chronologically, beginning with Thales' discovery of triangulation, the Pythagorean monocord, and Archimedes' explanation of balance. He continues through Leonardo's description of "earthshine" (the ghostly glow between the horns of a crescent moon), Kepler's laws of planetary motion, and Newton's cradle (suspended steel balls demonstrating by their collisions that for every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction). Reaching the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, Lemons explains the photoelectric effect, the hydrogen atom, general relativity, the global greenhouse effect, Higgs boson, and more. The essays place the science of the drawings in historical context -- describing, for example, Galileo's conflict with the Roman Catholic Church over his teaching that the sun is the center of the universe, the link between the discovery of electrical phenomena and the romanticism of William Wordsworth, and the shadow cast by the Great War over Einstein's discovery of relativity. Readers of Drawing Physics with little background in mathematics or physics will say, "Now I see, and now I understand."
The philosopher Alfred North Whitehead once said that all of Western philosophy was "but a series of footnotes to Plato." By the same token, one could argue that all of Western civilization is but an extension of the ancient Greek cultural legacy. The Greeks invented tragedy, comedy, lyric poetry, history, philosophy, and democracy. They also made remarkable advances in science, medicine, and mathematics. In the author’s view, what ties this wide-ranging intellectual ferment together is a restless search for wisdom. The author looks at ten outstanding examples of Greek wisdom, offering fresh and engaging portraits of the epic poets (Homer, Hesiod); dramatists (Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes); historians (Herodotus, Thucydides); and philosophers (Plato, Aristotle) against the background of Greek history. In each case he asks what the author has to tell us— regardless of genre—about our place in the world and how we should live our lives. By surveying some of the highest peaks of ancient civilization, the author argues that we gain perspective on the historical terrain that lies below. This book presents an eloquent and convincing case that a study of the Greek classics, as Gustave Flaubert explained, makes us "greater, wiser, purer." From the Hardcover edition.
Advance praise for Philip Plait s Bad Astronomy "Bad Astronomy is just plain good! Philip Plait clears up every misconception on astronomy and space you never knew you suffered from." --Stephen Maran, Author of Astronomy for Dummies and editor of The Astronomy and Astrophysics Encyclopedia "Thank the cosmos for the bundle of star stuff named Philip Plait, who is the world s leading consumer advocate for quality science in space and on Earth. This important contribution to science will rest firmly on my reference library shelf, ready for easy access the next time an astrologer calls." --Dr. Michael Shermer, Publisher of Skeptic magazine, monthly columnist for Scientific American, and author of The Borderlands of Science "Philip Plait has given us a readable, erudite, informative, useful, and entertaining book. Bad Astronomy is Good Science. Very good science..." --James "The Amazing" Randi, President, James Randi Educational Foundation, and author of An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural "Bad Astronomy is a fun read. Plait is wonderfully witty and educational as he debunks the myths, legends, and 'conspiracies that abound in our society. 'The Truth Is Out There' and it's in this book. I loved it!" --Mike Mullane, Space Shuttle astronaut and author of Do Your Ears Pop in Space?
“[Czerski’s] quest to enhance humanity’s everyday scientific literacy is timely and imperative.”—Science Storm in a Teacup is Helen Czerski’s lively, entertaining, and richly informed introduction to the world of physics. Czerski provides the tools to alter the way we see everything around us by linking ordinary objects and occurrences, like popcorn popping, coffee stains, and fridge magnets, to big ideas like climate change, the energy crisis, or innovative medical testing. She provides answers to vexing questions: How do ducks keep their feet warm when walking on ice? Why does it take so long for ketchup to come out of a bottle? Why does milk, when added to tea, look like billowing storm clouds? In an engaging voice at once warm and witty, Czerski shares her stunning breadth of knowledge to lift the veil of familiarity from the ordinary.
The award-winning New York Times bestseller about the extraordinary things that can happen when we harness the power of both the brain and the heart Growing up in the high desert of California, Jim Doty was poor, with an alcoholic father and a mother chronically depressed and paralyzed by a stroke. Today he is the director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE) at Stanford University, of which the Dalai Lama is a founding benefactor. But back then his life was at a dead end until at twelve he wandered into a magic shop looking for a plastic thumb. Instead he met Ruth, a woman who taught him a series of exercises to ease his own suffering and manifest his greatest desires. Her final mandate was that he keep his heart open and teach these techniques to others. She gave him his first glimpse of the unique relationship between the brain and the heart. Doty would go on to put Ruth’s practices to work with extraordinary results—power and wealth that he could only imagine as a twelve-year-old, riding his orange Sting-Ray bike. But he neglects Ruth’s most important lesson, to keep his heart open, with disastrous results—until he has the opportunity to make a spectacular charitable contribution that will virtually ruin him. Part memoir, part science, part inspiration, and part practical instruction, Into the Magic Shop shows us how we can fundamentally change our lives by first changing our brains and our hearts.
The United States is becoming a nation of rich and poor, with few families in the middle. In this book, MIT economist Peter Temin offers an illuminating way to look at the vanishing middle class. Temin argues that American history and politics, particularly slavery and its aftermath, play an important part in the widening gap between rich and poor. Temin employs a well-known, simple model of a dual economy to examine the dynamics of the rich/poor divide in America, and outlines ways to work toward greater equality so that America will no longer have one economy for the rich and one for the poor. Many poorer Americans live in conditions resembling those of a developing country -- substandard education, dilapidated housing, and few stable employment opportunities. And although almost half of black Americans are poor, most poor people are not black. Conservative white politicians still appeal to the racism of poor white voters to get support for policies that harm low-income people as a whole, casting recipients of social programs as the Other -- black, Latino, not like "us." Politicians also use mass incarceration as a tool to keep black and Latino Americans from participating fully in society. Money goes to a vast entrenched prison system rather than to education. In the dual justice system, the rich pay fines and the poor go to jail.
Using LEGO® blocks to create a uniquely visual and clear depiction of the way our universe is put together. This is the perfect introduction to the enigmatic and fascinating world of Quantum Physics. Our story starts with the Big Bang, and along the way, the constructs and interactions within and among atoms and sub-atomic particles, and the forces that play upon them, are clearly explained, with each LEGO® block representing a different atomic or sub-atomic particle. The different colours and size denote what that particle is and its relationship with the other 'building blocks'. Each chapter is presented in digestible chunks, using toy building blocks to illustrate the ideas and experiments that have led to some of the biggest discoveries of the past 150 years. Soon you'll be able to construct every element in the Universe using a box of LEGO® and this book!
Quantum physics is the most fundamental -- but also the most baffling -- branch of science. Allowing for dead-and-alive cats, teleportation, antimatter, and parallel universes, as well as underpinning all of our digital technology, it's as important as it is mind-bending. This clear and compact book demystifies the strange and beautiful quantum world, and hence the nature of reality itself. Contents include: Schrodinger's cat, inside the atom, the particle zoo, the Higgs boson, Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, God playing dice, relativity, the Big Bang, dark energy and matter, black holes, the fate of the Universe, the Theory of Everything, quantum gravity, string theory, the multiverse, instant communication, quantum computing and cryptography, superconductivity, quantum biology, quantum consciousness, and much more. Written as a series of mini essays with 200 simple diagrams to help understanding, there can be no easier guide to this notoriously confusing subject. At last it's possible for non-specialists to understand quantum theory and its central role in the birth of the universe and the very existence of life.
Over the course of three nights, Harry - a stranger who sits down next to Jury one night in a London pub - spins a complicated story about a good friend of his whose wife, son and dog disappeared over nine-months ago during a house viewing in Surrey. There has been no trace of them and no clue as to what happened. But the dog has come back. Dumbfounded, Jury wonders if Harry Johnson is just winding him up. Or did it really happen? When Jury investigates, all seems to be just as Harry described it. Until he finds the body...
Although the body has been the focus of much contemporary cultural theory, the models that are typically applied neglect the most salient characteristics of embodied existence—movement, affect, and sensation—in favor of concepts derived from linguistic theory. In Parables for the Virtual Brian Massumi views the body and media such as television, film, and the Internet, as cultural formations that operate on multiple registers of sensation beyond the reach of the reading techniques founded on the standard rhetorical and semiotic models. Renewing and assessing William James’s radical empiricism and Henri Bergson’s philosophy of perception through the filter of the post-war French philosophy of Deleuze, Guattari, and Foucault, Massumi links a cultural logic of variation to questions of movement, affect, and sensation. If such concepts are as fundamental as signs and significations, he argues, then a new set of theoretical issues appear, and with them potential new paths for the wedding of scientific and cultural theory. Replacing the traditional opposition of literal and figural with new distinctions between stasis and motion and between actual and virtual, Parables for the Virtual tackles related theoretical issues by applying them to cultural mediums as diverse as architecture, body art, the digital art of Stelarc, and Ronald Reagan’s acting career. The result is an intriguing combination of cultural theory, science, and philosophy that asserts itself in a crystalline and multi-faceted argument. Parables for the Virtual will interest students and scholars of continental and Anglo-American philosophy, cultural studies, cognitive science, electronic art, digital culture, and chaos theory, as well as those concerned with the “science wars” and the relation between the humanities and the sciences in general.

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