Energy, the Subtle Concept

The Discovery of Feynman's Blocks from Leibniz to Einstein

Author: Jennifer Coopersmith

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

ISBN: 0198716745

Category: Science

Page: 416

View: 8790

Energy is at the heart of physics and yet no book exists specifically to explain it, and in simple terms. Tracking the history of energy has the thrill of the chase, the mystery of smoke and mirrors and presents a fascinating human-interest story. Moreover, following the history provides a crucial aid to understanding: this book explains the intellectual revolutions required to comprehend energy, revolutions as profound as those stemming from Relativity andQuantum Theory.

The Lazy Universe

An Introduction to the Principle of Least Action

Author: Jennifer Coopersmith

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0191060720

Category: Science

Page: 272

View: 7436

This is a rare book on a rare topic: it is about 'action' and the Principle of Least Action. A surprisingly well-kept secret, these ideas are at the heart of physical science and engineering. Physics is well known as being concerned with grand conservatory principles (e.g. the conservation of energy) but equally important is the optimization principle (such as getting somewhere in the shortest time or with the least resistance). The book explains: why an optimization principle underlies physics, what action is, what `the Hamiltonian' is, and how new insights into energy, space, and time arise. It assumes some background in the physical sciences, at the level of undergraduate science, but it is not a textbook. The requisite derivations and worked examples are given but may be skim-read if desired. The author draws from Cornelius Lanczos's book "The Variational Principles of Mechanics" (1949 and 1970). Lanczos was a brilliant mathematician and educator, but his book was for a postgraduate audience. The present book is no mere copy with the difficult bits left out - it is original, and a popularization. It aims to explain ideas rather than achieve technical competence, and to show how Least Action leads into the whole of physics.

Theoretical Concepts in Physics

An Alternative View of Theoretical Reasoning in Physics

Author: Malcolm S. Longair

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 1107717582

Category: Science

Page: 588

View: 4803

A highly original, and truly novel, approach to theoretical reasoning in physics. This book illuminates the subject from the perspective of real physics as practised by research scientists. It is intended to be a supplement to the final years of an undergraduate course in physics and assumes that the reader has some grasp of university physics. By means of a series of seven case studies, the author conveys the excitement of research and discovery, highlighting the intellectual struggles to attain understanding of some of the most difficult concepts in physics. Case studies include the origins of Newton's law of gravitation, Maxwell's equations, mechanics and dynamics, linear and non-linear, thermodynamics and statistical physics, the origins of the concepts of quanta, special relativity, general relativity and cosmology. The approach is the same as that in the highly acclaimed first edition, but the text has been completely revised and many new topics introduced.

Float Your Boat!

The Evolution and Science of Sailing

Author: Mark Denny

Publisher: JHU Press

ISBN: 0801895685

Category: Science

Page: 280

View: 2481

Whether you are an inquisitive landlubber who has never set foot in a boat, a casual weekend sailor, or an old salt who lives for the sea, Float Your Boat! is an accessible guide to the physics of sailing.

Germ-line of the Gods - God Gametes 3 and The Entanglement and Decay of Planet Earth

Author: Robert Jameson

Publisher: Lulu Press, Inc

ISBN: 1326217968

Category: Self-Help

Page: N.A

View: 3302

The God Gametes theory challenges the Darwinian notion that natural selection could drive evolution of complex life forms. It holds that advanced civilisations inhabited earth prior to the rise of our own. That life on earth is part of the reproductive system of an external parent species and our human soul is the germ cell of a Father Being. The theory claims physical life on earth is the “soma”, suggesting it is designed to crash and burn. As a gamete, however, our consciousness has the potential to live on after the death of our bodies and the extinction of our species. We are part of a selective process and our objective should be to develop the qualities of character that will be useful and which will be retained by the “germ-line” of our parent species.

Perfect Form

Variational Principles, Methods, and Applications in Elementary Physics

Author: Don Stephen Lemons

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 9780691026633

Category: Science

Page: 117

View: 6166

What does the path taken by a ray of light share with the trajectory of a thrown baseball and the curve of a wheat stalk bending in the breeze? Each is the subject of a different study yet all are optimal shapes; light rays minimize travel time while a thrown baseball minimizes action. All natural curves and shapes, and many artificial ones, manifest such "perfect form" because physical principles can be expressed as a statement requiring some important physical quantity to be mathematically maximum, minimum, or stationary. Perfect Form introduces the basic "variational" principles of classical physics (least time, least potential energy, least action, and Hamilton's principle), develops the mathematical language most suited to their application (the calculus of variations), and presents applications from the physics usually encountered in introductory course sequences. The text gradually unfolds the physics and mathematics. While other treatments postulate Hamilton's principle and deduce all results from it, Perfect Form begins with the most plausible and restricted variational principles and develops more powerful ones through generalization. One selection of text and problems even constitutes a non-calculus of variations introduction to variational methods, while the mathematics more generally employed extends only to solving simple ordinary differential equations. Perfect Form is designed to supplement existing classical mechanics texts and to present variational principles and methods to students who approach the subject for the first time.

Gems of Geometry

Author: John Barnes

Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media

ISBN: 364230964X

Category: Mathematics

Page: 325

View: 2101

Based on a series of lectures for adult students, this lively and entertaining book proves that, far from being a dusty, dull subject, geometry is in fact full of beauty and fascination. The author's infectious enthusiasm is put to use in explaining many of the key concepts in the field, starting with the Golden Number and taking the reader on a geometrical journey via Shapes and Solids, through the Fourth Dimension, finishing up with Einstein's Theories of Relativity. Equally suitable as a gift for a youngster or as a nostalgic journey back into the world of mathematics for older readers, John Barnes' book is the perfect antidote for anyone whose maths lessons at school are a source of painful memories. Where once geometry was a source of confusion and frustration, Barnes brings enlightenment and entertainment. In this second edition, stimulated by recent lectures at Oxford, further material and extra illustrations have been added on many topics including Coloured Cubes, Chaos and Crystals.

Time Reborn

From the Crisis in Physics to the Future of the Universe

Author: Lee Smolin

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

ISBN: 0547511728

Category: Science

Page: 319

View: 1497

A theoretical physicist and author of the controversial best-seller The Trouble with Physics describes his new approach for thinking about the reality of time and explains his theory about the laws of physics not being timeless but rather capable of evolving.

The Lazy Universe

An Introduction to the Principle of Least Action

Author: Jennifer Coopersmith

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0191060720

Category: Science

Page: 272

View: 3402

This is a rare book on a rare topic: it is about 'action' and the Principle of Least Action. A surprisingly well-kept secret, these ideas are at the heart of physical science and engineering. Physics is well known as being concerned with grand conservatory principles (e.g. the conservation of energy) but equally important is the optimization principle (such as getting somewhere in the shortest time or with the least resistance). The book explains: why an optimization principle underlies physics, what action is, what `the Hamiltonian' is, and how new insights into energy, space, and time arise. It assumes some background in the physical sciences, at the level of undergraduate science, but it is not a textbook. The requisite derivations and worked examples are given but may be skim-read if desired. The author draws from Cornelius Lanczos's book "The Variational Principles of Mechanics" (1949 and 1970). Lanczos was a brilliant mathematician and educator, but his book was for a postgraduate audience. The present book is no mere copy with the difficult bits left out - it is original, and a popularization. It aims to explain ideas rather than achieve technical competence, and to show how Least Action leads into the whole of physics.

Re-Thinking Time at the Interface of Physics and Philosophy

The Forgotten Present

Author: Albrecht von Müller,Thomas Filk

Publisher: Springer

ISBN: 3319104462

Category: Science

Page: 274

View: 6144

The current volume of the Parmenides Series “On Thinking” addresses our deepest and most personal experience of the world, the experience of “the present,” from a modern perspective combining physics and philosophy. Many prominent researchers have contributed articles to the volume, in which they present models and express their opinions on and, in some cases, also their skepticism about the subject and how it may be (or may not be) addressed, as well as which aspects they consider most relevant in this context. While Einstein might have once hoped that “the present” would find its place in the theory of general relativity, in a later discussion with Carnap he expressed his disappointment that he was never able to achieve this goal. This collection of articles provides a unique overview of different modern approaches, representing not only a valuable summary for experts, but also a nearly inexhaustible source of profound and novel ideas for those who are simply interested in this question.

Electricity and Magnetism

Author: Benjamin Crowell

Publisher: Light and Matter

ISBN: 9780970467041

Category: Electricity

Page: 152

View: 5290

Galileo Unbound

A Path Across Life, the Universe and Everything

Author: David D. Nolte

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0192528505

Category: Science

Page: 384

View: 8027

Galileo Unbound traces the journey that brought us from Galileo's law of free fall to today's geneticists measuring evolutionary drift, entangled quantum particles moving among many worlds, and our lives as trajectories traversing a health space with thousands of dimensions. Remarkably, common themes persist that predict the evolution of species as readily as the orbits of planets or the collapse of stars into black holes. This book tells the history of spaces of expanding dimension and increasing abstraction and how they continue today to give new insight into the physics of complex systems. Galileo published the first modern law of motion, the Law of Fall, that was ideal and simple, laying the foundation upon which Newton built the first theory of dynamics. Early in the twentieth century, geometry became the cause of motion rather than the result when Einstein envisioned the fabric of space-time warped by mass and energy, forcing light rays to bend past the Sun. Possibly more radical was Feynman's dilemma of quantum particles taking all paths at once — setting the stage for the modern fields of quantum field theory and quantum computing. Yet as concepts of motion have evolved, one thing has remained constant, the need to track ever more complex changes and to capture their essence, to find patterns in the chaos as we try to predict and control our world.

Traveling at the Speed of Thought

Einstein and the Quest for Gravitational Waves

Author: Daniel Kennefick

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 1400882745

Category: Science

Page: 336

View: 5107

Since Einstein first described them nearly a century ago, gravitational waves have been the subject of more sustained controversy than perhaps any other phenomenon in physics. These as yet undetected fluctuations in the shape of space-time were first predicted by Einstein's general theory of relativity, but only now, at the dawn of the twenty-first century, are we on the brink of finally observing them. Daniel Kennefick's landmark book takes readers through the theoretical controversies and thorny debates that raged around the subject of gravitational waves after the publication of Einstein's theory. The previously untold story of how we arrived at a settled theory of gravitational waves includes a stellar cast from the front ranks of twentieth-century physics, including Richard Feynman, Hermann Bondi, John Wheeler, Kip Thorne, and Einstein himself, who on two occasions avowed that gravitational waves do not exist, changing his mind both times. The book derives its title from a famously skeptical comment made by Arthur Stanley Eddington in 1922--namely, that "gravitational waves propagate at the speed of thought." Kennefick uses the title metaphorically to contrast the individual brilliance of each of the physicists grappling with gravitational-wave theory against the frustratingly slow progression of the field as a whole. Accessibly written and impeccably researched, this book sheds new light on the trials and conflicts that have led to the extraordinary position in which we find ourselves today--poised to bring the story of gravitational waves full circle by directly confirming their existence for the very first time.

Physics Meets Philosophy at the Planck Scale

Contemporary Theories in Quantum Gravity

Author: Craig Callender,Nick Huggett

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 9780521664455

Category: Science

Page: 365

View: 5462

Was the first book to examine the exciting area of overlap between philosophy and quantum mechanics with chapters by leading experts from around the world.

Mind and Nature

Selected Writings on Philosophy, Mathematics, and Physics

Author: Hermann Weyl

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 9781400833320

Category: Mathematics

Page: 272

View: 2468

Hermann Weyl (1885-1955) was one of the twentieth century's most important mathematicians, as well as a seminal figure in the development of quantum physics and general relativity. He was also an eloquent writer with a lifelong interest in the philosophical implications of the startling new scientific developments with which he was so involved. Mind and Nature is a collection of Weyl's most important general writings on philosophy, mathematics, and physics, including pieces that have never before been published in any language or translated into English, or that have long been out of print. Complete with Peter Pesic's introduction, notes, and bibliography, these writings reveal an unjustly neglected dimension of a complex and fascinating thinker. In addition, the book includes more than twenty photographs of Weyl and his family and colleagues, many of which are previously unpublished. Included here are Weyl's exposition of his important synthesis of electromagnetism and gravitation, which Einstein at first hailed as "a first-class stroke of genius"; two little-known letters by Weyl and Einstein from 1922 that give their contrasting views on the philosophical implications of modern physics; and an essay on time that contains Weyl's argument that the past is never completed and the present is not a point. Also included are two book-length series of lectures, The Open World (1932) and Mind and Nature (1934), each a masterly exposition of Weyl's views on a range of topics from modern physics and mathematics. Finally, four retrospective essays from Weyl's last decade give his final thoughts on the interrelations among mathematics, philosophy, and physics, intertwined with reflections on the course of his rich life.

Order from Force

A Natural History of the Vacuum

Author: Jeffrey H Williams

Publisher: Morgan & Claypool Publishers

ISBN: 1681740494

Category: Science

Page: 155

View: 6087

The present theme concerns the forces of nature, and what investigations of these forces can tell us about the world we see about us. The story of these forces is long and complex, and contains many episodes that are not atypical of the bulk of scientific research, which could have achieved greater acclaim 'if only...'. The intention of this book is to introduce ideas of how the visible world, and those parts of it that we cannot observe, either because they are too small or too large for our scale of perception, can be understood by consideration of only a few fundamental forces. The subject in these pages will be the authority of the commonly termed, laws of physics, which arise from the forces of nature, and the corresponding constants of nature (for example, the speed of light, c, the charge of the electron, e, or the mass of the electron, me).

Discovering the Nanoscale

Author: Davis Baird,Alfred Nordmann,Joachim Schummer

Publisher: IOS Press

ISBN: 9781586034672

Category: Technology & Engineering

Page: 321

View: 5459

Science and engineering, industry and politics, environmentalists and transhumanists are Discovering the Nanoscale. Policy makers are demanding explicit consideration of ethical, legal and social aspects, and popular books are explaining the achievements and promises of nanoscience. It may therefore seem surprising that this is the first collection of studies that considers nanoscience and nanotechnologies from the critical perspective of Science and Technology Studies (STS). However, when one appreciates that such a critical perspective needs to be historically informed it often involves intimate acquaintance with the research process. Accordingly, this book on the historical, analytical, and ethical study of nanoscience and -technology has come together in a period of several years. Though it presents only first results, these results for the most part stem from sustained investigations of nanoscience and nanotechnologies and of the contexts that are shaping their development. Nanoscience and technologies are developing very quickly, and for this reason, both pose a challenge to the more reflective approach commonly taken by science studies, while at the same time requiring the perspective provided by science studies scholars. Many are convinced that nothing meaningful can be said about the social and ethical implications of nanotechnologies at this early stage, but one can already see what programmatic attitudes go into nanoscale research, what metaphors are shaping it, and what conception of nature is implicit in its vision. It is also often assumed that in order to consider all aspects of nanotechnologies it is sufficient to know a bit of the science and to have some ethical intuitions. This collection of papers establishes that one also needs to appreciate nanoscale research and development in the larger context of the changing relations of science, technology, and society.

The Trouble With Physics

The Rise of String Theory, the Fall of a Science, and What Comes Next

Author: Lee Smolin

Publisher: HMH

ISBN: 9780547348483

Category: Science

Page: 416

View: 7161

“A splendid, edifying report from the front lines of theorectical physics” (San Francisco Chronicle). In this illuminating book, renowned physicist Lee Smolin argues that fundamental physics—the search for the laws of nature—is losing its way. Ambitious ideas about extra dimensions, exotic particles, multiple universes, and strings have captured the public’s imagination—and the imagination of experts. But these ideas have not been tested experimentally, and some, like string theory, seem to offer no possibility of being tested. Even still, these speculations dominate the field, attracting the best talent and much of the funding, while creating a climate in which emerging physicists are often penalized for pursuing other avenues. The situation threatens to impede the very progress of science. With clarity, passion, and authority, Smolin offers an unblinking assessment of the troubles that face modern physics, and an encouraging view of where the search for the next big idea may lead. “The best book about contemporary science written for the layman that I have ever read.” —The Times (London)

Questioning the Foundations of Physics

Which of Our Fundamental Assumptions Are Wrong?

Author: Anthony Aguirre,Brendan Foster,Zeeya Merali

Publisher: Springer

ISBN: 3319130455

Category: Science

Page: 274

View: 8893

The essays in this book look at way in which the fundaments of physics might need to be changed in order to make progress towards a unified theory. They are based on the prize-winning essays submitted to the FQXi essay competition “Which of Our Basic Physical Assumptions Are Wrong?”, which drew over 270 entries. As Nobel Laureate physicist Philip W. Anderson realized, the key to understanding nature’s reality is not anything “magical”, but the right attitude, “the focus on asking the right questions, the willingness to try (and to discard) unconventional answers, the sensitive ear for phoniness, self-deception, bombast, and conventional but unproven assumptions.” The authors of the eighteen prize-winning essays have, where necessary, adapted their essays for the present volume so as to (a) incorporate the community feedback generated in the online discussion of the essays, (b) add new material that has come to light since their completion and (c) to ensure accessibility to a broad audience of readers with a basic grounding in physics. The Foundational Questions Institute, FQXi, catalyzes, supports, and disseminates research on questions at the foundations of physics and cosmology, particularly new frontiers and innovative ideas integral to a deep understanding of reality, but unlikely to be supported by conventional funding sources.