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The Perfect Theory

The Perfect Theory Author Pedro G. Ferreira
ISBN-10 9780547554907
Release 2014-02-04
Pages 288
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“One of the best popular accounts of how Einstein and his followers have been trying to explain the universe for decades” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review). Physicists have been exploring, debating, and questioning the general theory of relativity ever since Albert Einstein first presented it in 1915. This has driven their work to unveil the universe’s surprising secrets even further, and many believe more wonders remain hidden within the theory’s tangle of equations, waiting to be exposed. In this sweeping narrative of science and culture, an astrophysicist brings general relativity to life through the story of the brilliant physicists, mathematicians, and astronomers who have taken up its challenge. For these scientists, the theory has been both a treasure trove and an enigma. Einstein’s theory, which explains the relationships among gravity, space, and time, is possibly the most perfect intellectual achievement of modern physics—yet studying it has always been a controversial endeavor. Relativists were the target of persecution in Hitler’s Germany, hounded in Stalin’s Russia, and disdained in 1950s America. Even today, PhD students are warned that specializing in general relativity will make them unemployable. Still, general relativity has flourished, delivering key insights into our understanding of the origin of time and the evolution of all the stars and galaxies in the cosmos. Its adherents have revealed what lies at the farthest reaches of the universe, shed light on the smallest scales of existence, and explained how the fabric of reality emerges. Dark matter, dark energy, black holes, and string theory are all progeny of Einstein’s theory. In the midst of a momentous transformation in modern physics, as scientists look farther and more clearly into space than ever before, The Perfect Theory exposes the greater relevance of general relativity, showing us where it started, where it has led—and where it can still take us.

The Perfect Theory

The Perfect Theory Author Pedro G. Ferreira
ISBN-10 9780547554891
Release 2014
Pages 288
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A narrative chronicle of Einstein's theory of general relativity discusses the ideological battles that have surrounded it, exploring how the theory has been denounced, overlooked and embraced by forefront names in 20th-century physics throughout their collective effort to define the history of the universe. 25,000 first printing.

The Perfect Theory

The Perfect Theory Author Pedro G. Ferreira
ISBN-10 9780748124152
Release 2014-02-04
Pages 304
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Albert Einstein's General Theory of Relativity is possibly the most perfect intellectual achievement in modern physics. Anything that involves gravity, the force that powers everything on the largest, hottest or densest of scales, can be explained by it. From the moment Einstein first proposed the theory in 1915, it was received with enthusiasm yet also with tremendous resistance, and for the following ninety years was the source of a series of feuds, vendettas, ideological battles and persecutions featuring a colourful cast of characters. A gripping, vividly told story, A Perfect Theory entangles itself with the flashpoints of modern history and is the first complete popular history of the theory, showing how it has informed our understanding of exactly what the universe is made of and how much is still undiscovered: from the work of the giant telescopes in the deserts of Chile to our newest ideas about black holes and the Large Hadron Collider deep under French and Swiss soil.

The State of the Universe

The State of the Universe Author Pedro Ferreira
ISBN-10 9781780225296
Release 2012-10-18
Pages 320
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A masterly overview of the development of cosmological thinking from the Greeks, via Newton and Einstein, to the present day. It is science's last and greatest challenge: fathoming the depths of the night sky. The objective: to crack the cosmic code, to unravel the blueprint for nature's grandest conception, a machine constructed on an unimaginably vast scale - the Universe itself. Today's model of an expanding Universe - the big bang cosmology - is actually built on principles derived from a few simple mathematical equations. Gravity-warped space time, quantum mechanics, the physics of the subatomic, these crucial insights, stemming from Einstein's revolutionary theories of relativity, have led to a simple and elegant framework within which the whole of the Universe, over billions of years, has been described. But recent evidence has begun to make wrinkles in the neat fabric of the big bang cosmology. There is now overwhelming evidence that there is far more stuff in the Universe than we can see. What, and where, is this 'dark matter'? And it now appears that the expansion of the Universe is accelerating: something out there - some exotic 'dark energy' - is acting against gravity to push space and time apart. While offering a critical view of how all the pieces in our current model fit together, Pedro Ferreira argues that Einstein's Universe may be just another stepping stone towards a new, more profound and effective cosmology in the future.

Trespassing on Einstein s Lawn

Trespassing on Einstein s Lawn Author Amanda Gefter
ISBN-10 9780345539632
Release 2014-01-14
Pages 432
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NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY KIRKUS REVIEWS In a memoir of family bonding and cutting-edge physics for readers of Brian Greene’s The Hidden Reality and Jim Holt’s Why Does the World Exist?, Amanda Gefter tells the story of how she conned her way into a career as a science journalist—and wound up hanging out, talking shop, and butting heads with the world’s most brilliant minds. At a Chinese restaurant outside of Philadelphia, a father asks his fifteen-year-old daughter a deceptively simple question: “How would you define nothing?” With that, the girl who once tried to fail geometry as a conscientious objector starts reading up on general relativity and quantum mechanics, as she and her dad embark on a life-altering quest for the answers to the universe’s greatest mysteries. Before Amanda Gefter became an accomplished science writer, she was a twenty-one-year-old magazine assistant willing to sneak her and her father, Warren, into a conference devoted to their physics hero, John Wheeler. Posing as journalists, Amanda and Warren met Wheeler, who offered them cryptic clues to the nature of reality: The universe is a self-excited circuit, he said. And, The boundary of a boundary is zero. Baffled, Amanda and Warren vowed to decode the phrases—and with them, the enigmas of existence. When we solve all that, they agreed, we’ll write a book. Trespassing on Einstein’s Lawn is that book, a memoir of the impassioned hunt that takes Amanda and her father from New York to London to Los Alamos. Along the way, they bump up against quirky science and even quirkier personalities, including Leonard Susskind, the former Bronx plumber who invented string theory; Ed Witten, the soft-spoken genius who coined the enigmatic M-theory; even Stephen Hawking. What they discover is extraordinary: the beginnings of a monumental paradigm shift in cosmology, from a single universe we all share to a splintered reality in which each observer has her own. Reality, the Gefters learn, is radically observer-dependent, far beyond anything of which Einstein or the founders of quantum mechanics ever dreamed—with shattering consequences for our understanding of the universe’s origin. And somehow it all ties back to that conversation, to that Chinese restaurant, and to the true meaning of nothing. Throughout their journey, Amanda struggles to make sense of her own life—as her journalism career transforms from illusion to reality, as she searches for her voice as a writer, as she steps from a universe shared with her father to at last carve out one of her own. It’s a paradigm shift you might call growing up. By turns hilarious, moving, irreverent, and profound, Trespassing on Einstein’s Lawn weaves together story and science in remarkable ways. By the end, you will never look at the universe the same way again. Praise for Trespassing on Einstein’s Lawn “Nothing quite prepared me for this book. Wow. Reading it, I alternated between depression—how could the rest of us science writers ever match this?—and exhilaration.”—Scientific American “To Do: Read Trespassing on Einstein’s Lawn. Reality doesn’t have to bite.”—New York “A zany superposition of genres . . . It’s at once a coming-of-age chronicle and a father-daughter road trip to the far reaches of this universe and 10,500 others.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer From the Hardcover edition.

Serving the Reich

Serving the Reich Author Philip Ball
ISBN-10 9780226204574
Release 2014-10-20
Pages 303
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After World War II, most scientists in Germany maintained that they had been apolitical or actively resisted the Nazi regime, but the true story is much more complicated. In Serving the Reich, Philip Ball takes a fresh look at that controversial history, contrasting the career of Peter Debye, director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physics in Berlin, with those of two other leading physicists in Germany during the Third Reich: Max Planck, the elder statesman of physics after whom Germany’s premier scientific society is now named, and Werner Heisenberg, who succeeded Debye as director of the institute when it became focused on the development of nuclear power and weapons. Mixing history, science, and biography, Ball’s gripping exploration of the lives of scientists under Nazism offers a powerful portrait of moral choice and personal responsibility, as scientists navigated “the grey zone between complicity and resistance.” Ball’s account of the different choices these three men and their colleagues made shows how there can be no clear-cut answers or judgement of their conduct. Yet, despite these ambiguities, Ball makes it undeniable that the German scientific establishment as a whole mounted no serious resistance to the Nazis, and in many ways acted as a willing instrument of the state. Serving the Reich considers what this problematic history can tell us about the relationship of science and politics today. Ultimately, Ball argues, a determination to present science as an abstract inquiry into nature that is “above politics” can leave science and scientists dangerously compromised and vulnerable to political manipulation.

Einstein s Theory of Relativity

Einstein s Theory of Relativity Author Max Born
ISBN-10 9780486142128
Release 2012-05-23
Pages 400
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Semi-technical account includes a review of classical physics (origin of space and time measurements, Ptolemaic and Copernican astronomy, laws of motion, inertia, more) and of Einstein's theories of relativity.

Physics on the Fringe

Physics on the Fringe Author Margaret Wertheim
ISBN-10 9780802778734
Release 2011-11-01
Pages 336
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For the past fifteen years, acclaimed science writer Margaret Wertheim has been collecting the works of "outsider physicists," many without formal training and all convinced that they have found true alternative theories of the universe. Jim Carter, the Einstein of outsiders, has developed his own complete theory of matter and energy and gravity that he demonstrates with experiments in his backyard,-with garbage cans and a disco fog machine he makes smoke rings to test his ideas about atoms. Captivated by the imaginative power of his theories and his resolutely DIY attitude, Wertheim has been following Carter's progress for the past decade. Centuries ago, natural philosophers puzzled out the laws of nature using the tools of observation and experimentation. Today, theoretical physics has become mathematically inscrutable, accessible only to an elite few. In rejecting this abstraction, outsider theorists insist that nature speaks a language we can all understand. Through a profoundly human profile of Jim Carter, Wertheim's exploration of the bizarre world of fringe physics challenges our conception of what science is, how it works, and who it is for.

Edge of the Universe

Edge of the Universe Author Paul Halpern
ISBN-10 9781118220825
Release 2012-09-10
Pages 240
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An accessible look at the mysteries that lurk at the edge of the known universe and beyond The observable universe, the part we can see with telescopes, is incredibly vast. Yet recent theories suggest that there is far more to the universe than what our instruments record—in fact, it could be infinite. Colossal flows of galaxies, large empty regions called voids, and other unexplained phenomena offer clues that our own "bubble universe" could be part of a greater realm called the multiverse. How big is the observable universe? What it is made of? What lies beyond it? Was there a time before the Big Bang? Could space have unseen dimensions? In this book, physicist and science writer Paul Halpern explains what we know—and what we hope to soon find out—about our extraordinary cosmos. Explains what we know about the Big Bang, the accelerating universe, dark energy, dark flow, and dark matter to examine some of the theories about the content of the universe and why its edge is getting farther away from us faster Explores the idea that the observable universe could be a hologram and that everything that happens within it might be written on its edge Written by physicist and popular science writer Paul Halpern, whose other books include Collider: The Search for the World's Smallest Particles, and What's Science Ever Done For Us: What the Simpsons Can Teach Us About Physics, Robots, Life, and the Universe

The Island of Knowledge

The Island of Knowledge Author Marcelo Gleiser
ISBN-10 9780465031719
Release 2014
Pages 335
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A natural philosophy expert who is also a physics and astronomy professor discusses the limits of scientific explanations and how our knowledge of the universe and its nature will always remain necessarily incomplete. 15,000 first printing.

Einstein Relatively Simple

Einstein Relatively Simple Author Ira Mark Egdall
ISBN-10 9789814525619
Release 2014-01-06
Pages 400
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"Outstanding Academic Title for 2014" by CHOICE Einstein Relatively Simple brings together for the first time an exceptionally clear explanation of both special and general relativity. It is for people who always wanted to understand Einstein's ideas but never thought they could. Told with humor, enthusiasm, and rare clarity, this entertaining book reveals how a former high school drop-out revolutionized our understanding of space and time. From E=mc2 and everyday time travel to black holes and the big bang, Einstein Relatively Simple takes us all, regardless of our scientific backgrounds, on a mind-boggling journey through the depths of Einstein's universe. Along the way, we track Einstein through the perils and triumphs of his life — follow his thinking, his logic, and his insights — and chronicle the audacity, imagination, and sheer genius of the man recognized as the greatest scientist of the modern era. In Part I on special relativity we learn how time slows and space shrinks with motion, and how mass and energy are equivalent. Part II on general relativity reveals a cosmos where black holes trap light and stop time, where wormholes form gravitational time machines, where space itself is continually expanding, and where some 13.7 billion years ago our universe was born in the ultimate cosmic event — the Big Bang. Contents:Einstein Discovered: Special Relativity, E = mc2,and Spacetime:From Unknown to RevolutionaryThe Great ConflictThe Two PostulatesA New RealityThe Shrinking of TimeSimultaneity and the Squeezing of SpaceThe World's Most Famous EquationSpacetimeEinstein Revealed: General Relativity, Gravity, and the Cosmos:Einstein's Dream“The Happiest Thought of My Life”The Warping of Space and TimeStitching SpacetimeWhat is Spacetime Curvature?Einstein's MasterpieceThe Universe RevealedIn the Beginning Readership: Adults and young people all over the world who are curious about Einstein and how the universe works. Keywords:Einstein;Relativity;Special Relativity;General Relativity;Spacetime;Big Bang;Black Holes;Expansion of Space;Time Travel;E=mc2;Universe;Cosmos;Time Dilation;Length Contraction;Wormholes;Light Postulate;Length Contraction;Gravitational Time Dilation;Time Warp;Space Warp;Relativity Postulate;Lorentz Transformation;Light Clock;Relativity of Simultaneity;Twins Paradox;Equivalence Principle;Gravity;Spacetime Curvature;Spacetime Interval;Gaussian Co-Ordinates;Geodesic;Momenergy;The Einstein Equation;Schwarzschild Geometry;Bending of Starlight;Frame Dragging;Cosmic Microwave Background;Geometry of Universe;Flat Universe;Critical Density;Dark Matter;Dark Energy;Future of UniverseKey Features:Einstein Relatively Simple is the definitive book on Einstein's theories for the lay reader — one that is fun to read, comprehensive, and most important, understandableEinstein's ideas are explained in everyday languageThe book devotes eight chapters to special and a full eight chapters to general relativity. Most popular science books give general relativity only a brief mention or ignore it altogetherReviews: “This general relativity theory changed our views on the origin and on the ending (if any) of the universe … all topics that tickle the imagination of a general public and Egdall, bringing the reader to the point beyond general relativity, does not miss the opportunity to end his guided tour with a sparkling firework of these issues … it is an entertaining introduction for the layman, that brings the reader a very long way.” The European Mathematical Society “He covers the main topics of special and general relativity in a refreshing, personal way. This is a well-crafted, well-documented text with extensive endnotes, in which a bibliography is embedded. He introduces readers to his own unique entry into this very populous genre. Valuable for inquisitive nonscientists.” CHOICE “I'm crazy about it. It's the best presentation of relativity for non-scientists that I've seen.” Art Hobson Professor Emeritus of Physics University of Arkansas "The writing is jovial and energetic and holds the reader's attention. This book is a nice introduction to modern physics, with a great biography of Einstein included. This book is recommended for a lay reader with basic algebra skills; high school and beginning college physics students would find it easily accessible." Zentralblatt MATH

Einstein Defiant

Einstein Defiant Author Edmund Blair Bolles
ISBN-10 9780309167819
Release 2004-04-09
Pages 356
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"I find the idea quite intolerable that an electron exposed to radiation should choose of its own free will, not only its moment to jump off, but also its direction. In that case, I would rather be a cobbler, or even an employee in a gaming house, than a physicist." -Albert Einstein A scandal hovers over the history of 20th century physics. Albert Einstein -- the century's greatest physicist -- was never able to come to terms with quantum mechanics, the century's greatest theoretical achievement. For physicists who routinely use both quantum laws and Einstein's ideas, this contradiction can be almost too embarrassing to dwell on. Yet Einstein was one of the founders of quantum physics and he spent many years preaching the quantum's importance and its revolutionary nature. The Danish genius Neils Bohr was another founder of quantum physics. He had managed to solve one of the few physics problems that Einstein ever shied away from, linking quantum mathematics with a new model of the atom. This leap immediately yielded results that explained electron behavior and the periodic table of the elements. Despite their mutual appreciation of the quantum's importance, these two giants of modern physics never agreed on the fundamentals of their work. In fact, they clashed repeatedly throughout the 1920s, arguing first over Einstein's theory of "light quanta"(photons), then over Niels Bohr's short-lived theory that denied the conservation of energy at the quantum level, and climactically over the new quantum mechanics that Bohr enthusiastically embraced and Einstein stubbornly defied. This contest of visions stripped the scientific imagination naked. Einstein was a staunch realist, demanding to know the physical reasons behind physical events. At odds with this approach was Bohr's more pragmatic perspective that favored theories that worked, even if he might not have a corresponding explanation of the underlying reality. Powerful and illuminating, Einstein Defiant is the first book to capture the soul and the science that inspired this dramatic duel, revealing the personalities and the passions -- and, in the end, what was at stake for the world.

Why Information Grows

Why Information Grows Author Cesar Hidalgo
ISBN-10 9780465039715
Release 2015-06-02
Pages 256
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What is economic growth? And why, historically, has it occurred in only a few places? Previous efforts to answer these questions have focused on institutions, geography, finances, and psychology. But according to MIT’s antidisciplinarian César Hidalgo, understanding the nature of economic growth demands transcending the social sciences and including the natural sciences of information, networks, and complexity. To understand the growth of economies, Hidalgo argues, we first need to understand the growth of order. At first glance, the universe seems hostile to order. Thermodynamics dictates that over time, order—or information—disappears. Whispers vanish in the wind just like the beauty of swirling cigarette smoke collapses into disorderly clouds. But thermodynamics also has loopholes that promote the growth of information in pockets. Although cities are all pockets where information grows, they are not all the same. For every Silicon Valley, Tokyo, and Paris, there are dozens of places with economies that accomplish little more than pulling rocks out of the ground. So, why does the US economy outstrip Brazil’s, and Brazil’s that of Chad? Why did the technology corridor along Boston’s Route 128 languish while Silicon Valley blossomed? In each case, the key is how people, firms, and the networks they form make use of information. Seen from Hidalgo’s vantage, economies become distributed computers, made of networks of people, and the problem of economic development becomes the problem of making these computers more powerful. By uncovering the mechanisms that enable the growth of information in nature and society, Why Information Grows lays bear the origins of physical order and economic growth. Situated at the nexus of information theory, physics, sociology, and economics, this book propounds a new theory of how economies can do not just more things, but more interesting things.

Simply Einstein Relativity Demystified

Simply Einstein  Relativity Demystified Author Richard Wolfson
ISBN-10 9780393242188
Release 2003-11-17
Pages 288
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With this reader-friendly book, it doesn't take an Einstein to understand the theory of relativity and its remarkable consequences. In clear, understandable terms, physicist Richard Wolfson explores the ideas at the heart of relativity and shows how they lead to such seeming absurdities as time travel, curved space, black holes, and new meaning for the idea of past and future. Drawing from years of teaching modern physics to nonscientists, Wolfson explains in a lively, conversational style the simple principles underlying Einstein's theory. Relativity, Wolfson shows, gave us a new view of space and time, opening the door to questions about their flexible nature: Is the universe finite or infinite? Will it expand forever or eventually collapse in a "big crunch"? Is time travel possible? What goes on inside a black hole? How does gravity really work? These questions at the forefront of twenty-first-century physics are all rooted in the profound and sweeping vision of Albert Einstein's early twentieth-century theory. Wolfson leads his readers on an intellectual journey that culminates in a universe made almost unimaginably rich by the principles that Einstein first discovered.

Einstein s Masterwork 1915 and the General Theory of Relativity

Einstein s Masterwork  1915 and the General Theory of Relativity Author John Gribbin
ISBN-10 9781681772653
Release 2016-09-06
Pages 240
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One of the world's most celebrated science writers reveals the origins of Einstein's General Theory—and provides a greater understanding of who Einstein was at the time of this pivotal achievement. In 1915, Albert Einstein presented his masterwork to the Prussian Academy of Sciences—a theory of gravity, matter, space and time: the General Theory of Relativity. Einstein himself said it was “the most valuable theory of my life,” and “of incomparable beauty.” It describes the evolution of the universe, black holes, the behavior of orbiting neutron stars, and why clocks run slower on the surface of the earth than in space. It even suggests the possibility of time travel. And yet when we think of Einstein's breakthrough year, we think instead of 1905, the year of Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity and his equation E=mc2, as his annus mirabilis, even though the Special Theory has a narrower focus. Today the General Theory is overshadowed by these achievements, regarded as 'too difficult' for ordinary mortals to comprehend. In Einstein's Masterwork, John Gribbin puts Einstein's astonishing breakthrough in the context of his life and work, and makes it clear why his greatest year was indeed 1915 and his General Theory his true masterpiece.

General Relativity

General Relativity Author Robert M. Wald
ISBN-10 0226870375
Release 2010-05-15
Pages 506
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"Wald's book is clearly the first textbook on general relativity with a totally modern point of view; and it succeeds very well where others are only partially successful. The book includes full discussions of many problems of current interest which are not treated in any extant book, and all these matters are considered with perception and understanding."—S. Chandrasekhar "A tour de force: lucid, straightforward, mathematically rigorous, exacting in the analysis of the theory in its physical aspect."—L. P. Hughston, Times Higher Education Supplement "Truly excellent. . . . A sophisticated text of manageable size that will probably be read by every student of relativity, astrophysics, and field theory for years to come."—James W. York, Physics Today


Uncertainty Author David Lindley
ISBN-10 9780307389480
Release 2008-02-12
Pages 272
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The gripping, entertaining, and vividly-told narrative of a radical discovery that sent shockwaves through the scientific community and forever changed the way we understand the world. Werner Heisenberg’s “uncertainty principle” challenged centuries of scientific understanding, placed him in direct opposition to Albert Einstein, and put Niels Bohr in the middle of one of the most heated debates in scientific history. Heisenberg’s theorem stated that there were physical limits to what we could know about sub-atomic particles; this “uncertainty” would have shocking implications. In a riveting and lively account, David Lindley captures this critical episode and explains one of the most important scientific discoveries in history, which has since transcended the boundaries of science and influenced everything from literary theory to television.