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Six Roads from Newton: Great Discoveries in Physics

by Speyer, Edward

  • ISBN: 9780471305033
  • ISBN10: 0471305030

Six Roads from Newton: Great Discoveries in Physics

by Speyer, Edward

  • List Price: $22.95
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Edition: 1
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
  • Publish date: 01/01/2009
  • ISBN: 9780471305033
  • ISBN10: 0471305030
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Description: Isaac Newton's discovery of his famous laws of physics forever shattered the medieval picture of the cosmos, laying the foundations for all the great discoveries in physics since. We are now in the midst of another monumental scientific revolution, set in motion by the discoveries of the relativity of time and quantum acausality at the beginning of this century. The "Great Clockwork" view of the universe based on Newton's laws has been radically challenged, altering once again our concept of the cosmos and mankind's place in it. To understand where physics is heading today and how fundamentally the Newtonian world has been shattered, Edward Speyer takes us on a trip down the main roads physics has traveled since Newton's time. Six Roads from Newton is a lively tour through six important theoretical developments in physics: wave theory, field theory, statistical physics, special relativity, quantum theory, and general relativity. Requiring no advanced mathematics, this book makes all crucial concepts of both Newtonian and non-Newtonian physics extraordinarily accessible to nonscientists, even the mind-boggling world of quantum theory. Your tour begins in seventeenth century England with an introduction to Isaac Newton and his laws of space, time, and motion. Advancing chronologically, Edward Speyer takes you through each of the monumental breakthroughs that have occurred since. He demonstrates how each development has either built on or challenged Newton's work, and in the case of quantum theory, forced a thorough reexamination of even the most basic of Newtonian principles. To help you to make sense of some of the knottier concepts and controversies, Speyer provides dozens of cogentreal-world examples, as well as a few of the playfully bizarre mind-benders physicists have dreamed up to test their theories, such as The Twin Paradox, Einstein's Man in the Elevator, and the deliciously diabolical, Schrodinger's Cat. In the final chapter, Edward Speyer makes an intriguing foray into the most perplexing moral, ethical, and philosophical "Big Questions" raised by modern science and speculates on what the future may hold. A delightfully clear and entertaining journey through nearly three centuries of scientific discovery, Six Roads from Newton offers nonscientists an unparalleled opportunity to explore the strange and fascinating world of modern physics.
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