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|The Particle at the End of the Universe: How the Hunt for the Higgs Boson Leads Us to the Edge of a New World
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Author: Sean Carroll
Winner of the prestigious 2013 Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books
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 openingafter billions of dollars and the efforts of thousands of researchers at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerlandinto 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 physicsall grippingly told by a rising star of science writing.
|The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory
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Author: Brian Greene
The international bestseller that inspired a major Nova special and sparked a new understanding of the universe, now with a new preface and epilogue.Brian Greene, one of the world's leading string theorists, peels away layers of mystery to reveal a universe that consists of eleven dimensions, where the fabric of space tears and repairs itself, and all matter—from the smallest quarks to the most gargantuan supernovas—is generated by the vibrations of microscopically tiny loops of energy. The Elegant Universe makes some of the most sophisticated concepts ever contemplated accessible and thoroughly entertaining, bringing us closer than ever to understanding how the universe works.
There is an ill-concealed skeleton in the closet of physics: "As they are currently formulated, general relativity and quantum mechanics cannot both be right." Each is exceedingly accurate in its field: general relativity explains the behavior of the universe at large scales, while quantum mechanics describes the behavior of subatomic particles. Yet the theories collide horribly under extreme conditions such as black holes or times close to the big bang. Brian Greene, a specialist in quantum field theory, believes that the two pillars of physics can be reconciled in superstring theory, a theory of everything.
Superstring theory has been called "a part of 21st-century physics that fell by chance into the 20th century." In other words, it isn't all worked out yet. Despite the uncertainties--"string theorists work to find approximate solutions to approximate equations"--Greene gives a tour of string theory solid enough to satisfy the scientifically literate.
Though Ed Witten of the Institute for Advanced Study is in many ways the human hero of The Elegant Universe, it is not a human-side-of-physics story. Greene's focus throughout is the science, and he gives the nonspecialist at least an illusion of understanding--or the sense of knowing what it is that you don't know. And that is traditionally the first step on the road to knowledge. --Mary Ellen Curtin
|QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter (Princeton Science Library)
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Author: Richard P. Feynman
Celebrated for his brilliantly quirky insights into the physical world, Nobel laureate Richard Feynman also possessed an extraordinary talent for explaining difficult concepts to the general public. Here Feynman provides a classic and definitive introduction to QED (namely quantum electrodynamics), that part of quantum field theory describing the interactions of light with charged particles. Using everyday language, spatial concepts, visualizations, and his renowned "Feynman diagrams" instead of advanced mathematics, Feynman clearly and humorously communicates both the substance and spirit of QED to the layperson. A. Zee's new introduction places both Feynman's book and his seminal contribution to QED in historical context and further highlights Feynman's uniquely appealing and illuminating style.
|The Making of the Atomic Bomb: 25th Anniversary Edition
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Author: Richard Rhodes
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award
TWENTY-FIVE YEARS after its initial publication, The Making of the Atomic Bomb remains the seminal and complete story of how the bomb was developed, from the turn-of-the-century discovery of the vast energy locked inside the atom to the dropping of the first bombs on Japan.
Few great discoveries have evolved so swiftly—or have been so misunderstood. From the theoretical discussions of nuclear energy to the bright glare of Trinity, there was a span of hardly more than twenty-five years. What began as merely an interesting speculative problem in physics grew into the Manhattan Project, and then into the bomb, with frightening rapidity, while scientists known only to their peers—Szilard, Teller, Oppenheimer, Bohr, Meitner, Fermi, Lawrence, and von Neumann—stepped from their ivory towers into the limelight.
Richard Rhodes gives the definitive story of man’s most awesome discovery and invention. Told in rich human, political, and scientific detail, The Making of the Atomic Bomb is a narrative tour de force and a document with literary power commensurate with its subject.
If the first 270 pages of this book had been published separately, they would have made up a lively, insightful, beautifully written history of theoretical physics and the men and women who plumbed the mysteries of the atom. Along with the following 600 pages, they become a sweeping epic, filled with terror and pity, of the ultimate scientific quest: the development of the ultimate weapon. Rhodes is a peerless explainer of difficult concepts; he is even better at chronicling the personalities who made the discoveries that led to the Bomb. Niels Bohr dominates the first half of the book as J. Robert Oppenheimer does the second; both men were gifted philosophers of science as well as brilliant physicists. The central irony of this book, which won a National Book Critics Circle Award, is that the greatest minds of the century contributed to the greatest destructive force in history.
|The Feynman Lectures on Physics, Vol. I: The New Millennium Edition: Mainly Mechanics, Radiation, and Heat (Volume 1)
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Author: Richard P. Feynman
The whole thing was basically an experiment,” Richard Feynman said late in his career, looking back on the origins of his lectures. The experiment turned out to be hugely successful, spawning publications that have remained definitive and introductory to physics for decades. Ranging from the basic principles of Newtonian physics through such formidable theories as general relativity and quantum mechanics, Feynman’s lectures stand as a monument of clear exposition and deep insight.
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.
|Introduction to Elementary Particles
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Author: David Griffiths
In the second, revised edition of a well-established textbook, the author strikes a balance between quantitative rigor and intuitive understanding, using a lively, informal style. The first chapter provides a detailed historical introduction to the subject, while subsequent chapters offer a quantitative presentation of the Standard Model. A simplified introduction to the Feynman rules, based on a "toy" model, helps readers learn the calculational techniques without the complications of spin. It is followed by accessible treatments of quantum electrodynamics, the strong and weak interactions, and gauge theories. New chapters address neutrino oscillations and prospects for physics beyond the Standard Model. The book contains a number of worked examples and many end-of-chapter problems. A complete solution manual is available for instructors.
|Trinity: A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb
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Author: Jonathan Fetter-Vorm
“Succeeds as both a graphic primer and a philosophical meditation.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Trinity, the debut graphic book by Jonathan Fetter-Vorm, depicts the dramatic history of the race to build and the decision to drop the first atomic bomb in World War Two. This sweeping historical narrative traces the spark of invention from the laboratories of nineteenth-century Europe to the massive industrial and scientific efforts of the Manhattan Project, and even transports the reader into a nuclear reaction—into the splitting atoms themselves.
The power of the atom was harnessed in a top-secret government compound in Los Alamos, New Mexico, by a group of brilliant scientists led by the enigmatic wunderkind J. Robert Oppenheimer. Focused from the start on the monumentally difficult task of building an atomic weapon, these men and women soon began to wrestle with the moral implications of actually succeeding. When they detonated the first bomb at a test site code-named Trinity, they recognized that they had irreversibly thrust the world into a new and terrifying age.
With powerful renderings of the catastrophic events at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Fetter-Vorm unflinchingly chronicles the far-reaching political, environmental, and psychological effects of this new invention. Informative and thought-provoking, Trinity is the ideal introduction to one of the most significant events in history.
|American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer
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Author: Kai Bird
J. Robert Oppenheimer is one of the iconic figures of the twentieth century, a brilliant physicist who led the effort to build the atomic bomb for his country in a time of war, and who later found himself confronting the moral consequences of scientific progress. In this magisterial, acclaimed biography twenty-five years in the making, Kai Bird and Martin Sherwin capture Oppenheimer’s life and times, from his early career to his central role in the Cold War. This is biography and history at its finest, riveting and deeply informative.
In American Prometheus, Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin delve deep into J. Robert Oppenheimer's life and deliver a thorough and devastatingly sad biography of the man whose very name has come to represent the culmination of 20th century physics and the irrevocable soiling of science by governments eager to exploit its products. Rich in historical detail and personal narratives, the book paints a picture of Oppenheimer as both a controlling force and victim of the mechanisms of power.
By the time the story reaches Oppenheimer's fateful Manhattan Project work, readers have been swept along much as the project's young physicists were by fate and enormous pressure. The authors allow the scientists to speak for themselves about their reactions to the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, avoiding any sort of preacherly tone while revealing the utter, horrible ambiguity of the situation. For instance, Oppenheimer wrote in a letter to a friend, "The thing had to be done," then, "Circumstances are heavy with misgiving."
Many biographies of Oppenheimer end here, with the seeds of his later pacifism sown and the dangers of mixing science with politics clearly outlined. But Bird and Sherwin devote the second half of this hefty book to what happened to Oppenheimer after the bomb. For a short time, he was lionized as the ultimate patriot by a victorious nation, but things soured as the Cold War crept forward and anti-communist witchhunts focused paranoia and anti-Semitism onto Oppenheimer, destroying his career and disillusioning him about his life's work. Devastated by the atom bomb's legacy of fear, he became a vocal and passionate opponent of the Strangelovian madness that gripped the world because of the weapons he helped develop.
Twenty-five years of research went into creating American Prometheus, and there has never been a more honest and complete biography of this tragic scientific giant. The many great ironies of Oppenheimer's life are revealed through the careful reconstruction of a wealth of records, conversations, and ideas, leaving the clearest picture yet of his life. --Therese Littleton
|Principles of Quantum Mechanics, 2nd Edition
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Author: R. Shankar
Reviews from the First Edition:
"An excellent text … The postulates of quantum mechanics and the mathematical underpinnings are discussed in a clear, succinct manner." (American Scientist)
"No matter how gently one introduces students to the concept of Dirac’s bras and kets, many are turned off. Shankar attacks the problem head-on in the first chapter, and in a very informal style suggests that there is nothing to be frightened of." (Physics Bulletin)
Reviews of the Second Edition:
"This massive text of 700 and odd pages has indeed an excellent get-up, is very verbal and expressive, and has extensively worked out calculational details---all just right for a first course. The style is conversational, more like a corridor talk or lecture notes, though arranged as a text. … It would be particularly useful to beginning students and those in allied areas like quantum chemistry." (Mathematical Reviews)
R. Shankar has introduced major additions and updated key presentations in this second edition of Principles of Quantum Mechanics. New features of this innovative text include an entirely rewritten mathematical introduction, a discussion of Time-reversal invariance, and extensive coverage of a variety of path integrals and their applications. Additional highlights include:
- Clear, accessible treatment of underlying mathematics
- A review of Newtonian, Lagrangian, and Hamiltonian mechanics
- Student understanding of quantum theory is enhanced by separate treatment of mathematical theorems and physical postulates
- Unsurpassed coverage of path integrals and their relevance in contemporary physics
The requisite text for advanced undergraduate- and graduate-level students, Principles of Quantum Mechanics, Second Edition is fully referenced and is supported by many exercises and solutions. The book’s self-contained chapters also make it suitable for independent study as well as for courses in applied disciplines.
|Beyond the God Particle
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Author: Leon M. Lederman
Two leading physicists discuss the importance of the Higgs Boson, the future of particle physics, and the mysteries of the universe yet to be unraveled.
On July 4, 2012, the long-sought Higgs Boson--aka "the God Particle"--was discovered at the world's largest particle accelerator, the LHC, in Geneva, Switzerland. On March 14, 2013, physicists at CERN confirmed it. This elusive subatomic particle forms a field that permeates the entire universe, creating the masses of the elementary particles that are the basic building blocks of everything in the known world--from viruses to elephants, from atoms to quasars.
Starting where Nobel Laureate Leon Lederman's bestseller The God Particle left off, this incisive new book explains what's next. Lederman and Hill discuss key questions that will occupy physicists for years to come:
* Why were scientists convinced that something like the "God Particle" had to exist?
* What new particles, forces, and laws of physics lie beyond the "God Particle"?
* What powerful new accelerators are now needed for the US to recapture a leadership role in science and to reach "beyond the God Particle," such as Fermilab's planned Project-X and the Muon Collider?
Using thoughtful, witty, everyday language, the authors show how all of these intriguing questions are leading scientists ever deeper into the fabric of nature. Readers of The God Particle will not want to miss this important sequel.
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