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Matter of Degrees: What Temperature Reveals about the Past and Future of Our Species, Planet, and Universe / Edition 1
     

Matter of Degrees: What Temperature Reveals about the Past and Future of Our Species, Planet, and Universe / Edition 1

by Gino Segre
 

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ISBN-10: 014200278X

ISBN-13: 2900142002789

Pub. Date: 07/01/2003

Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group

In a wonderful synthesis of science, history, and imagination, Gino Segre, an internationally renowned theoretical physicist, embarks on a wide-ranging exploration of how the fundamental scientific concept of temperature is bound up with the very essence of both life and matter. Why is the internal temperature of most mammals fixed near 98.6 degrees How do geologists

Overview

In a wonderful synthesis of science, history, and imagination, Gino Segre, an internationally renowned theoretical physicist, embarks on a wide-ranging exploration of how the fundamental scientific concept of temperature is bound up with the very essence of both life and matter. Why is the internal temperature of most mammals fixed near 98.6 degrees How do geologists use temperature to track the history of our planet Why is the quest for absolute zero and its quantum mechanical significance the key to understanding superconductivity And what can we learn from neutrinos, the subatomic "messages from the sun" that may hold the key to understanding the birth -- and death -- of our solar system In answering these and hundreds of other temperature-sensitive questions, Segre presents an uncanny view of the world around us.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
2900142002789
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
07/01/2003
Edition description:
Reissue
Pages:
320

Table of Contents

Introduction: the Ruler, the Clock, and the Thermometerxi
Chapter 198.61
Constant Temperature4
Into the Sahara10
Into the Antarctic18
When Things Go Wrong25
Shocks from Heat33
Chapter 2Measure for Measure41
The First Sparks42
The Thermometer's Four Inventors48
The Count from Massachusetts58
Steam Power64
Thermodynamics' Three Laws71
Entropy and Life76
Chapter 3Reading the Earth80
Copernicus's Harmony86
The Minister, the Lawyer, and the Fossil Fish Expert92
Cycles of Ice97
The Tundra's Bloom102
El Nino, Old and New107
Greenhouse Effect: The Basic Science111
Greenhouse Effect: The History118
Greenhouse Effect: The Politics126
Chapter 4Life in the Extremes131
Barton and Beebe's Bathysphere132
Clambake I: Hydrothermal Vents140
Some Like It Hot148
Snowball Earth154
The Third Branch of Life161
Melting the Earth165
Extraterrestrial Life172
Life Under Two Miles of Ice177
Chapter 5Messages from the Sun183
At the Core184
Cosmic Gall189
A Thermal Aside: Gamow, Rutherford, and Nuclear Barriers196
A Star Is Born200
Black Holes and Little Green Men205
The Founding Elements: Hydrogen and Helium212
Three-Degree Photons, Two-Degree Neutrinos215
The Big Bang and the Big Crunch222
Chapter 6The Quantum Leap227
Faraday's Perfect Gases229
The Last Liquid234
Superconductivity241
Duality, Exclusion, and Uncertainty248
The Low-Temperature World255
Einstein's Refrigerator259
Chandra's Journey265
Into the Future272
References275
Acknowledgments293
Index295

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