Black Bodies and Quantum Cats: Tales from the Annals of Physics

Black Bodies and Quantum Cats: Tales from the Annals of Physics

by Jennifer Ouellette
     
 

Physics, once known as "natural philosophy," is the most basic science, explaining the world we live in, from the largest scale down to the very, very, very smallest, and our understanding of it has changed over many centuries. In Black Bodies and Quantum Cats, science writer Jennifer Ouellette traces key developments in the field,

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Overview

Physics, once known as "natural philosophy," is the most basic science, explaining the world we live in, from the largest scale down to the very, very, very smallest, and our understanding of it has changed over many centuries. In Black Bodies and Quantum Cats, science writer Jennifer Ouellette traces key developments in the field, setting descriptions of the fundamentals of physics in their historical context as well as against a broad cultural backdrop. Newton’s laws are illustrated via the film Addams Family Values, while Back to the Future demonstrates the finer points of special relativity. Poe’s "The Purloined Letter" serves to illuminate the mysterious nature of neutrinos, and Jeanette Winterson’s novel Gut Symmetries provides an elegant metaphorical framework for string theory. An enchanting and edifying read, Black Bodies and Quantum Cats shows that physics is not an arcane field of study but a profoundly human endeavor—and a fundamental part of our everyday world.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780143036036
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
12/27/2005
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
914,217
Product dimensions:
5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.65(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Table of Contents

Foreword
1Renaissance man : 1509 : publication of de divina proportione1
2Talkin' 'bout a revolution : 1542 : publication of de revolutionibus9
3Lens crafters : circa 1590 : invention of the microscope18
4Good heavens : January 7, 1610 : Galileo discovers moons of Jupiter26
5Gravity's guru : July 1687 : publication of Newton's principia34
6Drawing down the fire : June 1752 : Franklin's kite experiment43
7Trompe l'Oeil : 1807 : invention of the camera Lucida51
8Rules of attraction : 1820 : first evidence of electromagnetism60
9Ingenious engines : circa 1840s : Babbage's analytical engine67
10Emperors of the air : September 24, 1852 : first dirigible takes flight74
11Disorderly conduct : June 1871 : Maxwell and his demon82
12Queens of science : November 1872 : death of Mary Somerville89
13Calling Mister Watson : March 10, 1876 : first documented transmission of human speech96
14Thrill seekers : 1884 : first U.S. roller coaster opens at Coney Island104
15Current affairs : May 1888 : Tesla and electric power generation112
16Shadow casters : February 2, 1893 : Edison films a sneeze120
17Radio days : 1895 : tesla demonstrates wireless radio129
18Mysterious rays : November 8, 1895 : Roentgen discovers X rays137
19A thousand points of light : October 1897 : discovery of the electron144
20Quantum leap : October 1900 : planck introduces quanta152
21It's all relative : June 1905 : Einstein introduces special relativity161
22Rocket man : March 16, 1926 : launch of the first liquid-fuel rocket170
23That darn cat : 1935 : Schrodinger's quantum cat177
24Copy that : October 1938 : first xerographic copy185
25Life during wartime : July 1945 : the trinity test192
26Gimme shelter : June 2-4, 1947 : the shelter island conference200
27Tiny bubbles : 1948 Reddi-Wip appears on the market208
28Mimicking mother nature : May 13, 1958 : Velcro trademark registered216
29Energize me : December 1958 : invention of the laser224
30Small world : December 29, 1959 : Feynman's classic caltech lecture232
31Contemplating chaos : Circa January 1961 : Lorenz and the butterfly effect240
32Kamikaze cosmos : July 1963 : discovery of cosmic microwave background radiation247
33When particles collide : April 1994 : discovery of the top quark254
34Checkmate : May 1997 : deep blue defeats Kasparov261
35Much ado about nothing : December 1998 : discovery of the accelerating universe269
36The case of the missing neutrinos : February 2001 : solution to solar neutrino problem276
37Icarus descending : September 2002 : Schden found guilty of scientific misconduct283
38String section : October 2003 : nova special on string theory291

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