The Equations: Icons of Knowledge

The Equations: Icons of Knowledge

by Sander Bais
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0674019679

ISBN-13: 9780674019676

Pub. Date: 11/01/2005

Publisher: Harvard University Press

The mysteries of the physical world speak to us through equations--compact statements about the way nature works, expressed in nature's language, mathematics. In this book by the renowned Dutch physicist Sander Bais, the equations that govern our world unfold in all their formal grace--and their deeper meaning as core symbols of our civilization.

Trying to

Overview

The mysteries of the physical world speak to us through equations--compact statements about the way nature works, expressed in nature's language, mathematics. In this book by the renowned Dutch physicist Sander Bais, the equations that govern our world unfold in all their formal grace--and their deeper meaning as core symbols of our civilization.

Trying to explain science without equations is like trying to explain art without illustrations. Consequently Bais has produced a book that, unlike any other aimed at nonscientists, delves into the details--historical, biographical, practical, philosophical, and mathematical--of seventeen equations that form the very basis of what we know of the universe today. A mathematical objet d'art in its own right, the book conveys the transcendent excitement and beauty of these icons of knowledge as they reveal and embody the fundamental truths of physical reality.

These are the seventeen equations that represent radical turning points in our understanding--from mechanics to electrodynamics, hydrodynamics to relativity, quantum mechanics to string theory--their meanings revealed through the careful and critical observation of patterns and motions in nature. Mercifully short on dry theoretical elaborations, the book presents these equations as they are--with the information about their variables, history, and applications that allows us to chart their critical function, and their crucial place, in the complex web of modern science.

Reading The Equations, we can hear nature speaking to us in its native language.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780674019676
Publisher:
Harvard University Press
Publication date:
11/01/2005
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
96
Product dimensions:
7.08(w) x 7.74(h) x 0.56(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction

Rise and fall
The logistic equation

Mechanics and gravity
Newton's dynamical equations and universal law of gravity

The electromagnetic force on a charge
The Lorentz force law

A local conservation law
The continuity equation

Electrodynamics
The Maxwell equations

Electromagnetic waves
The wave equations

Solitary waves
The Korteweg - De Vries equation

Thermodynamics
The three laws of thermodynamics

Kinetic theory
The Bolzmann equation

Hydrodynamics
The Navier-Stokes equations

Special relativity
Relativistic kinematics

General relativity
The Einstein equations

Quantum mechanics
The Schrödinger equation

The relativistic electron
The Dirac equation

The strong force
Quantum chromodynamics

Electro-weak Interactions
The Gashow-Weinberg-Salam model

String theory
The superstring action

Back to the future
A final perspective

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