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Doing Physics / Edition 2

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Overview

"This is a mind-altering book—it ought to carry some sort of warning, that you will never be the same again once you have read it.... This is an important and provocative book, timely and full of insight. Fail to read it, and you may miss out on the physics of the future." —John Gribbin, New Scientist

"Krieger... excellently tells those in our human society outside the physics world how physicists think, plan, and go about understanding nature." —Choice

"... an excellent book... innovative." —Isis

"Krieger takes us into the world of the physicist, on a theoretically informed anthropological field trip."—Contemporary Sociology

Krieger describes the ways physicists actually do their work, their motives, and their ways of making sense of the world so that outsiders can understand it. He focuses on the "factory" of Nature; the analysis of the world as a clockworks of comparatively dumb parts; a set of kinship rules that govern families of particles; the setting of a simple stage, a vacuum, on which something arises out of nothing; and the items that make up a physicist’s tool kit.

Indiana University Press

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This is a mind-altering book—it ought to carry some sort of warning, that you will never be the same again once you have read it.... This is an important and provocative book, timely and full of insight. Fail to read it, and you may miss out on the physics of the future." —John Gribbin, New Scientist

"Krieger... excellently tells those in our human society outside the physics world how physicists think, plan, and go about understanding nature." —Choice

"... an excellent book... innovative." —Isis

"Krieger takes us into the world of the physicist, on a theoretically informed anthropological field trip."—Contemporary Sociology

Krieger describes the ways physicists actually do their work, their motives, and their ways of making sense of the world so that outsiders can understand it. He focuses on the "factory" of Nature; the analysis of the world as a clockworks of comparatively dumb parts; a set of kinship rules that govern families of particles; the setting of a simple stage, a vacuum, on which something arises out of nothing; and the items that make up a physicist’s tool kit.

Indiana University Press

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Physicist Krieger ( Advice and Planning ) calls his unusual book ``an ethnographic or cultural report on the technical practices of a subculture.'' Brief but dense, this attempt to explain to the layperson how physicists approach the world arose from a course Krieger taught for nonscientists. His warning that some of the material is ``hard going'' is an understatement. The author first details the ``division of labor'' within nature, arguing that nature is like a factory; he then goes on to explore the analytic units of physics; systems within physics; strategies of looking at problems; and the ``craft'' of science. He produces some interesting and accessible analogies, comparing kinship systems, chemistry, market economies and physics--all involve ``fair exchange''--and showing how a telephone switching system is a model of the complex system that physicists study. However, the discussion is often abstract and hampered by baffling graphs and equations. Krieger has gone only part of the way toward bringing this complex subculture to light. (June)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780253207012
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press
  • Publication date: 6/1/1992
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.12 (h) x 0.51 (d)

Meet the Author

MARTIN H. KRIEGER who holds a doctorate in physics, is Professor of Planning at the University of Southern California and author of Advice and Planning and Marginalism and Discontinuity: Tools for the Crafts of Knowledge and Decision.

Indiana University Press

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Table of Contents

Preface

1. The Division of Labor: The Factory
2. Taking Apart and Putting Together: The Clockworks, the Calculus, and the Computer
3. Freedom and Necessity: Family and Kinship
4. The Vacuum and the Creation: Setting a Stage
5. Handles, Probes, and Tools: A Rhetoric of Nature

Suggestions for Further Reading
Notes
Index of Topics
Index of Names and Subjects

Indiana University Press

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