Eddington's Search for a Fundamental Theory: A Key to the Universe

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Overview

A reconciliation of theories of the very small and the very large scale is one of the most important single issues in physics today. Many people today are unaware that back in the 1930s, Sir Arthur Eddington, the celebrated astrophysicist, made great strides towards his own 'theory of everything'. In 1936 and 1946 Eddington's last two books were published. Unlike his earlier lucid and authoritative works, these are strangely tentative and obscure - as if he were nervous of the significant advances he might be making. This volume examines how Eddington came to write these uncharacteristic books - in terms of the physics and history of the day - and what value they have to modern physics. The results is an illuminating description of the development of theoretical physics in the first half of the twentieth century from a unique point of view: how it affected Eddington's thought. This will provide fascinating reading for scholars in the philosophy of science, theoretical physics, applied mathematics and the history of science.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...an interesting window on the turbulent onset of the 'new physics' during the first forty years of this century," David Kaiser, Isis

"...a valuable addition to the literature." Julian B. Barbour, The Times Higher Education Supplement

"...an illuminating description of the development of theoretical physics in the first half of the twentieth century from a unique point of view: how it affected Eddington's thought....will be of interest to anyone with a curiosity about physics and the development of theories of nature." Louis H. Kauffman, Mathematical Reviews

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521017282
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 7/31/2005
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
1 The mystery 1
Pt. 1 1882-1928 9
2 The astrophysicist 11
3 General relativity 26
4 Consequences of general relativity 42
5 'Something has slipped through the net' 65
6 Quantum mechanics 79
Pt. 2 1928-33 99
7 Algebra to the fore: 136 101
8 Electric charge: 137 124
9 The proton-electron mass-ratio 156
Pt. 3 1933-44 185
10 The turning point 187
11 Critical views of RTPE 207
12 The last decade 223
References 250
Index 254
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