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Knowing: The Nature of Physical Law [NOOK Book]

Overview

With simplicity and elegance, Knowing interprets the book of nature for curious readers of all sorts - but especially for those hoping to appreciate the beauty of physics without getting lost in the mathematics. Glimpse a world of scientific understanding in the pages of this book, where hundreds of little diagrams substitute for the equations that physicists otherwise need to tell their tale.
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Knowing: The Nature of Physical Law

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Overview

With simplicity and elegance, Knowing interprets the book of nature for curious readers of all sorts - but especially for those hoping to appreciate the beauty of physics without getting lost in the mathematics. Glimpse a world of scientific understanding in the pages of this book, where hundreds of little diagrams substitute for the equations that physicists otherwise need to tell their tale.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In the preface to his new book, science writer Munowitz (Principles of Chemistry) declares that "one should not have to become a professional mathematician or physicist simply to appreciate what is arguably the greatest joy there is: the joy of knowing (just a little bit) how everything is put together." To that end, his "ruthlessly abridged" overview of the landscape of science offers "no formulas to memorize" but still manages to cover everything from basic Newtonian physics to advanced thermodynamics and quantum physics. Munowitz's skills as a writer and teacher are clear throughout, particularly when he tackles the thornier aspects of modern physics, but this is still far from an easy read (Munowitz's elaboration of general relativity is one of the clearest in print, but it's still tough going). At the same time, readers with a grounding in modern physics may find that the author's reworking of a science textbook by expanding on and recontextualizing the "standards"-much like a concert by a really good cover band-leaves them looking at familiar concepts in a refreshing new light. B&w illus. (Oct.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
"There is nothing more fundamental to everything in the entire universe than theoretical physics, and no subject more difficult to explain to the non-specialist. In addressing it in the well-titled Knowing, Munowitz has written one of the clearest and most inviting books of science exposition I have ever encountered."—Edward O. Wilson, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of On Human Nature and The Ants

"All those who are eager to understand how the world works but have been frustrated and discouraged by the forbidding mathematical language of physical science will welcome this fascinating, lucid, and satisfying account of what we know (and don't know) about this most profound of human endeavors. Munowitz has written 'physics without tears.'" —Christian de Duve, Nobel Prize Laureate in Physiology and Medicine

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199830817
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 9/27/2005
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 505,158
  • File size: 9 MB

Meet the Author

Michael Munowitz is a full-time science writer. A graduate of Yale University, he earned a Ph.D. in chemical physics from Harvard University and has held postdoctoral appointments at the University of Leiden and the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author most recently of Principles of Chemistry, described by one reviewer as "the best-written general chemistry book I have ever read." He lives in Naperville, Illinois.

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Table of Contents

Preface ... the book of nature
1 Great expectations ... to know all there is to know 1
2 Ties that bind ... four fundamental interactions 8
3 In the eye of the beholder ... reference frames and relativity 42
4 Three-part invention ... mechanics in general, classical mechanics in particular 67
5 Mass as a medium ... E = mc[superscript 2], plus the curvature of space-time 98
6 Taking charge ... the classical electromagnetic field 132
7 Never certain ... indeterminacy and the quantum 162
8 The path not taken ... quantum mechanics 185
9 Symmetry perforce ... quantum particles and fields 210
10 Ends and odds ... equilibrium, entropy, and the arrow of time 241
11 Surprise endings ... chaos and complexity 268
12 Loose ends ... the infinite and the ultimate 284
By the way ... nuance and elaboration 333
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