Theoretical Concepts in Physics: An Alternative View of Theoretical Reasoning in Physics for Final-Year Undergraduates / Edition 1

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Overview

In this highly individual, and truly novel, approach to theoretical reasoning in physics, the author has provided a course that illuminates the subject from the standpoint of real physics as practised by research scientists. Professor Longair gives the basic insights, attitudes, and techniques that are the tools of the professional physicist, in a manner that conveys the intellectual excitement and beauty of the subject. The book is intended to be a supplement to more traditional courses for physics undergraduates, and the author assumes that his readers already have some knowledge of the main branches of physics. As the story unfolds, much of the core material of an undergraduate course in physics is reviewed from a more mature point of view. This is not, in fact, a substitute for existing texts. Rather it goes beyond them by improving the student's appreciation of the subject.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521275538
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 7/26/1984
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.97 (h) x 0.72 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface and acknowledgements
1 Introduction 1
Case Study I The origins of Newton's laws of motion and of gravity 13
2 From Ptolemy to Kepler - the Copernican revolution 15
3 Galileo and the nature of the physical sciences 34
4 Newton and the law of gravity 53
Case Study II Maxwell's equations 77
5 The origin of Maxwell's equations 79
6 How to rewrite the history of electromagnetism 114
Case Study III Mechanics and dynamics - linear and non-linear 135
7 Approaches to mechanics and dynamics 138
8 Dimensional analysis, chaos, and self-organised criticality 165
Case Study IV Thermodynamics and statistical physics 203
9 Basic thermodynamics 206
10 Kinetic theory and the origin of statistical mechanics 250
Case Study V The origins of the concept of quanta 281
11 Black-body radiation up to 1895 283
12 1895-1900: Planck and the spectrum of black-body radiation 303
13 Planck's theory of black-body radiation 329
14 Einstein and the quantisation of light 345
15 The triumph of the quantum hypothesis 366
Case Study VI Special relativity 397
16 Special relativity - a study in invariance 400
Case Study VII General relativity and cosmology 429
17 An introduction to general relativity 431
18 The technology of cosmology 478
19 Cosmology 499
20 Epilogue 547
Index 548
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