Great Ideas in Physics

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McGraw Hill Professional, 17 июл. 2000 г. - Всего страниц: 300
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The conservation of energy, the second law of thermodynamics, the theory of relativity, quantum mechanicstogether, these concepts form the foundation upon which modern physics was built. But the influence of these four landmark ideas has extended far beyond hard science. There is no aspect of twentieth-century cultureincluding the arts, social sciences, philosophy, and politicsthat has not been profoundly influenced by them.

In Great Ideas in Physics, Alan Lightman clearly explains the physics behind each of the four great ideas and deftly untangles for lay readers such knotty concepts as entropy, the relativity of time, and the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. Throughout the book he uses excerpts from the writings of scientific luminaries such as Newton, Kelvin, Einstein, and de Broglie to help place each in its proper historical perspective. And with the help of expertly annotated passages from the works of dozens of writers, philosophers, artists, and social theorists, Lightman explores the two-way influences of these landmark scientific concepts on our entire human culture and the world of ideas.


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You will learn about both big names and some little known names in the world of physics. Laws of energy, units of mass, length, and energy are discussed. This book might be good for teachers that would like to cover a little history as they explain some of the concepts. Читать весь отзыв


The Conservation of Energy
Alexander Pope Poem Showing Order in Nature
Kinetic Energy
Units of Length Mass Weight and Energy
Lucretius Section of De Rerum Natura Showing Reasons for Postulating
Julius Mayer on the Conservation of Energy 4849
The Conservation of Energy and the Limited Lifetime
The Theory of Relativity
Aristotle On the Heavens on Space and Absolute Motion
Einsteins Approach to Science
Relativity and Sculpture
Robert Morris on Role of Time in Modern Sculpture
The Photoelectric Effect
The DoubleSlit Experiment
The Role of the Observer and the Nature of Reality

Niels Bohr on Giving Up Conservation of Energy to Explain Beta
Reversible and Irreversible Phenomena
The Irreversible Flow of Heat
Lord Kelvin on a Statement of the Second Law of Thermodynamics
Entropy and Order
Rudolph Clausius on the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics
Resistance to the Implications of the Second Law
Arthur Holmes from Age of the Earth on Desire for Perpetual Motion
Robert Millikan on Cosmic Rays and Their Proof of a Steady State
The Second Law Used to Refute the Theory of Evolution
Albert Einstein from His Autobiographical Notes Discussing
George Berkeley Three Dialogues on Whether Reality Exists Independent
Quantum Physics and Language
Louis de Broglie Nobel Prize Address on the Wave Nature
Selig Hecht on Quantum Theory Free Will and Determinism 239240
APPENDIX A A Review of Some Basic Mathematics
APPENDIX B Problems and Discussion Questions
Jorge Luis Borges The Garden of the Forking Paths References
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Стр. 57 - I have heard rumors that you are on the war path and wanting to upset Conservation of Energy, both microscopically and macroscopically. I will wait and see before expressing an opinion, but I always feel "there are more things in heaven and Earth than are dreamed of in our Philosophy.
Стр. 119 - Hear the sledges with the bells— Silver bells! What a world of merriment their melody foretells! How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle, In the icy air of night! While the stars, that oversprinkle All the heavens, seem to twinkle With a crystalline delight; Keeping time, time, time, In a sort of Runic rhyme, To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells From the bells, bells, bells, bells, Bells, bells,
Стр. 63 - is impossible in inanimate material processes, and is probably never effected by means of organized matter, either endowed with vegetable life or subjected to the will of an animated creature. 3. Within a finite period of time past, the earth must have been, and within a finite period of
Стр. 63 - to come, the earth must again be, unfit for the habitation of man as at present constituted, unless operations have been or are to be performed, which are impossible under the laws to which the known operations going on at present in the material world, are subject.
Стр. 59 - It is impossible, by means of inanimate material agency, to derive mechanical effect from any portion of matter by cooling it below the temperature of the coldest of the surrounding objects.
Стр. 167 - It may be that there is no body really at rest, to which the places and motions of others may be referred. But we may distinguish rest and motion, absolute and relative, one from the other, by their properties, causes, and effects. It is a property of rest that bodies really at rest do rest in respect to one another. And therefore
Стр. 122 - freethinking coupled with the impression that youth is intentionally being deceived by the state through lies; it was a crushing impression. Suspicion against every kind of authority grew out of this experience, a skeptical attitude towards the convictions which were alive in any specific social environment—an attitude which has never again left me.
Стр. 9 - Here hills and vales, the woodland and the plain, Here earth and water seem to strive again, Not chaos-like together crushed and bruised, But, as the world,
Стр. 237 - wrote Quantum mechanics is very impressive. But an inner voice tells me that it is not yet the real thing. The theory produces a great deal but hardly brings us closer to the secret of the Old One.
Стр. 204 - PHIL: This point then is agreed between us—that sensible things are those only which are immediately perceived by sense. You will further inform me whether we immediately perceive by sight anything besides light and colors and figures; or by hearing, anything but

Об авторе (2000)

Alan Lightman, Ph.D., currently Senior Lecturer in Physics at M.I.T., received the Association of American Publishers Award for the best book in physical science for Origins. His writing appears in the Atlantic, Granta, Harpers, The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, and elsewhere. He is the author of The New York Times bestseller, Einstein's Dreams and Good Benito.

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