Tells of the lives and revolutionary work of Curie and her husband Pierre, whose work with radiation had an enormous impact on modern physics, and whose legacy was carried on by their daughter and son-in-law
In the bestselling The Physics of Star Trek, the renowned theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss took readers on an entertaining and eye-opening tour of the Star Trek universe. Now, responding to requests for more as well as to a number of recent exciting discoveries in physics and astronomy, Krauss takes a provocative look at how the laws of physics relate to notions from our popular culture--not only Star Trek, but other films, shows, and popular lore--from Independence Day to Star Wars to The X-Files.With his books and popular lectures, Krauss has been compared to the late Carl Sagan as one of the preeminent scientists writing with humor and clarity for the general public. Beyond Star Trek establishes him as today's leading voice in the discussion of cutting-edge ideas that arise from our growing knowledge of the universe. Join him on a fun mind-bending journey through the nature of alien visitation, interstellar travel--including the very latest on warp-drive systems--time, consciousness, ESP, the probability of other life in the universe, and quantum reality.Once again Krauss has turned to his colleagues including the foremost theoretical physicists in the world, asking them about the greatest unsolved mysteries of the universe. The answers will surprise you.So buckle up and get ready for an exciting trip that takes the question "Could this ever really happen?" to new heights and will give you new insights into your favorite science fiction and your favorite universe
Quantum theory is so shocking that Einstein could not bring himself to accept it. It is so important that it provides the fundamental underpinning of all modern sciences. Without it, we'd have no nuclear power or nuclear weapons, no TV, no computers, no science of molecular biology, no understanding of DNA, no genetic engineering. In Search of Schrodinger's Cat tells the complete story of quantum mechanics, a truth stranger than any fiction. John Gribbin takes us step by step into an ever more bizarre and fascinating place, requiring only that we approach it with an open mind. He introduces the scientists who developed quantum theory. He investigates the atom, radiation, time travel, the birth of the universe, superconductors and life itself. And in a world full of its own delights, mysteries and surprises, he searches for Schrodinger's Cat - a search for quantum reality - as he brings every reader to a clear understanding of the most important area of scientific study today - quantum physics. In Search of Schrodinger's Cat is a fascinating and delightful introduction to the strange world of the quantum - an essential element in understanding today's world.
In the first comprehensive biography of Erwin Schrodinger--a brilliant and charming Austrian, a great scientist, and a man with a passionate interest in people and ideas--the author draws upon recollections of Schrodinger's friends, family and colleagues, and on contemporary records, letters and diaries. Schrodinger led a very intense life, both in his research and in the personal realm. This book portrays his life against the backdrop of Europe at a time of change and unrest. His best known scientific work was the discovery of wave mechanics, for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1933. In Dublin, he wrote his most famous and influential book What is Life?, which attracted some of the brightest minds of his generation into molecular biology. This highly readable biography of a fascinating and complex man will appeal to anyone interested in the history of our times, and in the life and thought of one of the great men of twentieth-century science.
If the cosmos is vast, says astrophysicist Trinh Xuan Thuan, it is by no means silent. Nature, he writes, "delights in continuously sending us her notes of music." Like some far-off orchestra, it tantalizes us with fragments of a symphony, but the melody linking the bits and snatches of song is missing. The task of science is to unravel the secrets of that hidden melody, so that we can listen to the composition in all its glory.
In The Secret Melody, Trinh Xuan Thuan examines our many attempts to capture the music of nature and hear the cosmic fugue. First, as prelude, he describes the many other cosmologies that preceded the modern Big Bang theory of creation--the magical universe of cavemen, the ancient Chinese idea of the universe (which Thuan compares to a gigantic bureaucracy), the mathematical universe introduced by Pythagoras, and the heliocentric universe of Copernicus--and he explores the work of Galileo, Tycho Brahe, and other early scientists. He then describes in a clear, vivid, and poetic language our current understanding of the cosmos, painting a sharp picture of how modern astronomers study the universe, the equipment they use, the most prominent scientists, and the major discoveries. A mind-boggling portrait of the cosmos emerges in these pages. We read, for instance, of the incredible size of our own galaxy, the Milky Way, which is some 90,000 light-years in diameter, with several hundred billion stars orbiting its center. More amazing, we discover we live in a universe where stars, like human beings, are born, live, and die, leaving behind such strange and exotic objects as neutron stars and black holes; where time may expand and space may contract; and where billions of galaxies have sprung from a tiny primordial speck that was infinitely smaller than a hydrogen atom in a gigantic explosion, the Big Bang. And, of course, any examination of the origin and nature of the universe inevitably raises philosophical and religious questions, and Thuan examines these issues as well, presenting a provocative case for the anthropic principle (which argues that the universe has been fine-tuned to an extreme precision to produce living creatures with consciousness and intelligence) and illuminating the place of God in a Big Bang cosmology.
Here then is an intriguing look at modern cosmology, blending up-to-the-minute descriptions of the forefront of astronomy with thoughtful reflections on science's possible impact on philosophical and religious belief. With many beautiful and informative illustrations, The Secret Melody is an enthralling look at our endless efforts to understand the cosmos and to hear the music of the stars.
Einstein said that the most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible. But was he right? Can the quantum theory of fields and Einstein's general theory of relativity, the two most accurate and successful theories in all of physics, be united in a single quantum theory of gravity? Can quantum and cosmos ever be combined? On this issue, two of the world's most famous physicists--Stephen Hawking (A Brief History of Time) and Roger Penrose (The Emperor's New Mind and Shadows of the Mind)--disagree. Here they explain their positions in a work based on six lectures with a final debate, all originally presented at the Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences at the University of Cambridge.
How could quantum gravity, a theory that could explain the earlier moments of the big bang and the physics of the enigmatic objects known as black holes, be constructed? Why does our patch of the universe look just as Einstein predicted, with no hint of quantum effects in sight? What strange quantum processes can cause black holes to evaporate, and what happens to all the information that they swallow? Why does time go forward, not backward?
In this book, the two opponents touch on all these questions. Penrose, like Einstein, refuses to believe that quantum mechanics is a final theory. Hawking thinks otherwise, and argues that general relativity simply cannot account for how the universe began. Only a quantum theory of gravity, coupled with the no-boundary hypothesis, can ever hope to explain adequately what little we can observe about our universe. Penrose, playing the realist to Hawking's positivist, thinks that the universe is unbounded and will expand forever. The universe can be understood, he argues, in terms of the geometry of light cones, the compression and distortion of spacetime, and by the use of twistor theory. With the final debate, the reader will come to realize how much Hawking and Penrose diverge in their opinions of the ultimate quest to combine quantum mechanics and relativity, and how differently they have tried to comprehend the incomprehensible.
A portrait of the Nobel Prize-winning physicist describes his contributions to the world of twentieth-century science, including his discovery of quarks and contributions to the field of complexity