Physics
Featured Items
Faster Than the Speed of Light: The Story of a Scientific Speculation
Faster Than the Speed of Light
The Story of a Scientific Speculation
Hardcover      ISBN: 0738205257

Nothing travels faster than the speed of light, and light travels at one fixed speed. This idea is considered a foundation of modern physics, but what if it is wrong?Theoretical physicist Magueijo presents the idea that light traveled faster in the early universe than it does today. The varying speed of light theory solves some of the most intractable problems in cosmology, and could have major implications for the study of physics.

Stalking the Wild Pendulum: On the Mechanics of Consciousness
Stalking the Wild Pendulum
On the Mechanics of Consciousness
Paperback      ISBN: 0892812028

In his exciting and original view of the universe, Itzhak Bentov has provided a new perspective on human consciousness and its limitless possibilities. Widely known and loved for his delightful humor and imagination, Bentov explains the familiar world of phenomena with perceptions that are as lucid as they are thrilling. He gives us a provocative picture of ourselves in an expanded, conscious, holistic universe.

Understanding Physics
Understanding Physics
Hardcover      ISBN: 0880292512
Driving Mr. Albert: A Trip Across America with Einstein's Brain
Driving Mr. Albert
A Trip Across America with Einstein's Brain
Paperback      ISBN: 038533303x

Albert Einstein's brain floats in a Tupperware bowl in a gray duffel bag in the trunk of a Buick Skylark barreling across America. Driving the car is journalist Michael Paterniti. Sitting next to him is an eighty-four-year-old pathologist named Thomas Harvey, who performed the autopsy on Einstein in 1955 -- then simply removed the brain and took it home. And kept it for over forty years.

On a cold February day, the two men and the brain leave New Jersey and light out on I-70 for sunny California, where Einstein's perplexed granddaughter, Evelyn, awaits. And riding along as the imaginary fourth passenger is Einstein himself, an id-driven genius, the original galactic slacker with his head in the stars. Part travelogue, part memoir, part history, part biography, and part meditation, Driving Mr. Albert is one of the most unique road trips in modern literature.
Time's Arrow and Archimedes' Point: New Directions for the Physics of Time
Time's Arrow and Archimedes' Point
New Directions for the Physics of Time
Paperback      ISBN: 0195117980

Why is the future so different from the past? Why does the past affect the future and not the other way around? What does quantum mechanics really tell us about the world? In this important and accessible book, Huw Price throws fascinating new light on some of the great mysteries of modern physics, and connects them in a wholly original way.
Price begins with the mystery of the arrow of time. Why, for example, does disorder always increase, as required by the second law of thermodynamics? Price shows that, for over a century, most physicists have thought about these problems the wrong way. Misled by the human perspective from within time, which distorts and exaggerates the differences between past and future, they have fallen victim to what Price calls the "double standard fallacy": proposed explanations of the difference between the past and the future turn out to rely on a difference which has been slipped in at the beginning, when the physicists themselves treat the past and future in different ways. To avoid this fallacy, Price argues, we need to overcome our natural tendency to think about the past and the future differently. We need to imagine a point outside time -- an Archimedean "view from nowhen" -- from which to observe time in an unbiased way.
Offering a lively criticism of many major modern physicists, including Richard Feynman and Stephen Hawking, Price shows that this fallacy remains common in physics today -- for example, when contemporary cosmologists theorize about the eventual fate of the universe. The "big bang" theory normally assumes that the beginning and end of the universe will be very different. But if we are to avoid the double standard fallacy, we need to consider time symmetrically, and take seriously the possibility that the arrow of time may reverse when the universe recollapses into a "big crunch."
Price then turns to the greatest mystery of modern physics, the meaning of quantum theory. He argues that in missing the Archimedean viewpoint, modern physics has missed a radical and attractive solution to many of the apparent paradoxes of quantum physics. Many consequences of quantum theory appear counterintuitive, such as Schrodinger's Cat, whose condition seems undetermined until observed, and Bell's Theorem, which suggests a spooky "nonlocality," where events happening simultaneously in different places seem to affect each other directly. Price shows that these paradoxes can be avoided by allowing that at the quantum level the future does, indeed, affect the past. This demystifies nonlocality, and supports Einstein's unpopular intuition that quantum theory describes an objective world, existing independently of human observers: the Cat is alive or dead, even when nobody looks. So interpreted, Price argues, quantum mechanics is simply the kind of theory we ought to have expected in microphysics -- from the symmetric standpoint.
Time's Arrow and Archimedes' Point presents an innovative and controversial view of time and contemporary physics. In this exciting book, Price urges physicists, philosophers, and anyone who has ever pondered the mysteries of time to look at the world from the fresh perspective of Archimedes' Point and gain a deeper understanding of ourselves, the universe around us, and our own place in time.

Tuva or Bust: Richard Feynman's Last Journey/33 1/3 Record
Tuva or Bust
Richard Feynman's Last Journey/33 1/3 Record
Hardcover      ISBN: 0393029530

In 1977, Feynman and his sidekick— fellow drummer and geography enthusiast Ralph Leighton—set out to make arrangements to visit Tuva, doing noble and hilarious battle with Soviet red tape, befriending quite a few Tuvans, and discovering the wonders of Tuvan throat-singing. Their Byzantine attempts to reach Tannu Tuva would span a decade, interrupted by Feynman's appointment to the committee investigating the Challenger disaster, and his tragic struggle with the cancer that finally killed him. Tuva or Bust! chronicles the deepening friendship of two zany, brilliant strategists whose love of the absurd will delight and instruct. It is Richard Feynman's last, best adventure.

The Birth of a New Physics
The Birth of a New Physics
Paperback      ISBN: 0393300455

Then came the Renaissance and with it Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Huygens, and Newton: giants who courageously remade the world into an earth which actually moves 100,000 feet a second while revolving 1,000 miles an hour around an object 93,000,000 miles away. And yet birds perch unruffled and an apple will fall straight down.

All of this we think we know. But how well do we know it? In the twenty-five years since its first publication, The Birth of a New Physics has become a classic in the history of science. Here expanded by more than one-third and fully updated, it not only offers us the best account of the greatest scientific revolution but also tells us how we can know we live in a dynamic universe.
The Riddle of the Compass: The Invention That Changed the World
The Riddle of the Compass
The Invention That Changed the World
Paperback      ISBN: 0156007533

The story of the compass is shrouded in mystery and myth, yet most will agree it begins around the time of the birth of Christ in ancient China. A mysterious lodestone whose powers affected metal was known to the Chinese emperor. When this piece of metal was suspended in water, it always pointed north. This unexplainable occurrence led to the stone's use in feng shui, the Chinese art of finding the right location. However, it was the Italians, more than a thousand years later, who discovered the ultimate destiny of the lodestone and unleashed its formidable powers. In Amalfi sometime in the twelfth century, the compass was born, crowning the Italians as the new rulers of the seas and heralding the onset of the modern world. Retracing the roots of the compass and sharing the fascinating story of navigation through the ages, The Riddle of the Compass is Aczel at his most entertaining and insightful.

Schrodinger's Kittens and the Search for Reality: Solving the Quantum Mysteries Tag: Author of in Search of Schrod. Cat
Schrodinger's Kittens and the Search for Reality: Solving the Quantum Mysteries Tag
Author of in Search of Schrod. Cat
Paperback      ISBN: 0316328197

In this eagerly anticipated sequel to the classic bestseller In Search of Schrodinger's Cat, John Gribbin digs even deeper into the mysterious and confounding world of quantum mechanics. Gribbin takes infinitely complex, mind-bending experiments, brings them to life, and makes them accessible to the lay reader. Under his deft guidance, we can begin to grasp the fundamental riddle of today's quantum mechanics: how a single photon can be seen going in two directions at once. Along the way, Gribbin reveals some fascinating discoveries: how quantum particles could one day be used in a Star Trek-type teleportation system, and how quantum cryptographers have developed ways of making unbreakable codes using quantum effects. Schrodinger's Kittens and the Search for Reality illuminates the world's most intriguing and enigmatic scientific phenomenon - and shows how the "impossible dreams" of such legendary scientists as Bohr, Feynman, and Einstein may soon become reality.

The Essence of Chaos
The Essence of Chaos
Paperback      ISBN: 0295975148

Chaos surrounds us. Seemingly random events -- the flapping of a flag, a storm-driven wave striking the shore, a pinball's path -- often appear to have no order, no rational pattern. Explicating the theory of chaos and the consequences of its principal findings -- that actual, precise rules may govern such apparently random behavior -- has been a major part of the work of Edward N. Lorenz. In The Essence of Chaos, Lorenz presents to the general reader the features of this "new science," with its far-reaching implications for much of modern life, from weather prediction to philosophy, and he describes its considerable impact on emerging scientific fields.

Unlike the phenomena dealt with in relativity theory and quantum mechanics, systems that are now described as "chaotic" can be observed without telescopes or microscopes. They range from the simplest happenings, such as the falling of a leaf, to the most complex processes, like the fluctuations of climate. Each process that qualifies, however, has certain quantifiable characteristics: how it unfolds depends very sensitively upon its present state, so that, even though it is not random, it seems to be. Lorenz uses examples from everyday life, and simple calculations, to show how the essential nature of chaotic systems can be understood. In order to expedite this task, he has constructed a mathematical model of a board sliding down a ski slope as his primary illustrative example. With this model as his base, he explains various chaotic phenomena, including some associated concepts such as strange attractors and bifurcations.

As a meteorologist, Lorenz initially became interested in the field of chaos because of its implications for weather forecasting. In a chapter ranging through the history of weather prediction and meteorology to a brief picture of our current understanding of climate, he introduces many of the researchers who conceived the experiments and theories, and he describes his own initial encounter with chaos.

A further discussion invites readers to make their own chaos. Still others debate the nature of randomness and its relationship to chaotic systems, and describe three related fields of scientific thought: nonlinearity, complexity, and fractality. Appendixes present the first publication of Lorenz's seminal paper "Does the Flap of a Butterfly's Wing in Brazil Set Off a Tornado in Texas?"; the mathematical equations from which the copious illustrations were derived; and a glossary.