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A Short History of Nearly Everything is a general science book by Bill Bryson, which explains some areas of science in ordinary language. It was the bestselling popular science book of 2005 in the UK, selling over 300,000 copies. A Short History deviates from Bryson's popular travel book genre, instead describing general sciences such as chemistry, paleontology, astronomy, and particle physics. In it, he explores time from the Big Bang to the discovery of quantum mechanics, via evolution and geology. Bryson tells the story of science through the stories of the people who made the discoveries, such as Edwin Hubble, Isaac Newton, and Albert Einstein. Bill Bryson wrote this book because he was dissatisfied with his scientific knowledge – that was, not much at all. He writes that science was a distant, unexplained subject at school. Textbooks and teachers alike did not ignite the passion for knowledge in him, mainly because they never delved in the whys, hows, and whens.

Richard P. Feynman was one of this century’s most brilliant theoretical physicists and original thinkers. Born in Far Rockaway, New York, in 1918, he studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he graduated with a BS in 1939. He went on to Princeton and received his Ph.D. in 1942. During the war years he worked at the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory. He became Professor of Theoretical Physics at Cornell University, where he worked with Hans Bethe. He all but rebuilt the theory of quantum electrodynamics and it was for this work that he shared the Nobel Prize in 1965. His simplified rules of calculation became standard tools of theoretical analysis in both quantum electrodynamics and high-energy physics. Feynman was a visiting professor at the California Institute of Technology in 1950, where he later accepted a permanent faculty appointment, and became Richard Chace Tolman Professor of Theoretical Physics in 1959. He had an extraordinary ability to communicate his science to audiences at all levels, and was a well-known and popular lecturer. Richard Feynman died in 1988 after a long illness. Freeman Dyson, of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, called him ‘the most original mind of his generation’, while in its obituary The New York Times described him as ‘arguably the most brilliant, iconoclastic and influential of the postwar generation of theoretical physicists’.

A number of collections and adaptations of his lectures have been published, including The Feynman Lectures on Physics, QED (Penguin, 1990), The Character of Physical Law (Penguin, 1992), Six Easy Pieces (Penguin, 1998), The Meaning of It All (Penguin, 1999) and Six Not-So-Easy Pieces (Allen Lane, 1998; Penguin, 1999). The Feynman Lectures on Gravitation and The Feynman Lectures on Computation are both forthcoming in Penguin. His memoirs, Surely You’re Joking, Mr Feynman, were published in 1985.

Sometimes, to laymen theoretical physics can seem as mercurial and trend-following as high fashion. That's where Stephen Hawking steps in. Since the publication of A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIME (1988), the longtime Oxford professor has been finding ways to explain these complex and ever-changing theories. Here, working with physicist Leonard Mlodinow, Hawking delivers another bang-up book with GRAND DESIGN, in which the authors attempt to clarify one of the most fundamental and puzzling questions-how did are universe begin. Examining M-theory, string theory, parallel universes, quantum theory, and other ideas in chatty yet informative prose, GRAND DESIGN takes a quick tour of the history of the development of these crazy ideas and then synthesizes the questions and possible solutions that lie in the gray matter between science, philosophy, and the imagination.

"This lecture is about whether we can predict the future, or whether it is arbitrary and random. In ancient times, the world must have seemed pretty arbitrary. Disasters such as floods or diseases must have seemed to happen without warning or apparen t reason. Primitive people attributed such natural phenomena, to a pantheon of gods and goddesses, who behaved in a capricious and whimsical way. There was no way to predict what they would do, and the only hope was to win favour by gifts or actions."

Carl Sagan, writer and scientist, returns from the frontier to tell us about how the world works. In his delightfully down-to-earth style, he explores and explains a mind-boggling future of intelligent robots, extraterrestrial life and its consquences, and other provocative, fascinating quandries of the future that we want to see today.

Deutsch’s pioneering and accessible book integrates recent advances in theoretical physics and computer science to explain and connect many topics at the leading edge of current research and thinking, such as quantum computers, and physics of time travel, and the ultimate fate of the universe.

**By the author of the acclaimed bestseller *Benjamin Franklin*, this is the first full biography of Albert Einstein since all of his papers have become available.**

How did his mind work? What made him a genius? Isaacson's biography shows how his scientific imagination sprang from the rebellious nature of his personality. His fascinating story is a testament to the connection between creativity and freedom.

Based on newly released personal letters of Einstein, this book explores how an imaginative, impertinent patent clerk -- a struggling father in a difficult marriage who couldn't get a teaching job or a doctorate -- became the mind reader of the creator of the cosmos, the locksmith of the mysteries of the atom and the universe. His success came from questioning conventional wisdom and marveling at mysteries that struck others as mundane. This led him to embrace a morality and politics based on respect for free minds, free spirits, and free individuals.

These traits are just as vital for this new century of globalization, in which our success will depend on our creativity, as they were for the beginning of the last century, when Einstein helped usher in the modern age.

### Amazon.com Review

As a scientist, Albert Einstein is undoubtedly the most epic among 20th-century thinkers. Albert Einstein as a man, however, has been a much harder portrait to paint, and what we know of him as a husband, father, and friend is fragmentary at best. With *Einstein: His Life and Universe*, Walter Isaacson (author of the bestselling biographies *Benjamin Franklin* and *Kissinger*) brings Einstein's experience of life, love, and intellectual discovery into brilliant focus. The book is the first biography to tackle Einstein's enormous volume of personal correspondence that heretofore had been sealed from the public, and it's hard to imagine another book that could do such a richly textured and complicated life as Einstein's the same thoughtful justice. Isaacson is a master of the form and this latest opus is at once arresting and wonderfully revelatory. *--Anne Bartholomew*

**Read "The Light-Beam Rider," the first chapter of Walter Isaacson's *Einstein: His Life and Universe*.**

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**Five Questions for Walter Isaacson**

**Amazon.com:** What kind of scientific education did you have to give yourself to be able to understand and explain Einstein's ideas?

**Isaacson:** I've always loved science, and I had a group of great physicists--such as Brian Greene, Lawrence Krauss, and Murray Gell-Mann--who tutored me, helped me learn the physics, and checked various versions of my book. I also learned the tensor calculus underlying general relativity, but tried to avoid spending too much time on it in the book. I wanted to capture the imaginative beauty of Einstein's scientific leaps, but I hope folks who want to delve more deeply into the science will read Einstein books by such scientists as Abraham Pais, Jeremy Bernstein, Brian Greene, and others.

**Amazon.com:** That Einstein was a clerk in the Swiss Patent Office when he revolutionized our understanding of the physical world has often been treated as ironic or even absurd. But you argue that in many ways his time there fostered his discoveries. Could you explain?

**Isaacson:** I think he was lucky to be at the patent office rather than serving as an acolyte in the academy trying to please senior professors and teach the conventional wisdom. As a patent examiner, he got to visualize the physical realities underlying scientific concepts. He had a boss who told him to question every premise and assumption. And as Peter Galison shows in *Einstein's Clocks, Poincare's Maps*, many of the patent applications involved synchronizing clocks using signals that traveled at the speed of light. So with his office-mate Michele Besso as a sounding board, he was primed to make the leap to special relativity.

**Amazon.com:** That time in the patent office makes him sound far more like a practical scientist and tinkerer than the usual image of the wild-haired professor, and more like your previous biographical subject, the multitalented but eminently earthly Benjamin Franklin. Did you see connections between them?

**Isaacson:** I like writing about creativity, and that's what Franklin and Einstein shared. They also had great curiosity and imagination. But Franklin was a more practical man who was not very theoretical, and Einstein was the opposite in that regard.

**Amazon.com:** Of the many legends that have accumulated around Einstein, what did you find to be least true? Most true?

**Isaacson:** The least true legend is that he failed math as a schoolboy. He was actually great in math, because he could visualize equations. He knew they were nature's brushstrokes for painting her wonders. For example, he could look at Maxwell's equations and marvel at what it would be like to ride alongside a light wave, and he could look at Max Planck's equations about radiation and realize that Planck's constant meant that light was a particle as well as a wave. The most true legend is how rebellious and defiant of authority he was. You see it in his politics, his personal life, and his science.

**Amazon.com:** At *Time* and CNN and the Aspen Institute, you've worked with many of the leading thinkers and leaders of the day. Now that you've had the chance to get to know Einstein so well, did he remind you of anyone from our day who shares at least some of his remarkable qualities?

**Isaacson:** There are many creative scientists, most notably Stephen Hawking, who wrote the essay on Einstein as "Person of the Century" when I was editor of *Time*. In the world of technology, Steve Jobs has the same creative imagination and ability to think differently that distinguished Einstein, and Bill Gates has the same intellectual intensity. I wish I knew politicians who had the creativity and human instincts of Einstein, or for that matter the wise feel for our common values of Benjamin Franklin.

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**More to Explore**

*Benjamin Franklin: An American Life*

*Kissinger: A Biography* **

**The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made* ***

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### **From Publishers Weekly**

**Acclaimed biographer Isaacson examines the remarkable life of "science's preeminent poster boy" in this lucid account (after 2003's *Benjamin Franklin* and 1992's *Kissinger*). Contrary to popular myth, the German-Jewish schoolboy Albert Einstein not only excelled in math, he mastered calculus before he was 15. Young Albert's dislike for rote learning, however, led him to compare his teachers to "drill sergeants." That antipathy was symptomatic of Einstein's love of individual and intellectual freedom, beliefs the author revisits as he relates his subject's life and work in the context of world and political events that shaped both, from WWI and II and their aftermath through the Cold War. Isaacson presents Einstein's research—his efforts to understand space and time, resulting in four extraordinary papers in 1905 that introduced the world to special relativity, and his later work on unified field theory—without equations and for the general reader. Isaacson focuses more on Einstein the man: charismatic and passionate, often careless about personal affairs; outspoken and unapologetic about his belief that no one should have to give up personal freedoms to support a state. Fifty years after his death, Isaacson reminds us why Einstein (1879–1955) remains one of the most celebrated figures of the 20th century. *500,000 firsr printing, 20-city author tour, first serial to *Time*; confirmed appearance on *Good Morning America*. (Apr.)*

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. **

TWENTY-FIVE YEARS after its initial publication, remains the seminal and complete story of how the bomb was developed, from the turn-of-the-century discovery of the vast energy locked inside the atom to the dropping of the first bombs on Japan.

Few great discoveries have evolved so swiftly—or have been so misunderstood. From the theoretical discussions of nuclear energy to the bright glare of Trinity, there was a span of hardly more than twenty-five years. What began as merely an interesting speculative problem in physics grew into the Manhattan Project, and then into the bomb, with frightening rapidity, while scientists known only to their peers—Szilard, Teller, Oppenheimer, Bohr, Meitner, Fermi, Lawrence, and von Neumann—stepped from their ivory towers into the limelight.

Richard Rhodes gives the definitive story of man’s most awesome discovery and invention. Told in rich human, political, and scientific detail, is a narrative and a document with literary power commensurate with its subject.

The human chain reaction that led to the atom bomb

On December 26, 1898, Marie Curie announced the discovery of radium and observed that “radioactivity seems to be an atomic property.” A mere 47 years later, “Little Boy"exploded over Hiroshima. Before the Fallout is the epic story of the intervening half century, during which an exhilarating quest to unravel the secrets of the material world revealed how to destroy it, and an open, international, scientific adventure transmuted overnight into a wartime sprint for the bomb.

Weaving together history, science, and biography, Diana Preston chronicles a human chain reaction of scientists and leaders whose discoveries and decisions forever changed our lives. The early decades of the 20th century brought Einstein’s relativity theory, Rutherford’s discovery of the atomic nucleus, and Heisenberg’s quantum mechanics, and scientists of many nations worked together to tease out the secrets of the atom. Only 12 years before Hiroshima, one leading physicist dismissed the idea of harnessing energy from atoms as “moonshine.” Then, on the eve of World War II, the power of atomic fission was revealed, alliances were broken, friendships sundered, and science co-opted by world events.

Preston interviewed the surviving scientists, and she offers new insight into the fateful wartime meeting between Heisenberg and Bohr, along with a fascinating conclusion examining what might have happened had any number of events occurred differently. She also provides a rare portrait of Hiroshima before the blast.

As Hiroshima’s 60th anniversary approaches, Before the Fallout compels us to consider the threats and moral dilemmas we face in our still dangerous world.

A journey through the otherworldly science behind Christopher Nolan’s highly anticipated film, , from executive producer and theoretical physicist Kip Thorne.

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[200 color illustrations]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQye2XkvDpo

In this engaging scientific memoir, Kenneth Ford recounts the time when, in his mid-twenties, he was a member of the team that designed and built the first hydrogen bomb. He worked with—and relaxed with—scientific giants of that time such as Edward Teller, Enrico Fermi, Stan Ulam, John von Neumann, and John Wheeler, and here offers illuminating insights into the personalities, the strengths, and the quirks of these men. Well known for his ability to explain physics to nonspecialists, Ford also brings to life the physics of fission and fusion and provides a brief history of nuclear science from the discovery of radioactivity in 1896 to the ten-megaton explosion of “Mike” that obliterated a Pacific Island in 1952.

Ford worked at both Los Alamos and Princeton’s Project Matterhorn, and brings out Matterhorn’s major, but previously unheralded contribution to the development of the H bomb. Outside the lab, he drove a battered Chevrolet around New Mexico, a bantam motorcycle across the country, and a British roadster around New Jersey. Part of the charm of Ford’s book is the way in which he leavens his well-researched descriptions of the scientific work with brief tales of his life away from weapons.

Readership:

Key Features:

• It contains real physics, clearly presented for non-specialists

• Combining historical scholarship and his own recollections, the author offers important insights into the people and the work that led to the first H bomb

• Personal anecdotes enliven the book

Two views of the world clashed at the dawn of thought. In the great debate between the earliest Greek philosophers, Heraclitus argued for perpetual change, but Parmenides maintained there was neither time nor motion. Over the ages, few thinkers have taken Parmenides seriously, but I shall argue that Heraclitan flux, depicted nowhere more dramatically than in Turner’s painting below, may well be nothing but a well-founded illusion. I shall take you to a prospect of the end of time. In fact, you see it in Turner’s painting, which is static and has not changed since he painted it. It is an illusion of flux. Modern physics is beginning to suggest that all the motions of the whole universe are a similar illusion – that in this respect Nature is an even more consummate artist than Turner. This is the story of my book. Richard Feynman once quipped that "Time is what happens when nothing else does." But Julian Barbour disagrees: if nothing happened, if nothing changed, then time would stop. For time is nothing but change. It is change that we perceive occurring all around us, not time. Put simply, time does not exist. In this highly provocative volume, Barbour presents the basic evidence for a timeless universe, and shows why we still experience the world as intensely temporal. It is a book that strikes at the heart of modern physics. It casts doubt on Einstein's greatest contribution, the spacetime continuum, but also points to the solution of one of the great paradoxes of modern science, the chasm between classical and quantum physics. Indeed, Barbour argues that the holy grail of physicists--the unification of Einstein's general relativity with quantum mechanics--may well spell the end of time. Barbour writes with remarkable clarity as he ranges from the ancient philosophers Heraclitus and Parmenides, through the giants of science Galileo, Newton, and Einstein, to the work of the contemporary physicists John Wheeler, Roger Penrose, and Steven Hawking. Along the way he treats us to enticing glimpses of some of the mysteries of the universe, and presents intriguing ideas about multiple worlds, time travel, immortality, and, above all, the illusion of motion. The End of Time is a vibrantly written and revolutionary book. It turns our understanding of reality inside-out.