- Audio CD
- Verlag: Tantor Audio; Auflage: , CD. (26. März 2012)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 1452607087
- ISBN-13: 978-1452607085
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 16,3 x 4,1 x 13,5 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 1 Kundenrezension
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 2.767.352 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
- Komplettes Inhaltsverzeichnis ansehen
The Infinity Puzzle: Quantum Field Theory and the Hunt for an Orderly Universe (Englisch) Audio-CD – Audiobook, 26. März 2012
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If [the Higgs Boson] does turn up, some people in Stockholm will likely be among the book's most avid readers ... Close is especially diligent in investigating the priority of ideas and in crediting researchers who may have been left behind, either by the Nobel committee or by popular imagination ... The result is a much more nuanced picture of history. * Physics World * masterpiece...I never normally give 5 stars but for this I make an exception. * John Gribbin, BBC Focus * thoroughly researched and well-crafted narrative * New Scientist * Review from previous edition fascinating book * Nature * this is an insider's view of a story that changed our understanding of the nature of reality. * Guardian * -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: MP3 CD.
"Mr Close's magisterial work is sure to become the definitive account"-The Economist -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: MP3 CD.Alle Produktbeschreibungen
In 'The Infinity Puzzle' Frank Close delves deep into the theoretical background that has lead to the postulation of the Higgs Boson. Higgs Boson turns out to be an indispensible ingredient for the theoretical formulation of the electroweak theory ' the unified theory of electromagnetic and weak interactions. The modern formulation of that theory, the so-called Glashow-Weinberg-Salam model, has come at the end of a long series of abortive attempts at unification, and has been followed by even a longer succession of theoretical and experimental verifications. The discovery of the Higgs Boson would be the final validation of that model, and it would also potentially shed some light on the rest of the Standard Model of particles and fields.
This book primarily focuses on personal histories of many of the actors that have contributed to the electroweak theory and experiment, going all the way back to the middle of the twentieth century. These are fascinating personal stories that have been long overdue for a comprehensive popular treatment. Even people like myself whose professional careers have been influenced by the electroweak and similar theories (known as 'gauge theories') have a rudimentary knowledge of their historical development. However, I was hoping that this book would be more focused on physics in its own right, and much less concerned with history. I've read several other books by Frank Close ('Nothing: A very Short introduction,' 'Neutrino') and from reading those I've come impressed by Close's ability to present complex physical ideas in an accessible and highly informative manner. 'The Infinity Puzzle' turns out to be a very different kind of book. Aside from being overly historical, it also spends too much time on 'inside baseball' minutia and arcana that even those who are inside baseball will probably just skip over. I am really not interested in getting the information straight on who presented which scientific talk in what form back in the early 1970s, and I can't imagine that most readers of this book would care much about this either. This is a very interesting and accessible book, but I am afraid that the choice of topics might be too recondite for the kind of audience that this book is aimed at.
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The book takes as its focus the development of quantum mechanics into quantum electrodynamics, quantum chromodynamics and, what I hadn't encountered before, quantum flavordynamics. The original mathematical models led to numerous infinities which the scientific community that developed these models sought to eliminate at least in part by a process called renormalization. In renormalization, experimental physicists told the theoretical physicists what the answer was and, from what I could tell, the theoretical physicists made the math fit the answer developed by the experimental physicists. Not surprisingly the theoretical physicists found this somewhat unsatisfying. The theoretical physicists struggled to make their theories and the supporting math fit the reality being uncovered by experiment. If you're interested in what these theories propose about physical reality, Dr. Close largely waits until the end of the book to consider some of the nature of our universe as suggested by current scientific understanding.
The book really focuses on who received the Nobel prize or who didn't receive the Nobel prize and why this may have occurred. Dr. Close provides insight on the effect of ambition, ego, and personality in the pursuit of the highest prize in science. The book is worth reading for this alone. Feynman,Weinberg, Salam, Gell-Mann,Oppenheimer and others who dominated the development of the Standard Model and quantum mechanics largely from the middle to the end of the twentieth century find their place in the story. Others, less familiar or unfamiliar to me, t'Hooft, Higgs and Bjorken have their substantial contributions explained.
It's difficult to find a book which explains the physics and math in a way that everyone can understand. My interest as an RN lies with the relationship of Quantum Field Theory and shamanistic healing. I read The Eagle's Quest by Fred Alan Wolf, a physicist who ties Quantum Physics with Shamanism and Shamanistic healing practices.
There are cases of unexplained reversals of cancer which could explain an area in physics not very well understood. It is possible that a medical application eventually will be tied to the Quantum Field Theory. It is a fascinating subject.
Another aspect which has fascinated me is how complex the atom is. To me it's like a Chinese puzzle which when one layer is discovered other layers are found.
Good book for those who want a clear description of a difficult topic.
Close's book is not only a clear description of renormalization but is also probably the most detailed popular history of post-war particle physics that I have read. Close starts with QED and how its brilliant expositors like Julian Schwinger and Richard Feynman developed renormalization techniques to exorcise its infinities. After this, the major part of the book deals with comprehensively describing one of the great triumphs of modern physics - the unification of the weak and electromagnetic forces by Sheldon Glashow, Steven Weinberg and Abdus Salam. This theory had to be again shown to be renormalizable, a momentous feat that was achieved by Dutch physicists Gerard 't Hooft and Martin Veltman. Along the way we are also treated to a fast-paced account of developments leading to the conjecture of the Higgs boson which was originally proposed to explain the difference in masses between the carriers of the electroweak force (the massive Z and W bosons) and the electromagnetic force (the massless photon). And finally Close describes one of the last pieces of the subatomic puzzle, the unraveling of the strong force inside atomic nuclei and the structure of protons and neutrons. These developments capping the understanding of the strong, weak and electromagnetic interactions paved the way to the creation of the Standard Model of particle physics, the crowning glory of physics that encompasses all known particles and forces except gravity and predicts the Higgs boson.
However, the most fascinating aspect of Close's book in my opinion is not the lucid description of these technical details but the way it sheds light on both the nature of discovery and most importantly, the human side of science. As Close himself says, science as it appears to the public seems to consist of a few heroes marching resolutely on a linear trajectory to the truth. But as he marvelously documents, the truth is very different and way more messy and non-linear. Science is as much an unpredictable human drama as an exploration of nature's secrets. In every part of the story we see fallible human beings with all their ambitions, prejudices and flaws. There are lots of cases where scientists give up promising leads because of unfavorable remarks or neglect by others and have their discoveries scooped up later by fellow scientists who then win a Nobel Prize. We also read about the Nobel Laureate P. W. Anderson using insights from a very different field (superconductivity) to make key contributions to the ideas leading to the Higgs. Then there are little-known brilliant scientists like J. C. Ward and Ronald Shaw who have their fundamental ideas ignored because they are relatively unknown junior researchers who are lower in the hierarchy. Nobel Prizes are eagerly sought after, narrowly missed and even lobbied for. Sometimes one can see the almost eerie simultaneous germination of ideas in multiple minds, with some of them blossoming under the right circumstances and others fizzling out because of lack of interest or context. In many such cases, so many people end up contributing to a discovery in so many different ways that assigning credit becomes difficult or impossible. For instance, although Higgs's name is attached to the famous particle, it's clear that at least five others independently had the same ideas. Furthermore, in almost every case that Close documents, there are mutually conflicting accounts by scientists of the exact time, place and source leading to the conception of a key idea. Chance encounters and fortuitous attendances at the right scientific meetings seem to contribute to scientists' thought processes to a disproportionate extent. To his credit Close goes into considerable detail when describing all this and it's truly incredible to realize by reading his account how messy, haphazard and subject to sheer luck the actual process of scientific discovery is. Far from being the sure path to knowledge often depicted by the media, science resembles a zigzag, unpredictable climb over hills and valleys obscured by fog.
Yet the beauty of it is that the truth, whatever it is, is surely out there, and an alert and intelligent mind can recognize it through hard-work, curiosity and mathematical prowess. The emphasis on the latter is especially clear in the book, and it's remarkable to realize the almost terrifying power of mathematics that allowed scientists to conjecture the existence of new fundamental particles of nature through sheer thought alone. In many cases it took fifteen or twenty years before these particles were actually found by experiment. The history of particle physics in this sense shows us what the human mind is capable of.
As Close tells us in the end, these adventures are far from over. The last part of the book is dedicated to the equally heroic and imaginative experimental efforts devoted to verifying the predictions of the theorists, many of which gathered Nobel Prizes. As the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) spews out massive amounts of data, scientists are waiting with bated breath for the Higgs or its absence. Either way it would be a momentous event and would point to new, hitherto unexplored directions. Overall I would strongly recommend Close's book as one of the best accounts of both the post-war development of particle physics and of the idiosyncratic human side of science that I have read. The story is as epic as any great novel and packed with fascinating characters. Close tells it exceedingly well.