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In Search of the Ultimate Building Blocks Paperback – Nov 28 1996


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (Nov. 28 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521578833
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521578837
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15 x 1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #717,875 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents


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First Sentence
Let us begin our journey to the world of the tiny by beginning with what we can see with the naked eye, and with those laws of physics that we are all accustomed to. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Elli Ron on March 9 2004
Format: Hardcover
It included a Eureka moment for me, t' Hooft sets the elementary particles into a sensible context in his smart particle tables, it was one of those "I get it" moments, in which strange quarks (and the rest) just made sense.
The text is lucid and includes light touches of humor, mainly at the expense of the TOE "theories", this is a real physicist, which gently advices "reality checks" to those who will forget that physics is about the world we experience, with experimental verification high on the priority list.
Not many of us (me included) had the pleasure of a Physics Nobel laureate explaining his field of expertise to us in a personal way, this book is the closest most of us can get to that.
My only negative comment is that it should have been a longer book, including more subjects and more of 't Hooft's insights.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 30 2002
Format: Paperback
Gerard t'Hooft is a surprisingly rare example of a rational physicist who is not-so-willing to support all those main-stream paradoxical and irrational claims which often saturate works of some celebrated theoretical physicists. Consequently, Dr. t'Hooft is not so popular among the fashionable camp of string mystics, but rather remains an idependently thinking theorist of Einstein's or Jaynes' scientific ethics.
In my opinion, Dr. 't Hooft wrote a very honest, competent, sincere, and yet highly readable book. In comparison with those popular but misleading books in the style of "The Elegant Universe" (B. Greene) or "The First Three Minutes" (S. Weinberg), this book is a much better example of a fair popularizing book on fundamental particle physics and its recent history, from a perspective of a personal scientific advanture.
Dr. 't Hooft is evidently well aware about some fundamental intrinsic difficulties in modern theoretical physics, which many other physicists either ignore, or simply cannot recognize. Just one typical quote from t'Hooft's book which many quantum, statistical and string physicists should read as a mantra every morning:
"Probabilities and statistics are mistreated a great deal, even by physicists." (p. 14)
Yes, here is the root of many "paradoxes" of modern physics. As a theoretical physicist (and independently from my personal preferences), I think that Gerard 't Hooft is right also on many other sensitive issues of modern physics and that he wrote a very honest popularizing book. This book is fair to a layman and interesting even to an advanced physicist. (As a rare exception to this rule, I cannot fully support his section on Planck's radiation law (p. 9) where I found some common physical misperceptions and some traces of a historical myth.)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Victor A. Vyssotsky on May 2 2001
Format: Paperback
Gerard 't Hooft is one of the best and most thoughtful physicists in the world; there are many who think he should have received the Nobel Prize long before he finally did (in 1999). This short book is a marvel. It can be read with almost no prior knowledge of mathematics or physics, and it gives an extremely clear and well-balanced view of the well-established state of knowledge in particle physics and field theory as of 1997; little has changed in the intervening four years.
't Hooft has his own prejudices and enthusiams, but in this book he tried scrupulously to stick with the mainstream concensus in the first 21 of 28 chapters. In the last seven chapters, he describes some of the current and more speculative work being done by various people all over the world who are attempting to create a "Grand Theory of Everything". This discussion is cautious and somewhat skeptical, as I believe it should be, but the underlying ideas of the various approaches are clearly described.
I consider 't Hooft to be one of the greatest physicists of the 20th century, and I consider this to be one of the half-dozen best books for laymen on any aspect of modern physics that I have come across. I believe that's because 't Hooft himself thinks so clearly.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Craig Webster on March 24 2000
Format: Paperback
This book is not for the timid or casual reader, but more intrepid readers who are familiar with some of the aspects of quantum mechanics will find it an interesting and personalised synopsis of the field from approximately 1970 to the present - a period co-inciding with the author's career to date. Quantum mechanics is certainly one of the most significant theory's of the 20th century and the period covered in this book is of particular interest because of the large number of new particles discovered during this time. But this is not a physics textbook - 't Hooft includes many personal insights and conversations with other important figures in the field - giving the reader a rare inside look into the process and motivations behind the breakthroughs. The book has a conversational tone and there are no complicated mathematics.
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