In Search of the Ultimate Building Blocks Paperback – Dec 11 2003
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"I like this book: it is bold and strong; Professor 't Hooft has been a leader in the world of theoretical physics, and the knowledge and opinions he transmits are testaments of that. This book is great for students of physics and for well-seasoned researchers looking for a bigger picture....I applaud Professor 't Hooft for his willingness to write this provocative book." American Scientist
"The story is told with a confidence that comes only from deep understanding...gives the reader a sense of the exemplary, century-long cooperative effort that created the modern science of particle physics...it is easily accessible to the nonphysicist." New Scientist
"It gives a remarkable account of the interior dialogue of particle theory." Physics Today
"I recommend this book to professionals and some members of the general audience that have an interest in the concept of elementary particles as seen by the eyes of this author." Otto M. Friedrich, Jr., Science Books & Films
"Gerard t'Hooft has made outstanding contributions in theoretical particle physics, and if this attempt to explain his subject to a lay audience is a guide, he could become an excellent populariser, too....With analogies and anecdotes, t'Hooft skillfully enters the world of particles....the reader is now invited to enjoy t'Hooft's first-hand account of the great revolution in gauge theories in which he played such a singular role, culminating in his personal thoughts on string theory, black holes, and more." Frank Close
"...provides a lucid explanation of the motivations behind these theories and of their advantages and disadvantages, along with speculations about the possible form of a true theory of everything." Robert H. March, Physics Today
From 1960 until 1990 theoretical physicists and experimentalists worked together to probe deeper and deeper into the basic structure of matter. The author's involvement in the era enhances his account of one of the most exciting periods in the history of physics.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
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.)
'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.
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.
Most recent customer reviews
Anyone that has slogged their way through BPHZ, LZT, proof of renormalizability of Yang Mills fields or singularity theorems deserves to read this book, because this book is what... Read morePublished on April 3 2000 by Scott A. Caveny
't Hooft's journey through particle physics is pleasant and sometimes exciting. In the last chapters he discusses the latest theoretical models in a clear and synthetic way. Read morePublished on March 31 2000 by alessandro roggi
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