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Symmetry and the Beautiful Universe Paperback – Nov 30 2007

4.2 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 363 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books (Nov. 30 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591025753
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591025757
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 1.9 x 21.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 476 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #342,666 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

The concept of symmetry has seen increasing service in science popularizations as a metaphor to convey the intuitive appeal of physics, a vogue that continues in this dense treatise. Nobel Laureate Lederman (The God Particle) and theoretical physicist Hill deploy mathematical symmetry as a unifying theme in a tour of physics from Newton's laws to quarks and superstrings. Sometimes, as in a demonstration that the invariance of physical laws through time implies the law of conservation of energy, this approach yields insights. But usually, as in their confusing exposition of special relativity, symmetry considerations get in the way. The authors keep things readable with lots of physics-for-poets bits, including some tie-ins to environmentalism, comparisons of modern cosmology with ancient Greek myths, and a fictional dialogue—partly in Italian—between two newlywed physicists and Galileo's ghost. Unfortunately, symmetry is a forbiddingly abstract branch of mathematics that was peripheral to the development of much of physics and gives little tangible feel for its substance, and the point where it becomes indispensable to discussions of modern physics is also the tipping point where the book, like many others, topples into total incomprehensibility to laypeople. Readers who think symmetry implies clarity and grace will be disappointed. Photos.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"A tour de force of physics made simple...."
— Times Literary Supplement 

“Thought-provoking….”
— Discover 

“Few books about modern physics are as fascinating, far-ranging, and readable as this. It would be appreciated by anyone interested in the nature of science and the beauty of the universe…."
NSTA Recommends

"A compelling and accessible discussion….”
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I have read many books for the lay-person on physics where they try to explain the symmetry aspect of the subject but this book is easily the best I have encountered so far. Starting with Nother's theorem, everything from relativity to quantum mechanics is covered using little mathematics. In particular, I have always had difficulty understanding guage fields and how they provide the fundametal forces but this book provides a clear non-mathematical explaination.

The appendix provides detailed step-by-step explanation of how symmetry groups work.

A little history and philosophy is thrown in too. An example which I found interesting is how long ago was it realised that light had a finite speed? I found the answer surprising.

Although the writing style is light, the subject matter is certainly not "dumbed down". I recommend this book to anyone who has a more than casual interest in physics.
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Format: Paperback
The wonders of the universe - it's amazing how much we know today about the mysteries that baffled people in the past.

The problem though is that this knowledge was gleaned through the hard work and creativity of mental giants, using abstract tools of higher math on one hand and giant atom smashers on the other.

Pity then the writer who tries to convey the essence of the findings to the reader who has familiarity with neither.

But the two authors here have done a good job. I had some trouble following a few passages. But this is more than made up for in the rest of the book by the lucid descriptions and explanations of how symmetry goes to the core of the latest discoveries in physics. It really is a beautiful universe. And although this book may leave a few mysteries not completely explained, think of it as an invitation to explore further!
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Format: Hardcover
This book explains the concept of symmetry in physics through an examination of a number of related topics, from energy conservation to particle physics. There's a lot of math here, so I would not recommend this book to someone without some university level physics experience. For myself (2nd major in physics 10 years ago) it was just at the right level where I could follow almost all of it, but still learned quite a bit.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A somewhat challenging read (and really understand), but well worth the effort. If you love physics, you'll love this book!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great book. Missing dust jacket.
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