The Story of Physics

Lloyd Motz, Author, Jefferson Hane Weaver, Editor Basic Books $24.5 (412p) ISBN 978-0-306-43076-3
Our increasing understanding of the universe is detailed in this inspiring story of the evolution of physics, the most basic science. Motz and Weaver (coauthors of The Concepts of Science ) range over the mathematics and meta physical speculations of the ancient Greeks through Newton's laws of motion and his theory of universal gravitation to the latest in quantum mechanics and cosmological theories. The book intertwines the lives of scientists with details of their discoveries. For example, we read about Newton's education at Cambridge, the two astonishing years (1665 and 1666) when he made all of his major discoveries and his subsequent career as president of the Royal Society and Master of the Mint. In the context of Newton's life, the authors precisely define the term ``law of nature'' and explain the importance of the calculus. The growing unity and completeness of physics is illustrated through the lives of major physicists and their work, including James Clerk Maxwell's unification of electricity and magnetism; Max Planck's discovery of the quantum of action; Einstein's theory of relativity; Heisenberg's uncertainty principle. The book is a feast for the intellect. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1989
Release date: 04/01/1989
Paperback - 412 pages - 978-0-380-71725-5
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