Longing for the Harmonies: Themes and Variations from Modern Physics

Frank Wilczek, Author, Betsy Devine, With W. W. Norton & Company $19.95 (384p) ISBN 978-0-393-02482-1
The title here sums up today's Big Bang scientists at sea among the theoretical dissonances and paradoxes they've tried to express in their GUTS (Grand Unified Theories), which ask the question Leibnitz posed long ago: Why is there something rather than nothing? Wilczek, physics professor at UC Santa Barbara, and his coauthor wife are only the latest but certainly among the most original writers who have tried to capture the current physics scene in a book. They sum up, in somewhat the form of ""themes and variations''the authors are music loverssuch challenging problems of ``quantal reality'' as cosmic uniformity, interchangeability, etc. Sharply knowledgeable, they discuss the nature of light (they transform ``waves'' and ``lumps'' to a new word, laves) and run the gamut from quarks, colour (they choose the British spelling), mesons, gluons et al. to deep views on matter, antimatter and what may be the most exciting and seminal concept in the new physics: symmetry. Here they have a crack at answering Leibnitz's questionan arresting climax to a book loaded with astounding insights and riddles. Photos. (November 16)
Reviewed on: 12/01/1987
Release date: 12/01/1987
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-0-393-30596-8
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