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From Paradox to Reality

From Paradox to Reality
Our Basic Concepts of the Physical World


  • Date Published: August 1989
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521376051

£ 40.99

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About the Authors
  • This book discusses, in clear non technical language, the two major theories of twentieth-century physics: relativity and quantum mechanics. They are discussed conceptually and philosophically, rather than using mathematics, and the philosophical issues raised pertain to much of science, not only physics. The book is based on successful courses taught by the author, who shows how new discoveries forced physicists to accept often strange and unconventional notions. He aims to remove the mystery and misrepresentation that often surround the ideas of modern physics and to show how modern scientists construct theories. In this way, the reader can appreciate their successes and failures and understand problems which are as yet unsolved.

    Reviews & endorsements

    'A clear and coherent account.' Nature

    'An ideal book prize for a budding physics undergraduate.' School Science

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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 1989
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521376051
    • length: 240 pages
    • dimensions: 247 x 174 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.418kg
    • contains: 41 b/w illus. 7 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. At the Roof of the Endeavor:
    1. Human limitations
    2. Theory and the role of mathematics
    3. Scientific objectivity
    4. The aim of scientific theory
    Part II. The World of Relativity:
    5. Space and time: from absolute to relative
    6. Imposed consistency: special relativity
    7. Gravitation as geometry: general relativity
    8. Revolutions without revolutions
    Part III. The Quantum World:
    9. The limits of the classical world
    10. Concepts of the quantum world
    11. From apparent paradox to a new reality
    12. The present state of the art
    Glossary of technical terms
    Name index
    Subject index.

  • Author

    Fritz Rohrlich, Syracuse University, New York

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