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Conceptual Developments of 20th Century Field Theories

Conceptual Developments of 20th Century Field Theories


  • Date Published: May 1998
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521634205

£ 51.99

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About the Authors
  • This book gives a broad synthesis of conceptual developments of twentieth-century field theories, from the general theory of relativity to quantum field theory and gauge theory. The author gives a historico-critical exposition of the conceptual foundations of the theories revealing a pattern to the evolution of these conceptions. Theoretical physicists and students of theoretical physics will find in this book an account of the foundational problems of their discipline that will help them understand the internal logic and dynamics of their subject. In addition the book will provide professional historians and philosophers of science, and especially philosophers of physics, with a conceptual basis for further historical, cultural and sociological analysis of the theories discussed. The book also contains much material for philosophical (metaphysical, methodological and semantical) reflection. Finally, the scientifically qualified general reader will find in this book a deeper analysis of contemporary conceptions of the physical world than can be found in popular accounts of the subject.

    • Outstanding reviews of the hardback
    • 850 sales in hardback at £45 and $59.95 in 9 months
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Tian Yu Cao's timely book provides a broad overview of twentieth-century field theories … it is an up-to-date, well informed and detailed historical account.' Ian Aitchison, Nature

    '… a study of exceptional interest to both physicians and historians alike … All in all this is a spellbinding book, with a wealth of information. As Gordon Fraser, editor of the CERN Courier, told me: 'This book is not leaving my office!'.' Martinus Veltman, Physics World

    '… the book [is] a deep and masterly overview of the conceptual foundations of field theories. Although perhaps addressed primarily to physicists and philosphers of physics, this work will also be a rich resource for the historian of modern scientific ideas.' Helge Kragh, Isis

    '… is likely to become the standard reference on the history and conceptual underpinning of modern field theory.' Silvia Bergia, Centaurus

    '… an excellent supplement to the usual physics introductions, which focus mainly on calculation techniques and neglect the (equally) important conceptual aspects. I warmly recommend this book not only to researchers in quantum or classical field theories, but also to philosophers and sociologists of science …'. V. Vedral, Contemporary Physics

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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 1998
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521634205
    • length: 456 pages
    • dimensions: 246 x 189 x 23 mm
    • weight: 0.81kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. The rise of classical field theory
    Part I. Geometrical Programme For Fundamental Interactions:
    3. Einstein's route to gravitational field
    4. General theory of relativity (GTR)
    5. Geometrical programme (GP)
    Part II. Quantum Field Programme For Fundamental Interactions:
    6. The rise of quantum theory
    7. Formation of conceptual foundations of quantum field theory
    8. Quantum field programme (QFP)
    Part III. Gauge Field Programme For Fundamental Interactions:
    9. The route to gauge field
    10. Formation of conceptual foundations of gauge field theory
    11. Gauge field programme (GFP)
    12. Ontological synthesis and scientific realism

  • Author

    Tian Yu Cao, Boston University

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