From Clockwork to Crapshoot: A History of Physics

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Harvard University Press, 2007 - 340 Seiten
Science is about 6000 years old while physics emerged as a distinct branch some 2500 years ago. As scientists discovered virtually countless facts about the world during this great span of time, the manner in which they explained the underlying structure of that world underwent a philosophical evolution. From Clockwork to Crapshoot provides the perspective needed to understand contemporary developments in physics in relation to philosophical traditions as far back as ancient Greece. Roger Newton, whose previous works have been widely praised for erudition and accessibility, presents a history of physics from the early beginning to our day--with the associated mathematics, astronomy, and chemistry. Along the way, he gives brief explanations of the scientific concepts at issue, biographical thumbnail sketches of the protagonists, and descriptions of the changing instruments that enabled scientists to make their discoveries. He traces a profound change from a deterministic explanation of the world--accepted at least since the time of the ancient Greek and Taoist Chinese civilizations--to the notion of probability, enshrined as the very basis of science with the quantum revolution at the beginning of the twentieth century. With this change, Newton finds another fundamental shift in the focus of physicists--from the cause of dynamics or motion to the basic structure of the world. His work identifies what may well be the defining characteristic of physics in the twenty-first century.
 

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LibraryThing Review

Nutzerbericht  - fpagan - LibraryThing

Saying that physics is six millennia old as a discipline seems a bit of a stretch, but this is a creditable and competent little history of it. Vollständige Rezension lesen

From clockwork to crapshoot: a history of physics

Nutzerbericht  - Not Available - Book Verdict

This book's subtitle is a bit misleading as the text is not a history of physics but rather a personal investigation into the development of scientific thought over the past six millennia. Writing ... Vollständige Rezension lesen

Ausgewählte Seiten

Inhalt

Prologue
1
Beginnings
4
The Greek Miracle
11
Science in the Middle Ages
41
The First Revolution
67
Newtons Legacy
100
New Physics
121
Relativity
154
The Quantum Revolution
210
Fields Nuclei and Stars
248
The Properties of Matter
279
The Constituents of the Universe
290
Epilogue
308
Notes
313
Sources and Further Reading
316
Index
322

Statistical Physics
171
Probability
189

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Über den Autor (2007)

Roger G. Newton is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Physics at Indiana University .

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