From Paradox to Reality: Our Basic Concepts of the Physical World

Front Cover
Cambridge University Press, Aug 25, 1989 - Science - 240 pages
0 Reviews
Using a clear, non-technical style, Professor Rohrlich discusses the two major theories of twentieth-century physics: relativity and quantum mechanics. Discussed conceptually and philosophically, rather than using mathematics, the philosophical issues raised show 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, so that the reader can appreciate their successes and failures and understand problems that are as yet unresolved.
  

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Selected pages

Contents

Human limitations
3
b Bounds of human nature
5
c Restrictions by complexity
6
Theory and the role of mathematics
9
b What does mathematics have to do with nature?
11
Scientific objectivity
15
b Acceptability criteria
17
the irrelevance of the specific observer
19
b Scientific revolutions
114
The quantum world
119
The limits of the classical world
121
b The discovery of quantization
125
Concepts of the quantum world
134
a Waves and particles
135
b Quantum particles
141
c Indeterminacy
144

The aim of scientific theory
23
b Unification
27
The world of relativity
33
Space and time from absolute to relative
35
b Newton the first great architect of mathematical theory
37
c The relativity of Newtonian mechanics
42
Imposed consistency special relativity
49
b The paradox of the speed of light
52
c Einsteins fiat
55
d Simultaneity
62
e Fast moving clocks and meter sticks
65
f The conversion of matter into energy
72
g Spacetime geometry
75
h Poincare invariance
86
Gravitation as geometry general relativity
89
b Why Einstein searched for a new gravitation theory
91
c The equivalence principle
93
d Curved spacetime
97
e General relativity
102
f Gravitational radiation and black holes
106
Revolutions without revolutions
111
d Uncertainty
147
e Complementarity
151
f The essential link
153
From apparent paradox to a new reality
158
a Quantum systems
159
b Observables and measurements
161
c Schroedingers cat
166
d Einsteins reality
169
e Quantum reality
175
f Quantum logic
180
g Macroscopic quantum phenomena
184
The present state of the art
189
b The onion of matter
194
c Elementary particles
196
Epilogue
202
Notes
205
Glossary of technical terms
219
Name index
223
Subject index
225
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page 1 - I think this shows a misconception of the scientific attitude: it is not what the man of science believes that distinguishes him, but how and why he believes it. His beliefs are tentative, not dogmatic; they are based on evidence, not on authority or intuition.

References to this book

All Book Search results »

Bibliographic information