## From Paradox to Reality: Our Basic Concepts of the Physical WorldThis 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. |

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### 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 |

223 | |

225 | |

### Common terms and phrases

absolute space acceleration angular momentum Annotated reading list approximation atom boost transformations called classical particles classical physics classical theory classical world clock concepts curved direction distance earth Einstein electric charge electrodynamics electromagnetic electron emitted energy equations ether exactly example experimental frequency fundamental Galilean Galileo geometry glue particles gravitation theory inertial reference frame interference pattern invariance large number law of inertia light cone light ray list for Chapter Lorentz transformation macroscopic mass mathematical matter Maxwell's measured meter stick Minkowski space moving nature Newton's Newtonian mechanics nucleus object observed phenomena photons physical sciences physicist planets predictions principle probabilistic probability amplitude properties quantum field theory quantum logic quantum mechanics quantum particles quantum system quantum world quarks radiation reality rest result rotating Schroedinger scientific theory scientists screen Section simultaneously slit space-time special relativity special theory speed of light spin temperature theory of relativity thought experiment unification velocity wave length

### 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.