Black Bodies and Quantum Cats: Tales from the Annals of Physics

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Penguin, 2005 - Science - 320 pages
3 Reviews
Physics, once known as “natural philosophy,” is the most basic science, explaining the world we live in, from the largest scale down to the very, very, verysmallest, and our understanding of it has changed over many centuries. In Black Bodies and Quantum Cats, science writer Jennifer Ouellette traces key developments in the field, setting descriptions of the fundamentals of physics in their historical context as well as against a broad cultural backdrop. Newton’s laws are illustrated via the film Addams Family Values, while Back to the Futuredemonstrates the finer points of special relativity. Poe’s “The Purloined Letter” serves to illuminate the mysterious nature of neutrinos, and Jeanette Winterson’s novel Gut Symmetriesprovides an elegant metaphorical framework for string theory.

An enchanting and edifying read, Black Bodies and Quantum Cats shows that physics is not an arcane field of study but a profoundly human endeavor—and a fundamental part of our everyday world.

 

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Black bodies and quantum cats: tales from the annals of physics

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

In 38 brief chapters, journalist Ouellette, whose "This Month in Physics History" column runs in APS (American Physical Society) News , presents an engaging overview of key advances in physics from ... Read full review

Lots of interesesting stories about physics.

User Review  - Michael V. - Overstock.com

Very enjoyable reading without be too technical. Read full review

Contents

Talkin bout a Revolution
9
Good Heavens
26
Drawing Down the Fire
43
Trompe lOeil
51
Rules of Attraction
60
lngenious Engines
67
Emperors of the
74
Disorderly Conduct
82
Shadow Casters
120
Radio Days
129
Mysterious Rays
137
A Thousand Points of Light sflg
144
lts All Relative
161
That Darn
177
Life During Wartime
192
Tiny Bubbles
208

Queens of Science
89
Calling Mister Watson
96
Thrill Seekers
104
Current Affairs
112
Energize
224
Contemplating Chaos
240
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About the author (2005)

Jennifer Ouellette writes APS News¬'s popular ¬“This Month in Physics History¬” column, which she co-created with editor Alan Chodos in 2000. She also writes on science for such publications as Discover and Salon. She is a Jujitsu black belt.

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