Fearful Symmetry: The Search for Beauty in Modern Physics

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Princeton University Press, 2007 - Philosophy - 356 pages

An engaging exploration of beauty in physics, with a foreword by Nobel Prize-winning physicist Roger Penrose

The concept of symmetry has widespread manifestations and many diverse applications--from architecture to mathematics to science. Yet, as twentieth-century physics has revealed, symmetry has a special, central role in nature, one that is occasionally and enigmatically violated. Fearful Symmetry brings the incredible discoveries of the juxtaposition of symmetry and asymmetry in contemporary physics within everyone's grasp. A. Zee, a distinguished physicist and skillful expositor, tells the exciting story of how contemporary theoretical physicists are following Einstein in their search for the beauty and simplicity of Nature. Animated by a sense of reverence and whimsy, Fearful Symmetry describes the majestic sweep and accomplishments of twentieth-century physics--one of the greatest chapters in the intellectual history of humankind.

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Fearful symmetry: the search for beauty in modern physics

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The story of modern physics is the story of the triumph of reductionism. It follows that a study of symmetry (the observation that physical laws remain unchanged when action is viewed from different ... Read full review

Contents

In Search of Beauty
3
Where the Action Is Not
103
The Lady and the Tyger
113
Copyright

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About the author (2007)

A. Zee is professor of physics at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His books include Quantum Field Theory in a Nutshell and Einstein Gravity in a Nutshell (both Princeton). Roger Penrose is a Nobel Prize-winning physicist and the bestselling author, with Stephen Hawking, of The Nature of Space and Time (Princeton). He is the Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics Emeritus at the University of Oxford.

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