From Quarks to Black Holes: Interviewing the Universe

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World Scientific, 2001 - Science - 188 pages
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This book presents a series of delightful interviews in which natural objects such as an electron, a black hole, a galaxy, and even the vacuum itself, reveal their innermost secrets OCo not only what they are but also how they feel. A hydrogen atom tells us about quantum mechanics and why we live in a non-deterministic world; a black hole explains curved space and naked singularities; and a uranium atom talks of its life on a meteor, its tremendous collision with Earth, and properties of radioactivity OCo all while grappling with its own mortality. A neutron star gives a personal account of its creation and goes on to discuss quasars and other extraordinary astronomical objects, while an iron atom describes its birth in a remote supernova explosion and its series of adventures on Earth, from its early use in wrought iron processes to its time in a human body, and then to its latest misadventures. The book discusses many fundamental issues in physics and, at times, examines the philosophical and moral issues of society. For example, the interview with the quark reveals the nature of color gauge symmetry, which is interwoven with a discussion on truth and beauty, and shows how these concepts play an integral part in physics and nature, while the uranium atom expresses its horror of the development and use of the atomic bomb. Contents: Interview with a Carbon Atom; Interview with an Electron; Interview with Jupiter; Interview with a Black Hole; Interview with a Uranium Atom; Interview with a Fermion and a Boson; Interview with a Star; Interview with a Wimp; Interview with a Comet; Interview with a Spiral Galaxy; Interview with a Neutrino; Interview with a Hydrogen Atom; Interview with a Neutron; Interview with a Quark; Interview with a Tachyon; Interview with a Quasar; Interview with Antimatter; Interview with Iron; Interview with a Muon; Interview with a Neutron Star; Interview with a String; Interview with Vacuum. Readership: Scientists and anyone interested in the natural world."
 

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Contents

Interview with an electron
5
Interview with a black hole
13
of physics that rule on the atomic scale It discusses the concept
14
Interview with a uranium atom
21
Interview with a fermion and a boson
30
Interview with a Wimp
44
Interview with a spiral galaxy
58
Interview with a hydrogen atom
77
Interview with a neutron
90
Interview with a tachyon
107
Interview with an iron atom
122
Interview with a neutron star
137
Interview with vacuum
153
Glossary
167
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