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"An elegant read for anyone interested in understanding modern physics. Tavel has a genuine knack for making the difficult and obscure clear and exciting." --Joseph C. Pitt, author of Thinking about Technology "You will never look at scientific theories in the same way again." --John Hubiscz, North Carolina State University Introductory physics is not often a popular class among liberal arts majors. With its lively prose and analogies from the arts, humanities, and social sciences, however, Contemporary Physics and the Limits of Knowledge is guaranteed to enlighten and delight nonscience majors. Morton Tavel contends that every one of the six topics that he explores--symmetry, special and general relativity, statistical physics, quantum mechanics, and chaos--has played a role in telling us what we are unable to know about the physical world. He explains what each of the topics reveals about our attempts to pinpoint reality, and how each scientific revelation forces us to acknowledge a narrowing rather than a broadening of our knowledge. Chaos theory, for example, reveals a way to understand the randomness that seems so prevalent in natural phenomena such as weather. This development unifies our understanding of many phenomena that had been previously thought unrelated. Yet, chaos represents a significant diminution in what we can hope to predict about the course of natural events. It has increased our knowledge or understanding of a phenomena, but has seriously eroded our long-held, Newtonian vision of prediction and control. Tavel emphasizes the features of physics that make it a very human endeavor and serve to build bridges to all other intellectual disciplicnes. Morton Tavel is a professor of physics at Vassar College.
A concise survey of the field of physics, Grissom’s book offers students and professionals alike a unique perspective on what physicists do, how physics is done, and how physicists view the world.
A natural philosophy expert who is also a physics and astronomy professor discusses the limits of scientific explanations and how our knowledge of the universe and its nature will always remain necessarily incomplete. 15,000 first printing.
Although early twentieth century physics produced two revolutionary new conceptions of the nature of the physical universe relativity theory and quantum theory more recent developments in the physical sciences have made it imperative for physicists to re-examine the older world view of physics and the assumptions upon which it was based. However, theorizing about the nature and status of reality has been the province of philosophers for centuries. Philosophers, trained in metaphysics, provided a different perspective for viewing and a unique method for solving some of these problems. Ideally, therefore, both philosophers and physicists should work together in dialogue fashion on this important issue. These two groups come together for the first time in this book to examine the questions: What is the world view of contemporary physics? Does it need a new metaphysics? If so, what kind of metaphysics does it need? Internationally known scholars, including Ilya Prigogine and Fritjof Capra, who are recognized as experts in this interdisciplinary field, address such related topics as the nature of the mind, our place in society, and the nature of ethics."
Knowledge and its Limits presents a systematic new conception of knowledge as a kind of mental stage sensitive to the knower's environment. It makes a major contribution to the debate between externalist and internalist philosophies of mind, and breaks radically with the epistemological tradition of analyzing knowledge in terms of true belief. The theory casts new light on such philosophical problems as scepticism, evidence, probability and assertion, realism and anti-realism, and the limits of what can be known. The arguments are illustrated by rigorous models based on epistemic logic and probability theory. The result is a new way of doing epistemology and a notable contribution to the philosophy of mind.
This completely revised second edition of our hugely popular book invites the reader to explore ten of the most important areas of modern physics: Symmetry, Lasers, Superconductivity, Bose–Einstein Condensation, Nanoscience, Quantum Computation, Chaos and Fractals, Stellar Evolution, Particles, and Cosmology. The new edition adds three new chapters in about a third of the book, covering the latest, hottest topics in contemporary physics: Bose–Einstein Condensate: Where Many Become One and How to Get There: Bose Statistics: Counting of the Indistinguishables; Bose–Einstein Condensation (BEC): The Over-Population Crisis; Cooling and Trapping of Atoms: Towards BEC; Doppler Limit and its Break Down; Trapping of Cold Atoms: Magnetic and Magneto-Optic Trap; Evaporative Cooling; BEC Finally: But How do We Know?; BEC: What Good is it? Exploring Nanostructures: Towards the Bottom; The Rise of Nanoscience; Confined Systems; Quantum Devices; The Genius of Carbon; Spintronics; Nanos at Large. Quantum Computation and Information: Classical Computer; Quantum Computer; Quantum Gates; Deutsch's Algorithm; Finding the Period of a Function; Shor's Factorization Algorithm; Grover's Search Algorithm; Hardware and Error Correction; Cryptography; Quantum Teleportation. The authors give a fascinating, up-to-date account of the exciting advances in these fast-moving fields. Their emphasis is as much on describing natural phenomena as on attempting to explain them in terms of basic principles, replacing equations with physical insight. General readers and university undergraduates alike will find this unique book a useful guide to the worlds of modern physics, while the mature scientist will get an insightful survey of neighboring fields of research. For the teacher who takes a thematic approach to teaching physics, this book will be a complete source of current topics at the frontiers of research; and for the student, a valuable tool of study, made even more useful by numerous pertinent problems (with complete solutions) and references found at the end of each chapter. Contents:Symmetry of Nature and Nature of SymmetryLasers and PhysicsSuperconductivityBose-Einstein Condensate: Where Many Become One and How to Get ThereExploring NanostructuresQuantum Computation and InformationChaos: Chance Out of NecessityBright Stars and Black HolesElementary Particles and ForcesCosmology Readership: Students, researchers in physics, chemistry, engineering and mathematics, science writers and general readers. Keywords:Symmetry;Lasers;Superconductivity;Bose-Einstein Condensate;Chaos;Fractals;Nanostructures;Spintronics;Fullerenes;Quantum Computation;Quantum Information;Elementary Particles;Cosmology;White Dwarfs;Neutron Stars;Black HolesReviews:“I am quite impressed both with the choice of highly interesting topics and the pedagogical presentation. This book will provide those with a basic knowledge of mathematics and physics, and an urge to learn more about Nature, with a precious source of information. I commend World Scientific for publishing this book. There is a need for this type of presentation, which lies in between non-technical, popular discussions and professional articles.”Professor Paul Hoyer University of Helsinki “This book invites readers to an up-to-date account of the ever changing world of modern physics from the smallest of elementary particles and strings to the vast of the whole cosmos. The authors have done an excellent job of explaining in simple language the physical principles and the complex phenomena. The book is a delightful reading to everyone who is interested in understanding the physical world around us. I especially enjoy the exposition of the fascinating subject of quantum computing.”Professor Tung-Mow Yan Cornell University “This is a very entertaining book — much like an extended banquet with a choice of intellectual delicacies. Not to be consumed in one sitting, but savored over many readings. The book addresses many of the most exciting topics of the day: quantum computation, Bose–Einstein condensation, cosmology, and nanotechnology. The presentation is engaging and smooth, and the book is very enlightening and informative.”Professor S “Sri” Sridhar Northeastern University “It is an impressive feat by the authors to cover such a wide panorama of physics from particles to cosmos and at a consistently high scientific level of information and explanation. This level is excellent and is at the frontier of current research … the great strength of this book, and the main reason why it is worth reading by anyone interested in modern science, lies in the text itself, which provides a fascinating and lively guide to the world of contemporary physics. And, as with any guide, this is truly an invitation to go beyond.”European Journal of Physics “This book is a must-read for those wanting to put their finger back on the pulse of physics research today … Ho-Kim, Kumar, and Lam successfully create a relaxed learning atmosphere, teach difficult topics, and generate reader excitement and interest in important research areas. Many guests will accept this invitation to contemporary physics.”The Industrial Physicist
Nobel Prize-winning German physicist Werner Heisenberg (1901-1976) is known for the development of quantum mechanics & the principle of indeterminacy. In Physics & Philosophy he explains how modern advances in science alter, & often destroy, traditional ways only when the philosophical assumptions underlying new scientific theories are accepted by the society. He shows how physical & philosophical assumptions embedded in scientific method allow for modifications when new evidence emerges. Scientific advances alone do not change a culture when stripped of the new knowledge that accompanies the new science.

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