The Perfect Theory: A Century of Geniuses and the Battle over General Relativity (Anglais) Relié – 4 février 2014
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Description du produit
Revue de presse
"Ferreira (Astrophysics/Univ. of Oxford; The State of the Universe: A Primer in Modern Cosmology, 2006, etc.) writes an enthusiastic and comprehensible popular account of how Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity continues to generate new knowledge as well as hints of more secrets to be revealed.
Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity may be the greatest discovery in science. It’s the key to understanding the history of the universe, the nature of time, stars, galaxies and matter itself. With the dramatic 1919 announcement confirming the theory’s prediction that gravity bends light rays, Einstein became a media superstar, and physicists began a search for other predictions that continues to this day. Everyone during that time, Einstein included, assumed that stars and galaxies drifted at random. Several physicists pointed out that his equations indicated an expanding universe. Reluctantly, Einstein finally agreed. Others calculated that when a large, aging star collapses, gravity shrinks it into an infinitely dense point outside of time and space: a black hole. However, Einstein never accepted that. During the 1920s, many physicists turned their attention to quantum mechanics and nuclear physics, which, unlike relativity, had vivid consequences. Only with the 1950s did a new generation return to the research. Simultaneously, astronomers began discovering phenomena that required relativity, including quasars, neutron stars, gravitational lenses, dark matter, energy and black holes. The perfection of Einstein’s theory remains; none of its predictions have been proven wrong, but the stubborn refusal of gravity to unite with all other natural forces remains a frustrating problem.
Ferreira does not downplay relativity’s complexity and avoids the easy route of oversimplifying it into a cosmic magic show. The result is one of the best popular accounts of how Einstein and his followers have been trying to explain the universe for decades."--Kirkus Reviews, STARRED
"Einstein pulled no punches when he met Belgian theorist Georges Lemaître in 1927: “Your physics,” the German titan told his colleague, “is abominable.” But Ferreira highlights the irony in this confrontation: Lemaître only starts the parade of geniuses mining Einstein’s theory for unanticipated cosmological insights. Of course, the history of this fertile theory begins with Einstein himself, the lowly patent clerk whose daring thought-experiments lead to a radically new space-time physics in which gravity bends light. Though eclipsed for decades by quantum mechanics, Einstein’s theory—crystallized in 10 elegant field equations—ultimately enthralls a phalanx of conceptual pioneers. Whether capturing the echoes of the Big Bang, glimpsing the phantom shadows of dark matter and dark energy, plumbing neutron stars, pondering possibilities for time travel, or testing the limits of string theory, these pioneers take Einstein’s formulas as their sure guide. Predictably, strong-willed scientists clash over their reading of these fiendishly entangled formulas: Eddington versus Chandrasekhar over black holes, Hawking versus Bekenstein over cosmic entropy, Oppenheimer versus Wheeler over stellar-collapse singularities, Gödel versus Robertson over rotating space-time. More such clashes seem certain in a twenty-first century poised for yet more audacious thinking about relativity. No book better prepares armchair physicists for the intellectual excitement ahead!" — Booklist
Praise for The State of the Universe:
"An intellectually exciting and eminently readable tour of cosmology."
-Joseph Silk, Savilian Professor of Astronomy, University of Oxford
"Ferreira does a good job of balancing the likely with the improbable."
"It is a clear, no-frills introduction to cosmology, just as Ferreira intended."
-Sky and Telescope
"Pedro Ferreira gives an expert tour of the universe we know and, even more fascinating, of the universe we don’t: a cosmos of unknown dark energy and dark matter, even dark dimensions. Beneath taut, economical prose, is warmth and charm. The result is a lovely and engaging book."
-Janna Levin, Professor of Physics at Columbia University and Barnard College.
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com
Incredibly well written and accessible. I will be looking for other works from this author in the future.
Its first chapter is entitled "If a Person falls Freely". This is part of a thought experiment that Einstein used in order to come up with his ideas for general relativity. It discusses his ideas interspersed with Einstein's personal history as a Swiss patent clerk up to his becoming a physics professor at Berlin, then spending his later years at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton.
One of the earliest solution's of general relativity was Schwarzschild's showing the existence of black holes. As expected black holes are a large topic with Oppenheimer, Synder, Wheeler. Penrose, Hawking, Bekenstein, Zel'dovich and other discussed. Cosmological implications from general relativity are also a big topic with the expanding universe of Friedmann and Lemaitre, Einstein's introduction of the cosmological constant in order to have a static universe, up to present day modification to gravitational theory. The history of general relativity is intermingled with experimental developments in astronomy which is explained very well. This book shows how a theory and experiments grow off of one another and shows how science is advanced in this way. One example of many in the book is shown very well with the work of Jim Peebles over many years. The book discusses a variety of personalities involved in the development of general relativity and also shows how it was carried on in the secretive Soviet society.
The history to obtain a quantum theory of gravity as explained in this book and is very interesting and informative. All the big names in physics that you can think of have tried their hand at this problem and none have come up with a solution. The reasons why are discussed. This book has others that you might not have heard of such as DeWitt and their tales.
If you are curious about Einstein's theory of general relativity and its implications in astronomy, cosmology along with recent attempts to obtain a quantum theory of gravity this is a wonderful book to read and well worth your time.
Intended for persons who already have some knowledge of general relativity.
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