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QED : The Strange Theory of Light and Matter (Anglais) Broché – 30 août 2012

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Description du produit

Présentation de l'éditeur

In QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter Richard P. Feynman explains, in his lucid and witty style, the revolutionary scientific theory that won him the Nobel Prize. Quantum electrodynamics - or QED for short - is the theory that explains how light and electrons interact, and in doing so illuminates the deepest and most complex mysteries of the world around us. Thanks to Richard Feynman and his colleagues, who won the Nobel Prize for their groundbreaking work in this area, it is also one of the rare parts of physics that is known for sure - a theory that has stood the test of time. In these entertaining lectures Feynman uses clear everyday examples to provide the definitive introduction to QED. 'The perfect example of scientific genius'
  Independent 'If you don't believe Nature is absurd, let chatty Professor Feynman convince you in his series of exceedingly reader-friendly lectures ... Full of witty one-liners, with its learning lightly worn, it's a book to enlighten'
  Mail on Sunday 'Does a marvelous job of explaining one of twentieth-century physics' few unqualified triumphs'
  The New York Times Richard P. Feynman (1918-1988) was one of this century's most brilliant theoretical physicists and original thinkers. Feynman's other books, also available in Penguin, include QED, Six Easy Pieces, Six Not-so-Easy Pieces, Don't You Have Time to Think, The Pleasure of Finding Things Out, What Do You Care What Other People Think? and The Meaning of it All.

Biographie de l'auteur

Richard P. Feynman (1918-1988) was one of this century's most brilliant theoretical physicists and original thinkers. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1965 for his work on QED. Books by Feynman in Penguin include The Character of Physical Law (1992, 36,000 copies), Six Easy Pieces (1998, 27,000 copies, and Six Not-So-Easy Pices (1999, 10,000 copies).

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Par jaime le 7 septembre 2014
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
It's not a book with a formal theory of QED but with a transcription of four conferences he gave in Australia. As all his books, has a different approach really insightful which opens your mind and takes you to rethink all you think you knew.
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5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Nobody Understands it Including Me 17 juillet 2015
Par 5X Space Cadet - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
This book is the edited transcription of a lecture series given by renowned physicist, Richard P. Feynman, at UCLA in 1983. These lectures were designed for an audience of intelligent individuals who are interested in physics but only the good stuff, not the dirty work of slogging through all the math. That said, unless you are a physicist, masochist or perhaps need something to put you to sleep at night this book is not for you.

Feynman in my opinion is one of the greatest physicists of all times, mostly because of his ability to explain just about anything at a level lay people, or at least those like myself with a lowly bachelor's degree in physics, could understand. When I was in college pursuing such I relied heavily on my three volume set of "Feynman's Lectures on Physics" to help me understand certain theories where my college texts failed to explain them sufficiently. Thus, when I obtained this book I expected it to provide a better understanding of quantum electrodynamics than I had previously, which of course was essentially null so it could only increase. That did, indeed, happen, but not to the level I'd hoped for.
Feynman warns his readers right up front in the Introduction on page 9 when he says, "It is my task to convince you not to turn away because you don't understand it. You see, my physics students don't understand it either. That is because I don't understand it. Nobody does."

Great. It was considerate to point out right up front that I would feel either lost or stupid throughout, which certainly proved to be the case. For me even the various diagrams he uses to explain these phenomena (which ultimately became known as Feynman diagrams) were more confusing than not. He did note that it took his graduate student three years to grasp them which was somewhat comforting. Nonetheless, toward the end they reminded me more of Abbott and Costello's famous skit we know as "Who's on first?" then the interaction of fundamental particles. However, Feynman's humor and witty style kept me reading for such jewels as "I have delighted in showing you that the price of gaining such an accurate theory has been the erosion of our common sense."

Nonetheless, as I lay this book to rest on my shelf I will admit that it does contain numerous dog-eared pages and lots of highlighting. I'm fascinated by the fact that some particles at the quantum level go backward in time. I mean, seriously, how cool is that? I now understand that QED is about the mysterious interaction between photons and electrons, which of course makes sense with a title of "quantum electrodynamics." Duh. I now also understand more fully what a Feynman diagram comprises. Thus, even though he was correct in assuming that I wouldn't understand it, I do know more than I did when I started reading so the experience was not a total loss.

One thing to bear in mind if you should decide to take on this book is that since 1983 when these lectures were delivered (and just happens to be the year I started college) much more has been discovered in the field of particle physics. This is explained beautifully by the proofreading notes at the end of this book, the first dated November 1984 which states, "Since these lectures were given, suspicious events observed in experiments made it appear possible that some other particle or phenomenon, new and unexpected (and therefore not mentioned in these lectures), may soon be discovered." The second proofreading note dated April 1985 stated, "At this moment the "suspicious events" mentioned above appear to be a false alarm. The situation no doubt will have changed again by the time you read this book. Things change faster in physics than in the book publishing business."

Probably the biggest news in this field to come in the past few years was the discovery of the "God particle" or Higgs boson. This book certainly prepares you for the existence of new particles and provides some understanding of what is involved in that process and why it's not an easy matter. It you really want to get into this stuff this book is a good primer.

In conclusion, it's worth noting that "Q.E.D." is a term also used in mathematics at the end of a proof as an abbreviation for the Latin saying "quod erat demonstrandum," i.e., "which was to be demonstrated." If nothing else, Feyman truly demonstrated that this stuff really is beyond human understanding even for those who can do the math. In other words, they may be able to determine what is going on but certainly not the why, which lies in another realm. Thus, it is my sincerest hope that since this great man now resides in that very place that he can at last fully understand it. I sure don't.
368 internautes sur 375 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 One of Feynman's best 17 octobre 2007
Par Metallurgist - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
Caveat - Be sure to read Professor Zee's introduction as well as Feynman's introduction before you read the rest of the book. More about this at the end of this review.

In my opinion this is one of the best of Feynman's introductory physics books. He does close to the impossible by explaining the rudimentary ideas of Quantum Electro Dynamics (QED) in a manner that is reasonably accessible to those with some physics background. He explains Feynman diagrams and shows why light is partially reflected from a glass, how it is transmitted through the glass, how it interacts with the electrons in the glass and many more things. This is done via his arrows and the rules for their rotation, addition and multiplication.

One reviewer has criticized this book because Feynman does not actually show how to determine the length of the arrows (the square of which is the probability of the action being considered occurring) and the how you determine their proper rotation. True, but as is stated in Feynman's introduction, this was never the intention of the book. If you want to learn how to create the arrows used in a Feynman diagram and use them to solve even the most rudimentary problem, you have to major in physics as an undergraduate, do well enough to get into a theoretical physics graduate program and then stick with the program until the second year, when you will take elementary QED. You will then have to take even more classes before you can solve harder problems. Clearly, it is not possible to do all this in a 150-page book aimed at a general audience. He does, however, give the reader a clear indication of what these calculations are like, even if you are not actually given enough information to perform one on your own. Feynman is fair enough not to hide the difficulties involved in actually computing things. He briefly discusses the process of renormalization (that he admits is not mathematically legitimate), which is required to get answers that agreed with experimental data and the difficulties in determining the coupling constants that are also required. In the end, he admits that there is no mathematically rigorous support for QED. Its virtue lies in the fact that it provides the correct answers, even if the approach to getting them involve a bit of hocus-pocus (again his words).

The last 20 pages of the book show how the approaches used in QED, as strange as they are, were used to create an analogous approach for determining what goes on in the nucleus of an atom. This short section shows complexity of nuclear physics and the role that QED has played in trying to unify a baffling plethora of experimental data. Unfortunately, this last section is largely out of date and is hopelessly complicated. Fortunately, it is only 20 pages long.

As mentioned in the beginning of this review, you should read Zee's introduction as well as Feynman's, before you get into the rest of the book. Zee puts QED into proper perspective. Along with wave and matrix mechanics, the Dirac-Feynman path integral method that is described in this book is another approach to quantum mechanics. Zee also points out that while it is a very powerful approach for many problems, it is unworkable for others that are easily solved by wave or matrix mechanics. Feynman's introduction is very important because he emphatically states that photons and electrons are particles and that the idea of their also being waves stems from the idea that many features of their behavior could be explained by assuming that they were waves. He shows that you can explain these effects using QED, without having to assume that they are waves. This eliminates the many paradoxes that are created when one assumes that photons and electrons exhibit dual, wave/particle behavior. QED is not, however, without its own complications. Some of this behavior depends upon the frequency of the photon or electron. Frequency is generally thought of as a wave property, but it can also be thought of a just a parameter that defined the energy of the photon or electron. This is a fundamental idea separating QED from wave based quantum theories. Feynman does not try to speculate why photons and electrons obey the rules of QED because he does not know why, nor does anyone else and we probably are incapable of knowing why. He is completely satisfied that his calculations agree with experimental data to a degree that is unsurpassed by any other theoretical physics calculation.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in getting an idea of what QED is all about and to those who seek a deeper understanding of physical phenomena. You will learn how QED explains many things, some of which from the basis for the paradoxes discussed at length in books such as "In search of Schrodinger's cat". Reading this book is a good antidote for the head spinning paradoxes described in that book. Feynman believes that they stem from using a poor analogy (that of waves) to explain the behavior of particles. As far as the deeper questions of why photons and electrons obey the ruled of QED, he does not care, so long as he can get the right answer. This may therefore not be the book for you if you are interested in this deepest WHY, but it definitely is if you want to know more about Feynman's powerful approach to quantum mechanics.
75 internautes sur 76 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Highly comprehensible 20 juillet 2008
Par Ian J. Miller - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
This book covers four lectures that explains QED in terms of the path integral method, which was developed by the author. Needless to say, this is authoritative on this approach, but it also remarkably clear and comprehensible. Notwithstanding that, I would recommend slow and careful reading, as you may find a small sequence of statements that seem perhaps a little unjustified. Later, Feynman fronts up to some of these, and explains why he oversimplified to get things going. If you see them first, and this is not unreasonable, I believe you will get more from the text. The first lecture is a general introduction that shows how the path of the photon as a particle can be followed in terms of time-of-flight from all possible paths. The assertion is, the photon is a particle, not a wave, however there is no explanation for why there is a term that I would call the phase. The second lecture is a tour-de force and explains in terms of this particle treatment, why light reflects and diffracts, and is particularly interesting in why light behaves as if it is reflected only from the front and back of glass, whereas it is actually scattered by electrons throughout the glass. The third lecture covers electron-photon interactions, and covers Feynman diagrams and shows why QED is the most accurate theory ever proposed. The fourth lecture may seem a bit of a disappointment. The author tries to cover a very wide range of phenomena, which he terms "loose ends", and in some ways this chapter has been overtaken somewhat, nevertheless it also gives a look into Feynman's mind, and that also is well worth the price of the book. It is also here that the issue of renormalization is discussed - if you could call Feynman admitting it is "a dippy procedure" a discussion.

Why buy the book? I suspect this is probably the best chance a non-specialist has of understanding the basis of QED. The biggest disappointment? Feynman dismisses wave theory, which everybody else uses, and replaces it with a monumental raft of integrals. My initial thoughts were that waves are effectively an analogue way of solving those integrals, perhaps a gift from nature, and it is a pity I can't ask Feynman why that option was dismissed.
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 See the LIGHT! 18 novembre 2015
Par Deep Thought - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
QED is spectacular. Feynman takes the (lay) reader through a wonderful expiration of much that is not obvious about how nature works. It's a strange world that he describes in a very accessible way. If you're not a physicist or but are curious about the universe and how it works, this is the book for you. Modern physics doesn't know 'why' things they way that they do, but it can describe 'how' it works. the book is an easy read even if you are not a PhD in physics. Feynman really does an outstanding at explaining how light works and you'll enjoy some startling facts about it. he goes on to discuss how light (photons) works in atoms (electrons and the nucleus). A great read!
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
1.0 étoiles sur 5 As much as I love and revere Richard Feynman as a brilliant physicist and ... 7 avril 2017
Par Daniel A. Lundy - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
I bought this book years ago and it sat on the shelf for years after that; I had no memory of it. Now I know why. I probably barely got into it and gave up. I rebought the book after having to sell a lot of books in a move, and really tried to push myself through it. As much as I love and revere Richard Feynman as a brilliant physicist and teacher, this book didn't answer any of my questions about "The Strange Theory of Light and Matter". I know less about quantum mechanics now than when I started. The first half of the book is an obtuse and boring discussion of light reflection, and the last half at least got into Feynman diagrams (he invented them), but it was not redeeming because I was already so disenchanted. I have a only a deep layman's interest in physics, and I apologize to any serious physicists out there for my criticism.
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