Archimedes to Hawking takes the reader on a journey across the centuries as it explores the eponymous physical laws--from Archimedes' Law of Buoyancy and Kepler's Laws of Planetary Motion to Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle and Hubble's Law of Cosmic Expansion--whose ramifications have profoundly altered our everyday lives and our understanding of the universe.
Throughout this fascinating book, Clifford Pickover invites us to share in the amazing adventures of brilliant, quirky, and passionate people after whom these laws are named. These lawgivers turn out to be a fascinating, diverse, and sometimes eccentric group of people. Many were extremely versatile polymaths--human dynamos with a seemingly infinite supply of curiosity and energy and who worked in many different areas in science. Others had non-conventional educations and displayed their unusual talents from an early age. Some experienced resistance to their ideas, causing significant personal anguish. Pickover examines more than 40 great laws, providing brief and cogent introductions to the science behind the laws as well as engaging biographies of such scientists as Newton, Faraday, Ohm, Curie, and Planck. Throughout, he includes fascinating, little-known tidbits relating to the law or lawgiver, and he provides cross-references to other laws or equations mentioned in the book. For several entries, he includes simple numerical examples and solved problems so that readers can have a hands-on understanding of the application of the law.
A sweeping survey of scientific discovery as well as an intriguing portrait gallery of some of the greatest minds in history, this superb volume will engage everyone interested in science and the physical world or in the dazzling creativity of these brilliant thinkers.
Listed in Mathematical Reviews
"Pickover inspires a new generation of da Vincis to build unknown flying machines and create new Mona Lisas." -- Christian Science Monitor
"The ploymathic Clifford Pickover discusses 'landmark laws of nature that were discovered over several centuries and whose ramifications have profoundly altered our everyday lives and understanding.'" -- Kendrick Frazier, Skeptical Inquirer
"A perpetual idea machine, Clifford Pickover is one of the most creative, original thinkers in the world today." -- Journal of Recreational Mathematics
"The incomparable Clifford Pickover has written another rich science narrative that t once informs and entertains. There is no one writing today with such an encyclopedic knowledge of all things scientific, and Archimedes to Hawking covers the gamut of what is arguably the most important topic in all of science - the laws of nature. Are they discovered or invented? Do they correspond to things out in the world or only to thoughts inside our heads? These and numerous other tantalizing questions are answered as Pickover takes us through a brief history of nearly everything in the universe (and the universe itself)." -- Michael Shermer, Skeptic
"A ride through the history of world-changing scientific ideas. Pickover pays homage to the great minds who have laid bare the mathematical machinery whirring just beneath the skin of reality. An impressively researched tour de force." --Marcus Chown, author of The Quantum Zoo
"Clifford Pickover has brilliantly succeeded in a monumental task. He has explained, in his usual lucid style, some forty of the greatest laws of physics, and sketched the lives and often eccentric personalities of the geniuses who discovered them. Pickover's pages reflect his vast knowledge of physics and his firm conviction that mathematics has an awesome external reality." --Martin Gardner, author of The Colossal Book of Mathematics
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Oxford University Press, Incorporated
March 01, 2008
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