"Fascinating. . . . Distinctly readable and highly informative." -- San Francisco Chronicle.Since time immemorial, people have attempted to explain the origin of the world, from the creation myths of the ancients to the more sophisticated views that developed with the progress of observational astronomy. This lively and authoritative survey by an internationally famous physicist and one of the formulators of the Big Bang theory of cosmology offers captivating perspectives on the births of the galaxies, stars, chemical elements, and planetary systems.The author of such popular books as One Two Three . . . Infinity, George Gamow has introduced millions of readers to the concepts of relativity, atomic and nuclear physics, and other scientific subjects. Illustrated with diagrams and Gamow's own drawings, this remarkably accessible book explains complex and difficult concepts in a direct and simple manner, with minimal references to mathematics. The Creation of the Universe addresses both the Big Bang and Steady State theories of cosmogony, and is equally suitable for scientists from every field, as well as nonspecialists. Preface. Appendix. Index. 40 figures.
A distinguished physicist and teacher, George Gamow also possessed a special gift for making the intricacies of science accessible to a wide audience. In Gravity, he takes an enlightening look at three of the towering figures of science who unlocked many of the mysteries behind the laws of physics: Galileo, the first to take a close look at the process of free and restricted fall; Newton, originator of the concept of gravity as a universal force; and Einstein, who proposed that gravity is no more than the curvature of the four-dimensional space-time continuum.Graced with the author's own drawings, both technical and fanciful, this remarkably reader-friendly book focuses particularly on Newton, who developed the mathematical system known today as the differential and integral calculus. Readers averse to equations can skip the discussion of the elementary principles of calculus and still achieve a highly satisfactory grasp of a fascinating subject.Starting with a chapter on Galileo's pioneering work, this volume devotes six chapters to Newton's ideas and other subsequent developments and one chapter to Einstein, with a concluding chapter on post-Einsteinian speculations concerning the relationship between gravity and other physical phenomena, such as electromagnetic fields.
"This book is Gamow at his best, which means the very best in science for the layman." -- Library JournalWidely recognized as one of the 20th century's foremost physicists, George Gamow was also an unusually capable popularizer of science. His talents are vividly revealed in this exciting and penetrating explanation of how the central laws of physical science evolved -- from Pythagoras' discovery of frequency ratios in the 6th century B.C. to today's research on elementary particles.Unlike many books on physics which focus entirely on fact and theory with little or no historic detail, the present work incorporates fascinating personal and biographical data about the great physicists of past and present. Thus Dr. Gamow discusses on an equal basis the trail of Galileo and the basic laws of mechanics which he discovered, or gives his personal recollections about Niels Bohr along with detailed discussion of Bohr's atomic model. You'll also find revealing glimpses of Newton, Huygens, Heisenberg, Pauli, Einstein, and many other immortals of science.Each chapter is centered around a single great figure, or at most two, with other physicists of the era and their contributions forming a background. Major topics include the dawn of physics, the Dark Ages and the Renaissance, Newtonian physics, heat as energy, electricity, the relativistic revolution, quantum theory, and the atomic nucleus and elementary particles.As Dr. Gamow points out in the Preface, the aim of this book is to give the reader the feeling of what physics is, and what kind of people physicists are. This delightfully informal approach, combined with the book's clear, easy-to-follow explanations, will especially appeal to young readers but will stimulate and entertain science enthusiasts of all ages. 1961 edition."The whole thing is a tour de force covering all the important landmarks." -- Guardian
Since his first appearance over sixty years ago, Mr Tompkins has become known and loved by many thousands of readers as the bank clerk whose fantastic dreams and adventures lead him into a world inside the atom. George Gamow's classic provides a delightful explanation of the central concepts in modern physics, from atomic structure to relativity, and quantum theory to fusion and fission. Roger Penrose's foreword introduces Mr Tompkins to a new generation of readers, and reviews his adventures in light of recent developments in physics.
". . . full of intellectual treats and tricks, of whimsy and deep scientific philosophy. It is highbrow entertainment at its best, a teasing challenge to all who aspire to think about the universe." -- New York Herald TribuneOne of the world's foremost nuclear physicists (celebrated for his theory of radioactive decay, among other accomplishments), George Gamow possessed the unique ability of making the world of science accessible to the general reader.He brings that ability to bear in this delightful expedition through the problems, pleasures, and puzzles of modern science. Among the topics scrutinized with the author's celebrated good humor and pedagogical prowess are the macrocosm and the microcosm, theory of numbers, relativity of space and time, entropy, genes, atomic structure, nuclear fission, and the origin of the solar system.In the pages of this book readers grapple with such crucial matters as whether it is possible to bend space, why a rocket shrinks, the "end of the world problem," excursions into the fourth dimension, and a host of other tantalizing topics for the scientifically curious. Brimming with amusing anecdotes and provocative problems, One Two Three . . . Infinity also includes over 120 delightful pen-and-ink illustrations by the author, adding another dimension of good-natured charm to these wide-ranging explorations.Whatever your level of scientific expertise, chances are you'll derive a great deal of pleasure, stimulation, and information from this unusual and imaginative book. It belongs in the library of anyone curious about the wonders of the scientific universe. "In One Two Three . . . Infinity, as in his other books, George Gamow succeeds where others fail because of his remarkable ability to combine technical accuracy, choice of material, dignity of expression, and readability." -- Saturday Review of Literature
"Dr. Gamow, physicist and gifted writer, has sketched an intriguing portrait of the scientists and clashing ideas that made the quantum revolution." -- Christian Science MonitorIn 1900, German physicist Max Planck postulated that light, or radiant energy, can exist only in the form of discrete packages or quanta. This profound insight, along with Einstein's equally momentous theories of relativity, completely revolutionized man's view of matter, energy, and the nature of physics itself.In this lucid layman's introduction to quantum theory, an eminent physicist and noted popularizer of science traces the development of quantum theory from the turn of the century to about 1930 -- from Planck's seminal concept (still developing) to anti-particles, mesons, and Enrico Fermi's nuclear research. Gamow was not just a spectator at the theoretical breakthroughs which fundamentally altered our view of the universe, he was an active participant who made important contributions of his own. This "insider's" vantage point lends special validity to his careful, accessible explanations of Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, Niels Bohr's model of the atom, the pilot waves of Louis de Broglie and other path-breaking ideas.In addition, Gamow recounts a wealth of revealing personal anecdotes which give a warm human dimension to many giants of 20th-century physics. He ends the book with the Blegdamsvej Faust, a delightful play written in 1932 by Niels Bohr's students and colleagues to satirize the epochal developments that were revolutionizing physics. This celebrated play is available only in this volume.Written in a clear, lively style, and enhanced by 12 photographs (including candid shots of Rutherford, Bohr, Pauli, Heisenberg, Fermi, and others), Thirty Years that Shook Physics offers both scientists and laymen a highly readable introduction to the brilliant conceptions that helped unlock many secrets of energy and matter and laid the groundwork for future discoveries.
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