Brilliant essays on science by the well-known physicist and winner of the National Magazine Award, now available in paperback.
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Further essays from William and Mary physicist von Baeyer, who pleased with Taming the Atom (1992) and Rainbows, Snowflakes, and Quarks (1984). The compass here is physics: Newtonian, quantum, and astro-, with some commentary on the style of doing physics, along with its attendant aesthetics and pleasures. The title essay, for example, demonstrates Enrico Fermi's way of tackling seemingly intractable problems by breaking them into manageable bits with reasonable assumptions. So von Baeyer details how to solve the legendary problem that Fermi posed to his students: ``How many piano tuners are there in Chicago?'' (answered by estimating how many families; how many pianos; how many pianos a tuner can tune a year, etc.). Von Baeyer's explanation should be must reading for all high-school students (it also applies to business, economics, estimations of risk, etc.). For the rest, the author neatly comments on dark matter, the not-quite-empty void, gravity waves, absolute zero, the elusive monopole, and other quantum esoterica. He's at his best when using everyday analogies- -e.g., gut memories of gravity walls and roller coasters to illustrate points of equivalence between gravity and inertial forces. Several essays deal with new phenomena such as quasi- crystals and nondestructive, noninvasive analytic techniques. Here, the author should be cautioned that CAT and PET scans are by no means ``noninvasive,'' since they expose patients to radiation. Overall, von Baeyer does extremely well by words alone, but a few illustrations would have underscored the trickier points. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Publishers Weekly:
Reprinted from the magazines Sciences and Discover , these 17 essays provide elegant, if not fresh, reading. Von Baeyer, a professor of physics at the College of William and Mary, can make such topics as cold dark matter seem both obvious and profound ("Creatures of the Deep"). His model is Enrico Fermi's trademark problem-solving technique for breaking down cosmos-sized calculations into smaller analog subproblems. In "Impossible Crystals," von Baeyer chronicles the fairly recent discovery of materials known as quasicrystals to make his larger point that playfulness is an essential part of scientific investigation. "A Gentler Touch" reviews the history of scientific method from the passive examination of natural phenomena prevalent before the 17th century to the invasive, often destructive techniques of modern science; von Baeyer notes a turn back to a noninterventionist science that re-acknowledges the value of reflective observation. He writes with such clarity, grace and energy that it seems a niggling complaint to wish that von Baeyer had included material not previously published.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Descripción Random House, 1994. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. book. Nº de ref. de la librería M0679755705
Descripción Random House, 1994. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Nº de ref. de la librería DADAX0679755705
Descripción Random House, 1994. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Never used!. Nº de ref. de la librería P110679755705
Descripción Random House. PAPERBACK. Estado de conservación: New. 0679755705 New Condition. Nº de ref. de la librería NEW7.1192168