Although modern physics surrounds us, and newspapers constantly refer to its concepts, most nonscientists find the subject extremely intimidating. Complicated mathematics or gross oversimplifications written by laypersons obscure most attempts to explain physics to general readers.
Now, at long last, we have a comprehensive--and comprehensible--account of particles, fields, and cosmology, written by a working physicist who does not burden the reader with the weight of ponderous scientific notation. Exploring how physicists think about problems, Robert K. Adair considers the assumptions they make in order to simplify impossibly complex relationships between objects, how they determine on what scale to treat the problem, how they make measurements, and the interplay between theory and experiment.
Adair gently guides the reader through the ideas of particles, fields, relativity, and quantum mechanics. He explains the great discoveries of this century--which have caused a revolution in how we view the universe--in simple, logical terms, comprehensible with a knowledge of high school algebra. Performing the difficult task of predigesting complex concepts, Adair gives nonscientists access to what often appears to be an arcane discipline, and captures the joy of discovery which lies at the heart of research.
"A delicious and, in many ways, a profound popularization of what physics is and how physicists reach and accept conclusions."--New Technical Books
"A good book for anyone who has studied some physics at the undergraduate level but never really grasped its unifying concepts. It is also recommended to readers with a scientific background interested in the present state of the art in quantum mechanics, particle physics, and astrophysics."--Library Journal
"Adair...has digested many of the seemingly impossible-to-understand concepts for general readers, and has presented these concepts in this book....Excellent illustrations are used throughout. Highly recommended."--Choice
"A thoughtful, scholarly book that describes the foundations of physics and the methods by which these foundations have been formed....Highly recommended for anyone with more than a passing curiosity about physics and our attempts to observe and understand the universe in which we live."--Science Books & Films
"A straightforward, unfussy, and well-ordered account of the core concepts of relativistic particle physics....Adair is on many topics an excellent guide and mentor, with a good teacher's ability to anticipate the difficulties the student will have."--Nature
"We found this book to be an excellent and often illuminating review of the basic concepts of modern physics. It brings the reader right to the frontier of Grand Unified Theories and the more shadowy world of superstrings and rolled-up dimensions. Controversial topics are presented evenhandedly, and our present level of understanding of new topics is stated clearly. . . .the author frequently uses very intuitive, simple, and often brilliant analogies to get
his ideas across. . . .For undergraduate physics students seeking a broad overview, or for readers from other disciplines of science who want to see what their colleagues are up to, this would be an excellent book. It would benefit a much wider range of readers--including senators and university
presidents--as well." --American Scientist
"This is a clean, readable account of contemporary thought by physicists. I have recommended it to our physics majors as a cultural undertaking."--Albert C. Claus, Loyola University