A comprehensive summary of progress made during the past decade on the theory of black holes and relativistic stars, this collection includes discussion of structure and oscillations of relativistic stars, the use of gravitational radiation detectors, observational evidence for black holes, cosmic censorship, numerical work related to black hole collisions, the internal structure of black holes, black hole thermodynamics, information loss and other issues related to the quantum properties of black holes, and recent developments in the theory of black holes in the context of string theory.
Volume contributors: Valeria Ferrari, John L. Friedman, James B. Hartle, Stephen W. Hawking, Gary T. Horowitz, Werner Israel, Roger Penrose, Martin J. Rees, Rafael D. Sorkin, Saul A. Teukolsky, Kip S. Thorne, and Robert M. Wald.
Why do we celebrate Einstein’s era above all other epochs in the history of physics? Much of the history of physics at the beginning of the twentieth century has been written with a sharp focus on a few key figures and a handful of notable events. Einstein’s Generation offers a distinctive new approach to the origins of modern physics by exploring both the material culture that stimulated relativity and the reaction of Einstein’s colleagues to his pioneering work.
Richard Staley weaves together the diverse strands of experimental and theoretical physics, commercial instrument making, and the sociology of physics around 1900 to present the collective efforts of a group whose work helped set the stage for Einstein’s revolutionary theories and the transition from classical to modern physics that followed. Collecting papers, talks, catalogues, conferences, and correspondence, Staley juxtaposes scientists’ views of relativity at the time to modern accounts of its history. Einstein’s Generation tells the story of a group of individuals which produced some of the most significant advances of the twentieth century; and challenges our celebration of Einstein’s era above all others.
Cline recounts the development of quantum theory, capturing the atmosphere of argument and discovery among physicists in the 1920s. She explores the backgrounds of the major figures—Rutherford, Bohr, Planck, Einstein—separately, but draws them together as they begin to consider each other's questions about the nature of matter.
What drove Nobel-winning physicist Hans Bethe, head of Theoretical Physics at Los Alamos during the Manhattan Project, to later renounce the weaponry he had worked so tirelessly to create? That is one of the questions answered by Nuclear Forces, a riveting biography of Bethe’s early life and development as both a scientist and a man of principle.
The Perfect Wave
Heinrich Päs Harvard University Press, 2014 Library of Congress QC793.16.P37 2014 | Dewey Decimal 539.7215
Almost weightless and able to pass through the densest materials with ease, neutrinos may offer answers to questions ranging from relativity and quantum mechanics to more radical theories about dark energy and supersymmetry. Heinrich Päs serves as our fluent guide to a particle world that tests the boundaries of space, time, and human knowledge.
In this book, Robert Wald provides a coherent, pedagogical introduction to the formulation of quantum field theory in curved spacetime. He begins with a treatment of the ordinary one-dimensional quantum harmonic oscillator, progresses through the construction of quantum field theory in flat spacetime to possible constructions of quantum field theory in curved spacetime, and, ultimately, to an algebraic formulation of the theory. In his presentation, Wald disentangles essential features of the theory from inessential ones (such as a particle interpretation) and clarifies relationships between various approaches to the formulation of the theory. He also provides a comprehensive, up-to-date account of the Unruh effect, the Hawking effect, and some of its ramifications. In particular, the subject of black hole thermodynamics, which remains an active area of research, is treated in depth.
This book will be accessible to students and researchers who have had introductory courses in general relativity and quantum field theory, and will be of interest to scientists in general relativity and related fields.
Both a history and a metahistory, Representing Electrons focuses on the development of various theoretical representations of electrons from the late 1890s to 1925 and the methodological problems associated with writing about unobservable scientific entities.
Using the electron—or rather its representation—as a historical actor, Theodore Arabatzis illustrates the emergence and gradual consolidation of its representation in physics, its career throughout old quantum theory, and its appropriation and reinterpretation by chemists. As Arabatzis develops this novel biographical approach, he portrays scientific representations as partly autonomous agents with lives of their own. Furthermore, he argues that the considerable variance in the representation of the electron does not undermine its stable identity or existence.
Raising philosophical issues of contentious debate in the history and philosophy of science—namely, scientific realism and meaning change—Arabatzis addresses the history of the electron across disciplines, integrating historical narrative with philosophical analysis in a book that will be a touchstone for historians and philosophers of science and scientists alike.
Time and Chance
David Z. ALBERT Harvard University Press, 2000 Library of Congress QC173.59.T53A43 2000 | Dewey Decimal 530.11
This book is an attempt to get to the bottom of an acute and perennial tension between our best scientific pictures of the fundamental physical structure of the world and our everyday empirical experience of it. The trouble is about the direction of time. The situation (very briefly) is that it is a consequence of almost every one of those fundamental scientific pictures--and that it is at the same time radically at odds with our common sense--that whatever can happen can just as naturally happen backwards.
Albert provides an unprecedentedly clear, lively, and systematic new account--in the context of a Newtonian-Mechanical picture of the world--of the ultimate origins of the statistical regularities we see around us, of the temporal irreversibility of the Second Law of Thermodynamics, of the asymmetries in our epistemic access to the past and the future, and of our conviction that by acting now we can affect the future but not the past. Then, in the final section of the book, he generalizes the Newtonian picture to the quantum-mechanical case and (most interestingly) suggests a very deep potential connection between the problem of the direction of time and the quantum-mechanical measurement problem.
The book aims to be both an original contribution to the present scientific and philosophical understanding of these matters at the most advanced level, and something in the nature of an elementary textbook on the subject accessible to interested high-school students.
Table of Contents:
1. Time-Reversal Invariance 2. Thermodynamics 3. Statistical Mechanics 4. The Reversibility Objections and the Past-Hypothesis 5. The Scope of Thermodynamics 6. The Asymmetries of Knowledge and Intervention 7. Quantum Mechanics Appendix: Gedankenexperiments with Heat Engines
Reviews of this book: The foundations of statistical mechanisms are often presented in physics textbooks in a rather obscure and confused way. By challenging common ways of thinking about this subject, Time and Chance can do quite a lot to improve this situation. --Jean Bricmont, Science
Albert is perfecting a style of foundational analysis that is uniquely his own...It has a surgical precision...and it is ruthless with pretensions. The foundations of thermodynamics is a topic that has accumulated a good deal of dead wood; this is a fire that will burn and burn. --Simon W. Saunders, Oxford University
As usual with Albert's work, the exposition is brisk and to the point, and exceptionally clear...The book will be an extremely valuable contribution to the literature on the subject of philosophical issues in thermodynamics and statistical mechanics, a literature which has been thin on the ground but is now growing as it deserves to. --Lawrence Sklar, University of Michigan