Einsteins Physics: Atoms, Quanta, and Relativity - Derived, Explained, and Appraised

Hardcover | February 14, 2013

byTa-Pei Cheng

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Many regard Albert Einstein as the greatest physicist since Newton. What exactly did he do that is so important in physics? We provide an introduction to his physics at a level accessible to an undergraduate physics student. All equations are worked out in detail from the beginning. Einstein's doctoral thesis and his Brownian motion paper were decisive contributions to our understanding of matter as composed of molecules and atoms. Einstein was one of the founding fathers of quantum theory: his photon proposal through the investigation of blackbody radiation, his quantum theoryof photoelectric effect and specific heat, his calculation of radiation fluctuation giving the first statement of wave-particle duality, his introduction of probability in the description of quantum radiative transitions, and finally the quantum statistics and Bose-Einstein condensation. Einstein'sspecial theory of relativity gave us the famous E=mc2 relation and the new kinematics leading to the idea of the 4-dimensional spacetime as the arena in which physical events take place. Einstein's geometric theory of gravity, general relativity, extends Newton's theory to time-dependent and stronggravitational fields. It laid the ground work for the study of black holes and cosmology. This is a physics book with material presented in the historical context. We do not stop at Einstein's discovery, but carry the discussion onto some of the later advances: Bell's theorem, quantum field theory, gauge theories and Kaluza-Klein unification in a spacetime with an extra spatialdimension. Accessibility of the material to a modern-day reader is the goal of our presentation. Although the book is written with primarily a physics readership in mind (it can also function as a textbook), enough pedagogical support material is provided that anyone with a solid background in introductoryphysics can, with some effort, understand a good part of this presentation.

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Many regard Albert Einstein as the greatest physicist since Newton. What exactly did he do that is so important in physics? We provide an introduction to his physics at a level accessible to an undergraduate physics student. All equations are worked out in detail from the beginning. Einstein's doctoral thesis and his Brownian motion pa...

Ta-Pei Cheng is a particle physics theorist. He received a PhD from Rockefeller University with the noted physicist and Einstein biographer Abraham Pais. He is now Professor Emeritus at the University of Missouri - St. Louis, and an Adjunct Professor at Portland State University in Oregon. He is an elected Fellow of the American Physic...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:392 pagesPublished:February 14, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199669910

ISBN - 13:9780199669912

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Table of Contents

Part I : Atomic nature of matter1. Molecular size from classical fluid2. The Brownian motionPart II : Quantum theory3. Blackbody radiation: From Kirchhoff to Planck4. Einstein's proposal of light quanta5. Quantum theory of specific heat6. Waves, particles, and quantum jumps7. Bose-Einstein statistics and condensation8. Local reality and the Einstein-Bohr debatePart III : Special relativity9. Prelude to special relativity10. The new kinematics and E = mc211. Geometric formulation of relativityPart IV : General relativity12. Towards a general theory of relativity13. Curved spacetime as gravitational field14. The Einstein field equation15. CosmologyPart V : Walking in Einstein's steps16. Internal symmetry and gauge interactions17. The Kaluza-Klein theory and extra dimensionsAppendix A: Mathematics supplements

Editorial Reviews

"Einstein's contributions to modern theoretical physics are both profound and pervasive. Cheng takes a look at the full range of the famous physicist's work and sets out to explain Einstein's achievements from our modern understanding of the subject matter. The project succeeds. Cheng'sexplanations combine conceptual clarity with mathematical detail and historical sensitivity." --Tilman Sauer, Einstein Papers Project, California Institute of Technology