Energy, the Subtle Concept: The discovery of Feynmans blocks from Leibniz to Einstein, Revised…

Paperback | May 21, 2015

byJennifer Coopersmith

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Energy is at the heart of physics and of huge importance to society and yet no book exists specifically to explain it, and in simple terms. In tracking the history of energy, this book is filled with the thrill of the chase, the mystery of smoke and mirrors, and presents a fascinatinghuman-interest story. Moreover, following the history provides a crucial aid to understanding: this book explains the intellectual revolutions required to comprehend energy, revolutions as profound as those stemming from Relativity and Quantum Theory. Texts by Descartes, Leibniz, Bernoulli,d'Alembert, Lagrange, Hamilton, Boltzmann, Clausius, Carnot and others are made accessible, and the engines of Watt and Joule are explained.Many fascinating questions are covered, including:* Why just kinetic and potential energies - is one more fundamental than the other?* What are heat, temperature and action?* What is the Hamiltonian?* What have engines to do with physics?* Why did the steam-engine evolve only in England?* Why S=klogW works and why temperature is IT.Using only a minimum of mathematics, this book explains the emergence of the modern concept of energy, in all its forms: Hamilton's mechanics and how it shaped twentieth-century physics, and the meaning of kinetic energy, potential energy, temperature, action, and entropy. It is as much anexplanation of fundamental physics as a history of the fascinating discoveries that lie behind our knowledge today.

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From the Publisher

Energy is at the heart of physics and of huge importance to society and yet no book exists specifically to explain it, and in simple terms. In tracking the history of energy, this book is filled with the thrill of the chase, the mystery of smoke and mirrors, and presents a fascinatinghuman-interest story. Moreover, following the histor...

Jennifer Coopersmith took her PhD in nuclear physics from the University of London, and was later a research fellow at TRIUMF, University of British Columbia. She was for many years an associate lecturer for the Open University (London and Oxford) honing her skills at answering those "damn-fool profound and difficult questions" that s...

other books by Jennifer Coopersmith

Format:PaperbackDimensions:416 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.68 inPublished:May 21, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198716745

ISBN - 13:9780198716747

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Feynman's Blocks2. Perpetual Motion3. Vis viva, the First 'Block' of Energy4. Heat in the Seventeenth Century5. Heat in the Eighteenth Century6. The Discovery of Latent and Specific Heats7. A Hundred and One Years of Mechanics: Newton to Lagrange8. A Tale of Two Countries: the Rise of the Steam Engine and the Caloric Theory of Heat9. Rumford, Davy, and Young10. Naked Heat: the Gas Laws and the Specific Heat of Gases11. Two Contrasting Characters: Fourier and Herapath12. Sadi Carnot13. Hamilton and Green14. The Mechanical Equivalent of Heat15. Faraday and Helmholtz16. The Laws of Thermodynamics: Thomson and Clausius17. A Forward Look18. Impossible Things, Difficult Things19. Conclusions

Editorial Reviews

"This book makes me proud to be a physicist, for two reasons. First it is a tale of the giants of the past who contributed to our present understanding of energy, people whose astonishing intuition took them from gossamer clues to the understanding we have today of one of the most basicexplanatory concepts in physics. We've had some pretty good players in our team. More than this - and this is the second reason - this is a story as much about invention as discovery ... I am sure all physicists would enjoy this book and indeed learn from it." --Australian Physics