The Quest for Unity: The Adventure of Physics

Hardcover | June 2, 1999

byETIENNE KLEIN, Marc Lachieze-ReyTranslated byAxel Reisinger

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What could quantum mechanics have in common with the philosophical musings of the ancient Greeks? In our age of multimillion-dollar supercolliders, it's hard to imagine that modern physics owes anything to thinkers who predate Descartes. But French physicists Etienne Klein and MarchLachieze-Rey see an unbroken thread running from antiquity to the present--an ongoing search, throughout the history of science, for unity. In The Search for Unity the authors reveal how the quest for the One has driven all the great breakthroughs in science. They show how the Greeks searched for the fundamental element in all things; how Galileo unified the earth with the heavens, by discovering valleys and mountains on the moon;and how Newton created a single theory to describe the motion of the celestial bodies. With unequaled clarity, they explore the work of the most famous unifier of all, Albert Einstein, who melded space and time into a combined space-time concept, and then embarked on an unsuccessful search for asingle theory to explain all the physical laws of the universe. Throughout the book, the authors stress the esthetic motives of scientists, how they recognize truth through apprehension of mathematical beauty. And in tracing the quest for unity up to the present day, they illuminate the bizarreworkings of quantum mechanics and the sticky definition of reality itself at the subatomic level. A grand unification of all interactions still awaits discovery--but as Klein and Lachieze-Rey show, the search itself is as fascinating as the end result may ever be.

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From Our Editors

A grand unification theory is still waiting to be discovered. As the authors show in this book, this unending quest has lasted from Greek times to present. The book features the work of Einstein, Galileo and Newton, along with other eminent scientists. The ongoing search continues, but the search itself is just as fascinating.

From the Publisher

What could quantum mechanics have in common with the philosophical musings of the ancient Greeks? In our age of multimillion-dollar supercolliders, it's hard to imagine that modern physics owes anything to thinkers who predate Descartes. But French physicists Etienne Klein and MarchLachieze-Rey see an unbroken thread running from antiq...

Etienne Klein and Marc Lachieze-Rey are both scientists with the Atomic Energy Commission in Sacey, France. Axel Reisinger is a scientist at Sanders, a Lockheed Martin Company, in Nashua, New Hampshire.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:176 pages, 9.29 × 5.98 × 0.98 inPublished:June 2, 1999Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019512085X

ISBN - 13:9780195120851

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From Our Editors

A grand unification theory is still waiting to be discovered. As the authors show in this book, this unending quest has lasted from Greek times to present. The book features the work of Einstein, Galileo and Newton, along with other eminent scientists. The ongoing search continues, but the search itself is just as fascinating.

Editorial Reviews

"This book surveys a number of issues in physics, the history of physics and the philosophy of science for the reader without a sophisticated background in any of these fields. The material is organized around the overall theme of science as engaged in a pursuit of a unified understanding ofthe nature of the world. Chapter 1 surveys a number of attempts among the ancient Greek philosophers to discover unity in the diversity of nature . . . Chapter 2 takes up early modern physics . . . Chapter 3 surveys some of the history of physics . . . Chapter 4 discusses quantum mechanics . . .Chapter 5 discusses how science . . . tends to subdivide into distinct disciplinary sub-specialties . . . Finally, in Chapter 6, the dream of unification is discussed as a scientific ideal. . . . It is . . . suggested that one ought to find the true unity in science, more, perhaps, in a unity ofmethod than in some ultimate ontological unity."--Mathematical Reviews