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From Clockwork to Crapshoot - A History of Physics
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Table of Contents

Prologue 1. Beginnings 2. The Greek Miracle 3. Science in the Middle Ages 4. The First Revolution 5. Newton's Legacy 6. New Physics 7. Relativity 8. Statistical Physics 9. Probability 10. The Quantum Revolution 11. Fields, Nuclei, and Stars 12. The Properties of Matter 13. The Constituents of the Universe Epilogue Notes Sources and Further Reading Index

Promotional Information

This is an illuminating chronicle of mankind's adventures, over six millennia, in pursuit of physical laws. It is enhanced by lucid exposition of challenges and concepts, with engaging portraits of many avid actors in a grand, abiding drama. -- Dudley Herschbach, Frank B. Baird, Jr. Professor of Science, Harvard University Although there are several books on the history of physics, none is as up-to-date, comprehensive, and well-written as Newton's. Most other books either provide a very superficial explanation of the concepts and theories, or are too technical for most non-scientists to understand. Newton manages to maintain a consistent level and style, and to say just enough about the difficult issues to get the reader interested but not overwhelmed -- Stephen G. Brush, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of the History of Science, University of Maryland

About the Author

Roger G. Newton is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Physics at Indiana University.

Reviews

This book's subtitle is a bit misleading as the text is not a history of physics but rather a personal investigation into the development of scientific thought over the past six millennia. Writing from a physics perspective, Newton (emeritus, Indiana Univ.; Galileo's Pendulum) uses biographical sketches combined with a history of the development of naturalistic theories to illustrate how the nature of basic philosophical questioning has evolved over time. Starting with the ancient Greeks, the author documents the shifting postulates of science from causality to probability, concluding with the equally interesting questions facing the 21st century. The text, which is written for lay readers interested in science, minimizes the use of technical language, figures, pictures, and notes. Suitable for all larger public libraries. Ian Gordon, Brock Univ. Lib., St. Catharines, Ont. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

This is an illuminating chronicle of mankind's adventures, over six millennia, in pursuit of physical laws. It is enhanced by lucid exposition of challenges and concepts, with engaging portraits of many avid actors in a grand, abiding drama. -- Dudley Herschbach, Frank B. Baird, Jr. Professor of Science, Harvard University
Although there are several books on the history of physics, none is as up-to-date, comprehensive, and well-written as Newton's. Most other books either provide a very superficial explanation of the concepts and theories, or are too technical for most non-scientists to understand. Newton manages to maintain a consistent level and style, and to say just enough about the difficult issues to get the reader interested but not overwhelmed -- Stephen G. Brush, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of the History of Science, University of Maryland
Newton's account is superb. He is magnificent at explaining the profound influence of mathematics on the development of physics. The historical relationships between subdisciplines, such as thermodynamics and statistical physics, are illuminated. Numerous biographical sketches add a lively dynamic to an enjoyable book. -- Simon Mitton * Times Higher Education Supplement *
This book attempts in one volume to give a history of physics, from the dawn of mankind to the present day. It is a formidable task but one which I believe has been largely successful. -- Peter Ford * History of Physics Newsletter *
From the properties of matter to the constituents of the universe, this book illustrates how discoveries old and new have created modern physics. * Science News *

Popular science author Newton (Galileo's Pendulum) misses many nooks and crannies of his subject in this too brief survey of the history of physics. He focuses primarily on astrophysics and atomic physics, which no such book can be without, but which many excellent books focus on exclusively. A third of the way through, Newton spends a chapter on other subjects; it's hard to believe that there were no advances in, say, mechanics before 1800 worthy of discussion. Toward the end of the book, the author discusses advanced properties of magnetism. Developments in mathematics take up space that could have been given to the nooks and crannies. Capsule biographies of giants of physics, such as Michael Faraday and James Clerk Maxwell, help them come alive for readers. Newton writes well enough for general readers, but they would be advised to leave that space on their shelf for a more comprehensive overview of the field. B&w illus., 1 map. (Jan.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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