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Newton to Einstein: The Trail of Light: An Excursion to the Wave-Particle Duality and the Special Theory of Relativity

3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0521423236
ISBN-10: 0521423236
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Editorial Reviews

Review

' ... I find Baierlein's approach highly congenial. Indeed I expect that some of the fascinating stories I learned from him and, more importantly, some of the excellent tricks he has taught me (particularly several neat and simple gedanken experiments that lead to relativistic momentum) will make my own course very much better. I can offer no higher praise. N. David Mermin, American Journal of Physics

'The exposition is absolutely sound and lucid. The discussion is never allowed to get too abstract, being filled with fine descriptions of modern experimental demonstrations of the fundamental relativistic effects. I could quite happily teach a course from this book, and I can recommend it warmly.' American Journal of Physics

'The book has many excellent features ... includes some recent and quite interesting experiments not found in other textbooks ... This is a fine textbook that should give students a real 'feel' for what physics is and how it progresses ... It also makes these topics, which are inherently difficult, as easy as possible for students to grasp.' Joseph F. Mulligan, JCST

'Although written for classroom use, an excellent introduction to some of the important ideas of modern physics that should be both interesting and accessible to the proverbial intelligent general reader ... Highly recommended for all college and university libraries.' K. L. Schick, Choice

'... a pleasure ... it is a must for every library.' Peter Borcherds, European Journal of Physics

'This undergraduate text is an excellent introduction to some of the important ideas of modern physics that should be both interesting and accessible also to the general reader.' GLASS Science and Technology

Book Description

This undergraduate text takes the reader along the trail of light from Newton's particles to Einstein's relativity. Like the best detective stories, it presents clues and encourages the reader to draw conclusions before the answers are revealed. The first seven chapters describe how light behaves, develop Newton's particle theory, introduce waves and an electromagnetic wave theory of light, discover the photon, and culminate in the wave-particle duality. The book grew out of a popular one-semester course for non-science students.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 348 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (September 17, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521423236
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521423236
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 0.7 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #365,198 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 1, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book is clear and very interesting. It teaches the general idea of light and modern physics. It can be too simplistic at times for technically minded people.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Christopher T. Dahle on April 17, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Dr. Baierlein quotes Sigurd Olson on the opening page of the second or third chapter so he started on my good side right there.

My complaint is that while Dr. Baierlein goes through great pains to explain, verbally, the mathematical formulas that describe light, he is remarkably stingy with numbers. For example, in Chapter 6, as he is describing the absorption of light and the resulting ejection of electrons from a metallic surface I keep wishing he would throw in some numerical examples rather than just describing how the formula works.

He describes "the maximum energy of an electron after it is ejected" and I keep thinking, "DUDE!, would it KILL YOU to give a numerical example?" 100 joules? .00001 joules? 10^-49 joules? He could have just added a sentence saying "The material constant for [for example] zinc is "b" so the maximum energy of an electron ejected from zinc would be "Y" Joules if the surface is illuminated by light with the frequency of "f"".
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Format: Hardcover
Fun book if you can keep with it and most everyone should. Not technical or mathemetically challenging! Enjoyed the stories and asides... my son says I'm just like the author. Get to the point. This is a story book (not surprising given the title) although it's being used as a text book for a summer course with no other notes for guidance. Sometimes the questions at the end of the chapters are very simple but some are difficult to answer because the answers aren't sitting out in the open waiting for you to snap them up. You gotta be thinking. Wish there were answers in the back. Would have been fun companion reading in th day when I was taking this [...]
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