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The Beautiful Invisible: Creativity, Imagination, and Theoretical Physics Hardcover – April 15, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-0199574841 ISBN-10: 0199574847

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (April 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199574847
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199574841
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 1.3 x 6.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #989,917 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

this book is the best Christmas reading for physicists this year CERN Courier For anyone thinking of starting a physics degree, or wishing they had done one, this is an excellent book...by someone who is eveidently a first-rate teacher. Andrew Crumey, The Scotsman

About the Author


Giovanni Vignale is Curator's Professor of Physics at the University of Missouri-Columbia and a Fellow of the American Physical Society.

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Tapash Chakraborty (Winnipeg) on December 23, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This is a wonderful book that I believe should be a must read for all physicists. In this book, Giovanni Vignale chronicles an epic journey that began a few centuries ago, and continues to the present day, to understand a science within a science, theoretical physics. Vignale compares this with poetry and proceeds to explain the success of this science, and eulogizes its major players, ancient and modern. Being a theoretical physicist all my life, I was always conscious of our role as someone unraveling the laws of nature by pure intellect. However, my dream is now shattered by Vignale's claim that the success of a theory at explaining or predicting the facts in no way proves the objective reality of that theory! According to him, it merely reflects our intellectual ability to explain the tailored reality that we wish to focus on. However, it is not as bad as it sounds, because he thinks that a successful theory actually transcends nature. It does that by creating abstract models where we use our preconceived notions about which aspect of reality should be discarded and what should be retained. His way of describing the glories of theoretical physics is unorthodox. While there are the usual heroes, Boltzmann, Heisenberg, Dirac, Maxwell, the DNA double helix (a theoretical masterpiece), quantum mechanics, etc., we also get to learn about the evil teacher Drona from Mahabharata, Zeno's paradox, Buridan's ass, and about Alice and Eve from quantum cryptography. It is mesmerizing how Vignale makes a smooth transition from one to the other. Analogies with poetry are everywhere in the book. Whoever thought of `duality' in quantum theory expressed in a Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam!Read more ›
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Morsi on December 10, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
i still keep the 5 stars even i was tempted to reduce it a bit, it's wonderful read any how, my only problem that i sometimes even suffered when the author finished explaining a physical phenomenon and try to go abstract, my own opinion is that when it gets terribly boring and i never could understand what he wants to say, he uses very strange english all the time which irritated me oftenly.
the part on symmetry is also very vague, compared with my other book readings about the subject.
the part on poisson brackets i thought it was wonderful and insightful.
all in all i still Love this book and i think it worth reading....thanks for reading my review.
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