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The Harmonious Universe: The Beauty and Unity of Scientific Understanding Hardcover – July 1, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Former chemistry professor Laidler aims to acquaint nonscientists with "the most relevant evidence that relates to the universe, and to draw plausible conclusions from it." Initially addressing the material makeup of the universe, Laidler delves into the key historical steps in understanding the atom. First came recognition of how minuscule it is, and subsequently the knowledge-- obtained through such famous experiments as those Ernest Rutherford conducted to discover the nucleus--about its constituent particles and forces. Following this inquiry into mass, Laidler considers the universe's primary feature, its energy. He describes experiments on energy's varied manifestations by the likes of Newton, Franklin, Faraday, and Joule, and the mathematical interpretation of their evidence in the great classical theories of motion, electromagnetism, and thermodynamics. Then came Planck, Einstein, and Heisenberg, overthrowing them all. Laidler more than catalogs worthies of science (though he does this very well); he instills science's difference from any other arena of knowledge. Incorporating biology, geology, cosmology, and chaos theory, his is an eminently readable example of the history-of-science genre. Gilbert Taylor
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"...both fascinating and entertaining at the same time." --, November 2004

"...remarkable amount of material...get up to speed on a wide range of modern stuff." -- New Scientist, May 1, 2004

"An excellent, basic survey of scientific understanding." -- The Bookwatch, November 2004

"Science teachers will find this a great choice for their own personal professional development." -- The Science Teacher, November 2004

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 370 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books; 1St Edition edition (July 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591021871
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591021872
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.2 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,981,177 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on November 9, 2004
Format: Hardcover
The last few centuries have brought with them many advancements in human understanding of the structure and motion of the universe and have brought with them a new infusion of symbols, formulas and math - not to mention jargon - to illustrate these new sciences. In The Harmonious Universe, science writer and chemistry professor Keith Laidler shows how best to appreciate the beauty and complexity of the universe, examining the disciplines which have lately contributed a new understanding to how the universe works, and providing explanations of the latest major scientific developments. An excellent, basic survey of scientific understanding.
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