- Paperback: 532 pages
- Publisher: World Scientific Publishing Company; 1 edition (March 13, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9812566554
- ISBN-13: 978-9812566553
- Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 1.1 x 9.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #939,977 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Fantastic Realities: 49 Mind Journeys And a Trip to Stockholm 1st Edition
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"The writing is exceptionally well-informed, elegant, lucid, and thought-provoking.?
Frank Wilczek's Fantastic Realities is a gem, offering sophisticated aficionados as well as professional scientists a wealth of subtle insights gleaned from the author's relentless engagement with workings of nature. Wilczek is rightly hailed as one of the most accomplished physicists of our age. With this collection, he proves himself one of its most penetrating scientific interpreters as well. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
However, the book is a collection of articles written, if not for experts, for scientifically sophisticated readers and laymen will find it hard to read.
To my surprise, the book was autographed by the author . "mmhh...It will most probably be the only book that I have autographed by a Nobel Prize winner, and if I do not understand a word of it, I can still enjoy the trip to Stockholm by Betsy Devine..." I read Fearful Symmetry: The Search for Beauty in Modern Physics (Princeton Science Library) first (excellent book by the way), it seems that "fearful" was less frightening than the QED thing.
The mind journeys are independent essays on different topics in quantum physics and the standard model (everything quite understandable except for two chapters that according to the author were meant for scientists or students in this field; these chapters were a one-way trip, definitely not for anyone with weak notions of the Greek alphabet). Since the articles compiled in this book were originally written for different audiences and occasions, sometimes information is repeated in different essays.
I gained new insight on the unification of the known forces at high energy states, but also on the shortcomings of all known theories until now. The section on Planck's constant is excellent. I also found it interesting how new particles and their masses can be predicted and how we are hoping for new results from the large accelerators since the deep philosophical question now seems to be: to Higgs or not to Higgs or does nature abhor vaccum after all? I still find the terminology for all the flavoured and coloured particles difficult and confusing.
I loved the article written as a tribute to Dirac, here Mr. Wilczec shows that he not only masters "asymptotic freedom", but that he is also an extremely skilled writer. While reading this chapter, I felt as if a mystery was being unveiled. I admired the beauty in Dirac's equations, how he solved the problem of the results of the equations showing both positive and negative charges for the same particle and how he simply stated that the negative results must be "antimatter". What a journey! By the way, years later I found out that I was not the only one liking this article, it was chosen by Mr Farmelo as one of the most beautiful essays of modern science compiled in his book It Must Be Beautiful: Great Equations of Modern Science, which is also highly recommended.