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Hidden Unity in Nature's Laws
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"The book is an undoubted success. John Taylor does not try to exaggerate results or make unsupported claims, and he attempts at all times to elucidate complicated matters in simple language....many worthwhile ideas are expounded here which even a newcomer to physics could understand. I strongly recommend this book." --Nature
"The book is elegantly clear and beautifully written...The author seems to have an immense intuitive skill for picking those topics that will evoke the reader's interest...This is far and away the best account of physics for the general reader I have ever seen. It is not a physics text. It contains no calculus, and thus will not tutor the reader in the art of solving specific problems in physics. But it fully conveys the mystery and fascination physics has exerted on humankind since the age of the Greeks. It should occupy a privileged position on the bookshelf of anyone curious about the world around us." Mathematical Association of America
"Successful books about science for nonscientists tread a fine line. Information must not be lost in discussions that are too technical, but scientific rigor must not be sacrificed for story line. Taylor takes a hstorical approach to physics, beginning with the Greeks and finishing with cosmology and elementary article physics at the end of the 20th century.... Explaining the topics and their implications to nonscientists is difficult, but Taylor ... succeeds...." Choice
One of the paradoxes of the physical sciences is that as our knowledge has progressed, more and more diverse physical phenomena can be explained in terms of fewer underlying principles. In Hidden Unity, John Taylor cites examples from the ancient Greeks to the present day, focusing on particle physics and cosmology. With a minimum of mathematics, he describes examples such as the unity of celestial and terrestrial dynamics (17th century), the unity of heat within the rest of dynamics (18th century), the unity of electricity, magnetism, and light (19th century), the unity of space and time and the unification of nuclear forces with electromagnetism (20th century).
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Top Customer Reviews
My only fault with this book is a paradox: the author assumes that the readers "don't know much about math" so for most of the book he painfully avoids writing equations, and substitutes wordy explanations. In doing so some of the beauty of his narrative is lost. The paradox is that anyone whe is going to plow into this book and get anything out of it, had better have a good handle on math at least algebra.