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Knocking on Heaven's Door: How Physics and Scientific Thinking Illuminate the Universe and the Modern World Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged
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From the Back Cover
One of Time magazine's 100 most influential people in the world and the bestselling author of Warped Passages, Lisa Randall is an expert in both particle physics (the study of the smallest objects we know of) and cosmology (the study of the largest). In this, her most recent book, Randall takes us on an amazing tour through the latest developments in physics—including a new preface explaining the thrilling discovery of the Higgs boson—and the theoretical concepts underlying this work.
Knocking on Heaven's Door also explores the role of risk, creativity, uncertainty, beauty, and truth in scientific thinking. Through provocative conversations with leading figures in other fields, including chef David Chang, forecaster Nate Silver, and screenwriter Scott Derrickson, and through reflections on her own work, Randall makes an impassioned argument in defense of science.--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Randall especially shines in explaining the real everyday science (as opposed to just the philosophy) behind frontier research in physics. Thus, she spends a sizable amount of time explaining some of the less emphasized practical aspects of the science like errors and uncertainty in measurements, risk factors, "effective theories" (theories applicable at particular scales) and statistics. She provides a readable treatment of the Standard Model of particle physics and emphasizes why finding the Higgs boson is so important. In addition she has what I think is one of the clearest accounts of the structure and function of the LHC in Geneva. In the part about cosmology, she discusses in detail the riddle of dark matter and dark energy and what the latest telescopes and satellites might tell us about the birth and structure of the universe.
The second half of the book presents a robust defense of science and reason as well as some thoughts on the connections between beauty, creativity and science. Randall understands that while mathematical beauty may be a guiding principle for theoretical physics, ultimately beauty is subjective and the only true test of a theory is a clear connection to experiment.Read more ›
And we, the readers, have been especially fortunate because the book about physics from the viewpoint of phenomenologists wasn't written by a random phenomenologist but by one of the most prominent ones. In fact, Randall was identified as the most referred to particle physicist - among both women and men, just to be sure - in a recent 5-year period. She remains extremely active and influential.
Knocking on Heaven's Door has two basic goals. One of them is to introduce the reader to the cutting-edge research in particle physics which is dominated by the LHC experiment. Collisions of protons inside the 27-kilometer ring on the Swiss-French border have interrupted decades of theoretical dominance and relative experimental impotence (even though the book describes some smaller colliders or LHC predecessors, too). Randall who constantly interacts with the experimenters offers us an exciting story of the LHC collider from its conception to the first femtobarn of collisions.Read more ›
This weakness is illustrated by her explanation of the possible applicability of extra dimensions to explain the 16 orders-of-magnitude difference between gravity and the weak force, one of the few contributions she takes personal credit for. You could just say, "the forces are of different strengths" and leave it at that. Randall says, in essence, "Imagine gravity is 10^16 times stronger on another brane in another dimension, but that dimension is coupled to our world by an arbitrary coupling constant of 10^-16." This adds nothing of intellectual value to the field, but the buzzwords have been used, so it's time to schedule a book tour and let the accolades roll in.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a great book to read for those who want to understand what current research tells us about quantum physics and cosmology. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Metaprof
Very interesting book and written in a very accessible writing style.Published 5 months ago by Amazon customer
She makes physics and the universe understandable (as much as possible for those of us with limited knowledge) and enjoyable - well written.Published 5 months ago by dbmnj
Many explanations in this book help reduce my skepticism of concepts that seem counterintuitive and far fetched. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Tom Greenhaw
Lisa Randall has written an excellent look into the daily application of the fruits of scientific method. Knocking on Heavens Door has been a pleasure to read.Published 6 months ago by Michael L Blackford
A broad and deep sweep over ~37 orders of scale, with much more attention to the very small, but also connecting cosmology with particle physics without equations. Read morePublished 6 months ago by jinindy