Top positive review
157 people found this helpful
A work of Art
on January 26, 2011
I am a lifelong student of Physics. I have been a student long beforeI got my PhD in Physics. I am currently a Distinguished Scientist at a Government Lab. This is first review (and possibly the last) I've written for an Amazon book, but I felt compelled to write this after reading this book. It is an excellent example of a 'true' teacher at work who understands how to relate information. This is an art form.
In this book you will learn about Emmy Noether and her work in relating a huge class of conservation laws to nature's symmetries. The book explores how symmetry, invariance and conserved quantities are related, quantitatively. The first half of the book is written for self-study by an undergrad Physics student. It deals predominately with functionals (what are they), functional extremals, and when they are invariant. These chapters are the prelude to Noether's Theorem and Rund-Trautman's version of the theorem. This work first inquires whether a functional is invariant under a given transformation, and if it is, it uses Noether's theorem to get the associated conservation law. Next, it examines the inverse problem; given the transformation can you seek the Lagrangian whose functionals are invariant. In each section the author works examples in some detail and carries these examples with further detail in each of the following chapters. It's like a novel for physicists.
In the last half of the book, the author teaches you how Noether's theorem is used in quantum field theory. He describes the concept of a field through simple examples and introduces Lagrangian densities. Then Noether's theorem is developed for fields and, in particular, quantum fields. Armed with the machinery from the first half of the book and the knowledge of what fields are, the author addresses the question of given gauge invariance what does Noether's theorem tell us about the properties of the Lagrangian.
Like most first addition books, there a few typos in the book but they are easy to spot and do not detract from the beautiful presentation of these subjects.
I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.