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The Universe in a Helium Droplet (International Series of Monographs on Physics) 1st Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0198507826
ISBN-10: 0198507828
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Editorial Reviews


"Physicists will find a wealth of powerful and entertaining ideas in this highly original work."--F. Wilczek, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA

"...provides a splendid guide into this mostly unexplored wilderness of emergent particle physics and cosmology."--James D. Bjorken, Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, Stanford, CA

About the Author

Nationality: Russia, Moscow, 07 September 1946

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Product Details

  • Series: International Series of Monographs on Physics (Book 117)
  • Hardcover: 536 pages
  • Publisher: Clarendon Press; 1 edition (May 15, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0198507828
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198507826
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 1.4 x 6.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,885,171 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
What is the Universe made of?

I remember that long ago, I read "Geometrodynamics," which hypothesized that the Universe might be made entirely of empty space! Curved space, of course. "Imagine," I told a cosmologist friend. "Mass without Mass! Charge without Charge!"

"Yes," said my friend. "Equations without Solutions. Theories without Content."

My friend continued, sarcastically, "To say the Universe is empty is a mistake, caused by making a sign error in the equation 1 + 1 = 2, and getting 1 + 1 = 0. That's the problem when you make an odd number of sign errors instead of an even number of them. After all, there are only three kinds of cosmologists, those who can count and those who can not."

Since then, I've read books that got me to picture the Universe in other ways. As a collection of harmonic oscillators. As real poles in a complex plane. As strings. As a cellular automaton. As a set of binary values. And as an n-dimensional brane.

Now we have a very interesting and award-winning monograph which gets us to think of the Universe as a droplet of superfluid Helium. And I was reminded of my earlier conversation when the author began by saying:

"A number of different vortices with an intricate structure of the multi-component order parameter have been experimentally observed in the superfluid phases of Helium-3, but the mathematics which is used to treat them is as simple as the equation 1 + 1 = 0."

Of course, by this Volovik means that two soliton walls annihilate each other.

In any case, this is a book for some of you Acoustics People out there. Yes, you. Ahoy! You who work with waves and oscillations in superfluid liquid Helium! Abandon your futile searches for Sixth Sound.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a superb book. Only complaint are the cheesy illustrations for a topic so deep. You can read this for years in order to understand it. It is about as heavy as Misner, Thorne and Wheeler's Gravitation even thought it weighs half as much. Dr. Volovik is either a genius of the first order, a brilliant applied mathematician, or proof that if you squeeze systems of equations of a very general order you can get almost anything to come out. Topology and Geometry on the level of Weinberg's Theory of Fields volumes 1,2 and 3 are nice prerequisites. This is not a novel.
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