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Longing for the Harmonies: Themes and Variations from Modern Physics

Longing for the Harmonies: Themes and Variations from Modern Physics
Author: Frank Wilczek - Betsy Devine
ISBN 13: 9780393305968
ISBN 10: 393305961
Edition: Revised
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: 1989-04-17
Format: Paperback
Pages: 378
List Price: $16.95

"Occasionally, there comes along a popular science book that both scientists and non-scientist can read with pleasure and profit, and this is one."—The New Yorker

Publishers Weekly

The title here sums up today's Big Bang scientists at sea among the theoretical dissonances and paradoxes they've tried to express in their GUTS (Grand Unified Theories), which ask the question Leibnitz posed long ago: Why is there something rather than nothing? Wilczek, physics professor at UC Santa Barbara, and his coauthor wife are only the latest but certainly among the most original writers who have tried to capture the current physics scene in a book. They sum up, in somewhat the form of ``themes and variations''the authors are music loverssuch challenging problems of ``quantal reality'' as cosmic uniformity, interchangeability, etc. Sharply knowledgeable, they discuss the nature of light (they transform ``waves'' and ``lumps'' to a new word, laves) and run the gamut from quarks, colour (they choose the British spelling), mesons, gluons et al. to deep views on matter, antimatter and what may be the most exciting and seminal concept in the new physics: symmetry. Here they have a crack at answering Leibnitz's questionan arresting climax to a book loaded with astounding insights and riddles. Photos. (November 16)