Is there an objective world, or is everything relative? Do matter, time and space change, or do they remain constant everywhere in the universe? Is there always a relationship between cause and effect, or do some things "just happen?" Many of our basic ideas about the world have been shaped by sciencebut seldom are such discoveries accepted easily or willingly. Here are seven of the most important ideas in physicsideas that shattered the assumptions of dogmatists, philosophers and scientistsexplained simply and elegantly. And you don't need a background in mathematics or science to enjoy this fascinating book. Seven Ideas That Shook the Universe explores the history of seven important themes in physics: Copernican astronomy, Newtonian mechanics, energy and entropy, relativity, quantum theory, and conservation principles and symmetries. Together these discoveries form the foundation of our understanding of the physical world. Nathan Spielberg and Bryon Anderson explain each concept in a simple, straightforward narrative style, considering each in the context of its times and assessing its impact on the way we think about time, space, matter, even existence itself. For the science lover and the intellectually curious, Seven Ideas That Shook the Universe brings the drama of scientific discovery to vivid life.
YA A nontechnical discussion of the major aspects of physics, this is a revised edition of a college text intended for liberal arts majors. The ``seven ideas'' include: Copernican astronomy, Newtonian mechanics, the energy concept, entropy and probability, relativity, quantun theory, and conservation principles and symmetries. In the first two sections Spielberg and Anderson give an exciting historical account of the events that gave rise to what is now known as classical physics. They make readers understand the importance of the work of such men as Kepler, Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, and others. The authors also do a fairly good job of making readers understand the excitement in the new physics of today (quarks, leptons, the color force, etc.). The ideas of relativity and quantum physics are not as vividly presented, but on the whole, the book succeeds in providing a descriptive lesson on the ``history of physics.'' High-school physics and chemistry students, as well as teachers, should find the book useful as a reference. Robyn Schuster, Episcopal High School , Bellaire