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The Great Design: Particles, Fields, and Creation

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Although modern physics surrounds us and its concepts are constantly referred to in every newspaper, even educated nonscientists find the subject intimidating in the extreme. Most attempts to explain physics to general readers are either obscured by masses of mathematics or gross oversimplifications written by laymen. Here at last is a comprehensive--and comprehensible--account of particles, fields and cosmology written by a working physicist not burdened by the weight of ponderous scientific notation. Robert K. Adair gives us a feel for how physicists think about problems: what assumptions must be made to simplify impossibly complex relationships between objects, on what scale the problem needs to be treated, how measurements are made, and what the interplay between theory and experiment is.

Adair gently guides the reader through the ideas of particles, fields, relativity, and quantum mechanics. He explains the great discoveries of this century, which have caused a revolution in how we view the universe, in logical, simple terms not requiring anything beyond high school algebra to comprehend. He has performed the difficult task of predigesting complex concepts to permit the layman access to what appears to be an arcane discipline. He captures the flavor of the joy of discovery at the heart of research.

About the Author

Robert K. Adair is Associate Director for High Energy and Nuclear Physics at the Brookhaven National Laboratory and Eugene Higgins Professor of Physics at Yale University. He is the author of Concepts in Physics and (with Earle C. Fowler) Strange Particles.

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