Physics, Chemistry All books
Few scientific notions have aroused the speculative imagination like the thermodynamic entropy. All organised systems - societies, living creatures - are destined without exception to decline and eventual death. This book clearly exposes the historical and conceptual development of thermodynamics. Born from a desire to understand and master steam powered machines - the symbol of our industrialised societies - it became the science of the human body. However, it was suddenly passed over in favour of the theory of atoms. It was thus demolished by statistical mechanics which ceded to the imperatives dictated by the atomical structure of the body. After an epic struggle, sometimes quite ferocious, thermodynamics and statistical mechanics have been reconciled by adopting the base of the second with the techniques of the first. This book reads like a novel about contemporary physics. Bernard Diu, a graduate of the Ecole Normale Supérieur, is a professor at the University of Paris VII.
From the physics of particules to astronomy, from chemistry to biology, chaos is present in most scientific fields. Three specialists of this subject have undertaken, through many examples, to extract chaos from the scientific world in order to show how strong is its hold on our daily lives.
"One of us is an acrobat and a filmmaker who tries to provoke laughter; the other one tries to contribute to the progress of mathematical physics. Yet, we could endlessly throw our ideas back and forth. The surprising closeness of our approaches, the strange fraternity between our two disciplines, which are as far away from each other in their goals as in their techniques, gave us great joy. It is our feeling of wonder that wed like to share here," write Pierre Etaix and Claude de Calan. Sometimes known as the French Buster Keaton, Pierre Etaix is a master of burlesque and the inventor of unequalled visual gags. Claude de Calan is a scientist at the Centre of Theoretical Physics at the Ecole Polytechnique.
An indispensable book to finally understand the fascinating world of quantum physics
Richard Feynman, Nobel Prize winner for his work on the description and calculation of interactions between particles, was a genius of our time. Quantum physics theoretician, enfant terrible of the Manhattan project and ascerbic critic of the investigative committee of the American space shuttle, Feynman left a profound impression on modern physics. James Gleick, a former journalist at The New York Times and author of the best-selling Chaos Theory, tells how Feynman's ideas were formed and how he reinvented particle physics. Through this portrait, Gleick explores the nature of genius itself and provides insight about the fascination that it engenders.
Why don't sand dunes collapse? How does sand flow in an hourglass? How is it possible to empty a silo of all its wheat? What's a ceramic? The answer to all these questions can be found in the science of the complex organizations of matter, a science which is pluridisciplinary. Étienne Guyon, head of the École Normale Supérieure, and Jean-Paul Troadec, a researcher, present the characteristics of grain matter, the rules by which it is organized (in both crystal and fluid) as well as its movements (in silos as in avalanches).
The study of elementary particle physics and high energies, undertaken in huge laboratories such as the accelerators of Stanford, Chicago, Brookhaven, CERN at Geneva, and Dubna et Serpukhov near Moscow, is one of the most astonishing scientific feats of the last half century. The field not only allows us to understand the composition of matter and the origin and evolution of the universe, but also helps prevent these scientific instruments being used as weapons of war. The Pugwash conferences, held between scientists of the East and West, won a Nobel Prize for this very reason. Maurice Jacob, the honorary director of the division of theoretical physics at CERN, recounts in this book how these objectives have been achieved. Maurice Jacob is a theoretical physician of elementary particles.