The Physicist's Conception of Nature

Jagdish Mehra
Springer Netherlands, 26 mars 2013 - 839 pages
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The fundamental conceptions of twentieth-century physics have profoundly influenced almost every field of modern thought and activity. Quantum Theory, Relativity, and the modern ideas on the Structure of Matter have contributed to a deeper understand ing of Nature, and they will probably rank in history among the greatest intellectual achievements of all time. The purpose of our symposium was to review, in historical perspective, the current horizons of the major conceptual structures of the physics of this century. Professors Abdus Salam and Hendrik Casimir, in their remarks at the opening of the symposium, have referred to its origin and planning. Our original plan was to hold a two-week symposium on the different aspects of five principal themes: 1. Space, Time and Geometry (including the structure of the universe and the theory of gravita tion),2. Quantum Theory (including the development of quantum mechanics and quantum field theory), 3. Statistical Description of Nature (including the discussion of equilibrium and non-equilibrium phenomena, and the application of these ideas to the evolution of biological structure), 4. The Structure of Matter (including the discus sion, in a unified perspective, of atoms, molecules, nuclei, elementary particles, and the physics of condensed matter), and finally, 5. Physical Description and Epistemo logy (including the distinction between classical and quantum descriptions, and the epistemological and philosophical problems raised by them).

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À propos de l'auteur (2013)

Jagdish Mehra has been University Distinguished Professor of Sciences and Humanities at the University of Houston, Texas for many years and also served as UNESCO-Sir Julian Huxley Distinguished Professor of Physics and The History of Science at Trieste and Paris. He has published extensively on the historical and conceptual development of modern physics and is the acclaimed biographer of 'The Beat of a Different Drum: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman'. From Spring 1959 until Schwinger's death, Mehra remained his close friend. Kimball A. Milton is Professor of Physics at the University of Oklahoma, where he leads the theoretical high-energy physics group. He has numerous publications in the field of quantum field theory. He was a student of Julian Schwinger at Harvard and was his postdoctorate associate at UCLA for nearly a decade.

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