Fearful symmetry : the search for beauty in modern physics


Fearful symmetry : the search for beauty in modern physics

A. Zee

(Princeton science library)

Princeton University Press, 1999

  • pb.

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"With a new preface and afterword"

Originally published: New York : Macmillan Pub. Co., c1986

Includes bibliographical references and index



Fearful Symmetry brings the incredible discoveries of contemporary physics within everyone's grasp. A. Zee, a distinguished physicist and skillful expositor, tells the exciting story of how today's theoretical physicists are following Einstein in their search for the beauty and simplicity of Nature. Animated by a sense of reverence and whimsy, the book describes the majestic sweep and accomplishments of twentieth-century physics. In the end, we stand in awe before the grand vision of modern physics--one of the greatest chapters in the intellectual history of humankind.


Preface 1999 xi Preface xiii Acknowledgments xv I SYMMETRY AND DESIGN 1 1. In Search of Beauty 3 2. Symmetry and Simplicity 8 3. The Far Side of the Mirror 22 II EINSTEIN'S LEGACY 49 4. Marriage of Time and Space 51 5. A Happy Thought 76 6. Symmetry Dictates Design 95 III INTO THE LIMELIGHT 101 7. Where the Action Is Not 103 8. The Lady and the Tyger113 9. Learning to Read the Great Book 122 10. Symmetry Triumphs 133 IV TO KNOW HIS THOUGHTS 151 11. The Eightfold Path in the Forest of the Night 153 12. The Revenge of Art 185 13. The Ultimate Design Problem 210 14. Unity of Forces 228 15. The Rise of Hubris 255 16. The Mind of the Creator 275 Afterword 285 Appendix to Chapter 9 297 Appendix to the Afterword 301 Notes 321 Index 345

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