The Strange Physics of Nothing

Book - 2016
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James Owen Weatherall's previous book, The Physics of Wall Street, was a New York Times best-seller and named one of Physics Today's five most intriguing books of 2013. In his newest volume, he takes on a fundamental concept of modern physics: nothing. The physics of stuff--protons, neutrons, electrons, and even quarks and gluons--is at least somewhat familiar to most of us. But what about the physics of nothing? Isaac Newton thought of empty space as nothingness extended in all directions, a kind of theater in which physics could unfold. But both quantum theory and relativity tell us that Newton's picture can't be right. Nothing, it turns out, is an awful lot like something, with a structure and properties every bit as complex and mysterious as matter. In his signature lively prose, Weatherall explores the very nature of empty space--and solidifies his reputation as a science writer to watch.
Published: New Haven :, Yale University Press,, [2016]
Copyright Date: ©2016
ISBN: 9780300209983
Branch Call Number: 530.1 WEA
Characteristics: 196 pages ;,23 cm.


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Mar 30, 2018

Not exactly what I was hoping for. This had a little to much history of the scientists thinking of the ideas and then explaining it.

SFPL_danielay Mar 01, 2018

What is nothing? In our everyday lives this might seem like an easy question to answer but in physics it can get quite complicated. Weatherall takes us on a tour of nothing from Newton to quantum physics with a special focus on nothing - no pun intended.

Apr 22, 2017

The book is basically a history of science presentation about the development of physics from Newton's concepts, through Einstein's general relativity, through quantum mechanics, then QED highlighting Dirac and Feynman. It is clever to use the empty or vacuum state to describe these theories because that is the most simple state. And theories like QED can be very complicated very quickly. Weatherall is not in the class of Feynman as a presenter of physics but his book is not unreadably dry either. It was a worthwhile read.


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