An introduction to the great equations of modern science

Part of me wishes there were more topics outside physics; my personal highlight was the breezy chapter on Shannon Information.

All other quantities that are of interest in geometry, such as the length of any given curve, or the angle at which two curves meet, can be computed from this metric function.

It must be beautiful : great equations of modern science

Such observers are the privileged "inertial" observers Einstein described in his theory of special relativity: Shakespeare could no more have foreseen the multiple meanings that readers have perceived in "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? An analogy popularised by the physicist Richard Feynman helps to clarify this relationship between equations and laws.

From acceleration to geometry[ edit ] In exploring the equivalence of gravity and acceleration as well as the role of tidal forces, Einstein discovered several analogies with the geometry of surfaces.

Distances, at different latitudes, corresponding to 30 degrees difference in longitude. In other words, individual photons can deliver more or less energy, but only depending on their frequencies.

Drake's suggestion was to take it as the product of a bunch of other factors seven in allmany of which are also unknown and must be guessed at. One of the oldest surviving fragments of Euclid's Elements, found at Oxyrhynchus and dated to c. In order to map a body's gravitational influence, it is useful to think about what physicists call probe or test particles: The Indian-American astrophysicist Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar probably spoke for most great theoreticians when he remarked that when he found some new fact or insight, it appeared to him to be something "that had always been there and that I had chanced to pick up".

An equation is fundamentally an expression of perfect balance. Conversely, light sent from the higher observer to the lower is blue-shiftedthat is, shifted towards higher frequencies.

Notably, in order to deflect a test particle from its geodesic path, an external force must be applied. Fundamentally, it means that the equation can evoke the same rapture as other things that we describe as beautiful.

In nature, single photons are rarely encountered. This is understandable, given how physics dominated mathematical sciences throughout the 20th century. According to this view, the equations that underlie the workings of the universe are in some sense "out there", independent of human existence, so that scientists are cosmic archaeologists, trying to unearth laws that have lain hidden since time began.

Through this equation Einstein predicted that, for any mass mif you multiply it twice by the speed of light in a vacuum cthe result is exactly equal to its corresponding energy E.

According to his son Hans, "He had a character more like that of an artist than of a scientist as we usually think of them. In the latter part of his career, he spent much time touring the world, giving lectures on the origins of the equation that bears his name, stressing that the pursuit of beauty had always been a lodestar as well as an inspiration.

In the summer ofinspired by these analogies, Einstein searched for a geometric formulation of gravity. The central eleven chapters are flanked by an introduction by the editor, Graham Farmelo who also contributed an essay on the Planck-Einstein equation for the energy of a quantum and concluding remarks from Physics Nobel laureate Steven Weinberg.

Plato's student Aristotle introduced empiricism and the notion that universal truths can be arrived at via observation and induction, thereby laying the foundations of the scientific method.

That information is precisely what is encoded in the metric, which is a function defined at each point of the surface or space, or spacetime and relates coordinate differences to differences in distance.

Great Equations of Modern Science

Despite my reservations, the four "good" essays in the book are so astonishingly good that I strongly recommend it. Pyle praises its meticulous construction, delighting in the qualities that make it fit for its lethal purpose. In the latter part of his career, he spent much time touring the world, giving lectures on the origins of the equation that bears his name, stressing that the pursuit of beauty had always been a lodestar as well as an inspiration.

Two scientists who were adept at discovering fundamental equations and especially perceptive about the role of mathematics in science were Albert Einstein and the almost comparably brilliant theoretical physicist Paul Dirac.

Books like It Must Be Beautiful: Great Equations of Modern Science

I am going to discuss the "The Drake Equation" article contained in the book. An analogy popularised by the physicist Richard Feynman helps to clarify this relationship between equations and laws.

However, although the photon is a particle, it was still being described as having the wave-like property of frequency. And both were captivated by the belief that the fundamental equations of physics must be beautiful. Even more contentious than the provenance of scientific equations is the question of whether they are invented or discovered.

Subsequently, Plato and Aristotle produced the first systematic discussions of natural philosophy, which did much to shape later investigations of nature.

The same forces drive the ocean tides, which played a role in the migration of life onto land. By contrast, white light consists of a continuous emission across the whole range of visible frequencies. It is through this symbolic representation that the equation has become one of the most powerful weapons in the scientists' armoury.Admittedly, an expression like [equation here] is enough to give even a mathematician a brief case of the willies.

Yet physicist Frank Wilczek's essay turns it into a thing of wonder.

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"It must be beautiful: great equations of modern science" I know, I know. If I tell you that this book is a collection of essays about a dozen or so equations that occupy a central role in 20th century science, most of you will start edging quietly towards the exits/5.

CONCLUSION: Science is now the basis of the majority of human culture, and at the heart of most scientific theories are equations. 'It Must be Beautiful' examines some of these great equations with skill and flair, whilst never lapsing into academic sterility. Best books like It Must Be Beautiful: Great Equations of Modern Science: #1 Imagining Numbers #2 The Infinity Puzzle: Quantum Field Theory and the Hunt.

Quantum mechanics is the science of the very small. It explains the behavior of matter and its interactions with energy on the scale of atoms and subatomic rjphotoeditions.com contrast, classical physics only explains matter and energy on a scale familiar to human experience, including the behavior of astronomical bodies such as the Moon.

Classical physics is still used in much of modern science and.

It Must Be Beautiful: Great Equations Of Modern Science by Graham Farmelo

It Must be Beautiful: Great Equations of Modern Science Edited by Graham Farmelo Eleven scientists share their work supposedly about a “beautiful” mathematical equation.

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An introduction to the great equations of modern science
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