Boojums All the Way Through is a collection of essays that deals in a variety of ways with the problem of communicating modern physics to both physicists and non-physicists. The author is Professor David Mermin, a well-known theoretical physicist, who recently won the first Julius Edgar Lileinfeld prize of the American Physical Society 'for his remarkable clarity and wit as a lecturer to nonspecialists on difficult subjects'. David Mermin's wry humour is clearly apparent in most of these articles, but even those that are more serious are characterized by a liveliness and commitment to finding startlingly simple ways of presenting ideas that are traditionally regarded as complex. This book will appeal to physicists at all levels, to mathematicians, scientists and engineers, and indeed to anyone who enjoys reading non-technical accounts of new ways of looking at modern science.
Preface; Part I. Reflections on the Pursuit of Physics: 1. E. pluribus boojum: the physicist as neologist; 2. Commencement address; 3. One of the great physicists ... and great characters; 4. My life with Landeau; 5. What's wrong with this lagrangean?; 6. What's wrong with this library?; 7. What's wrong with this prose?; 8. What's wrong with these equations?; 9. What's wrong with these prizes?; Part II. The Quantum Theory: 10. Quantum mysteries for anyone; 11. Can you help your team tonight by watching on TV?; 12. Spooky actions at a distance: mysteries of the quantum; 13. A bolt from the blue: The Eistein-Podolsky-Rosen paradox; 14. The philosophical writings of Neils Bohr; 15. The great quantum muddle; 16. What's wrong with this pillow?; Part III. Relativity: 17. Cruel nature: a relativistic tragicomedy; 18. The amazing many coloured relativity engine; 19. Relativistic addition of velocities directly from the constancy of the velocity of light; 20. Relativity without light; 21. E = Mc2 (written with M. J. Feigenbaum); Part IV Mathematical Musings: 22. Logarithms!; 23. Stirling's formula!; 24. Pi in the sky; 25. Variational principles in dynamics and quantum theory; 26. Special functions: a group theoretic approach.