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Boojums All the Way through
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  • Page extent: 332 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.54 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 530
  • Dewey version: 20
  • LC Classification: QC71 .M37 1990
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Physics
    • Microcomputers
    • History--Philosophy

Library of Congress Record

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 (ISBN-13: 9780521388801 | ISBN-10: 0521388805)

Manufactured on demand: supplied direct from the printer

$51.00 (P)

Boojums All the Way Through is a collection of essays that presents the dilemma of communicating modern physics to both physicists and nonphysicists. Some addressed to a general audience, some to students and others to scientists, the essays all share a preoccupation with both the substance and the style of written scientific communication, and offer a unique view of everyday science or scientific practice with the intention of increased clarity for the reader. The author believes the tradition of bland and impersonal scientific writing over the past fifty years deprives scientists of powerful tools for enhancing their clarity and capacity to communicate complex ideas. A well recognized theoretical physicist and winner of the first Julius Edgar Lilienfeld prize of the American Physical Society, Mermin writes with wry humor and conveys complex ideas with startling simplicity.


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.


"...covers an astonishing broad range...Mermin is a natural philosopher par excellence..." Physics World

"A warm, human, and humane view of physics." American Mathematical Monthly

"From the outset, Mermin's writing is fluid, interesting and most of all, fun! Mermin's humorous talents are indicative of his creative abilities and deep understanding of his subject. At times one is tempted to reflect upon other skilled communicators, and flattering parallels with Feynman, for example, are not unreasonable." Physics in Canada

"David Mermin is one of those rather rare scientists who can write with cleverness and delightful for browsing." Peter Franken, Physics Today

"Readers from undergraduate science students to professional physicists and mathematicians will find this book both entertaining and full of ideas." Perry Smith, Mathematical Reviews

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