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The Little Book of Black Holes (Science Essentials)

The Little Book of Black Holes (Science Essentials) Lowest new price: $9.90
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Author: Steven S. Gubser

Dive into a mind-bending exploration of the physics of black holes

Black holes, predicted by Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity more than a century ago, have long intrigued scientists and the public with their bizarre and fantastical properties. Although Einstein understood that black holes were mathematical solutions to his equations, he never accepted their physical reality―a viewpoint many shared. This all changed in the 1960s and 1970s, when a deeper conceptual understanding of black holes developed just as new observations revealed the existence of quasars and X-ray binary star systems, whose mysterious properties could be explained by the presence of black holes. Black holes have since been the subject of intense research―and the physics governing how they behave and affect their surroundings is stranger and more mind-bending than any fiction.

After introducing the basics of the special and general theories of relativity, this book describes black holes both as astrophysical objects and theoretical “laboratories” in which physicists can test their understanding of gravitational, quantum, and thermal physics. From Schwarzschild black holes to rotating and colliding black holes, and from gravitational radiation to Hawking radiation and information loss, Steven Gubser and Frans Pretorius use creative thought experiments and analogies to explain their subject accessibly. They also describe the decades-long quest to observe the universe in gravitational waves, which recently resulted in the LIGO observatories’ detection of the distinctive gravitational wave “chirp” of two colliding black holes―the first direct observation of black holes’ existence.

The Little Book of Black Holes takes readers deep into the mysterious heart of the subject, offering rare clarity of insight into the physics that makes black holes simple yet destructive manifestations of geometric destiny.

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Big Bang: The Origin of the Universe

Big Bang: The Origin of the Universe Lowest new price: $6.99
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Author: Simon Singh
Brand: Singh, Simon

A half century ago, a shocking Washington Post headline claimed that the world began in five cataclysmic minutes rather than having existed for all time; a skeptical scientist dubbed the maverick theory the Big Bang. In this amazingly comprehensible history of the universe, Simon Singh decodes the mystery behind the Big Bang theory, lading us through the development of one of the most extraordinary, important, and awe-inspiring theories in science.

A baffling array of science books claim to reveal how the mysteries of the universe have been discovered, but Simon Singh's Big Bang actually delivers on that promise. General readers will find it to be among the very best books dealing with cosmology, because Singh follows the same plan he used in his brilliant Code Book: he puts people--not equations--first in the story. By linking the progression of the Big Bang theory with the scientists who built it up bit by bit, Singh also uncovers an important truth about how such ideas grow.

Death is an essential element in the progress of science, since it takes care of conservative scientists of a previous generation reluctant to let go of an old, fallacious theory and embrace a new and accurate one.
As harsh as this statement seems, even Einstein defended an outmoded idea about the universe when an unknown interloper published equations challenging the great man. Einstein didn't have to die for cosmology to move forward (he reluctantly apologized for being wrong), but stories like this one show how difficult it can sometimes be for new theories to take root. Fred Hoyle, who coined the term "big bang" as a way to ridicule the idea of a universe expanding from some tiny origin point, strongly believed that the cosmos was in a steady state. But Singh shows how Hoyle's research, meant to prove the contrary, added evidence to the expansion model. Big Bang is also a history of astronomical observation, describing the development of new telescopes that were crucial to the development of cosmology. Handwritten summary notes at the end of each long chapter add a charming, classroom feel to this revealing and very readable book. --Therese Littleton

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Fields of Color: The theory that escaped Einstein

Fields of Color: The theory that escaped Einstein Lowest new price: $19.95
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Author: Rodney A. Brooks

Fields of Color explains Quantum Field Theory to a lay audience without equations. It shows how this overlooked and misunderstood theory resolves the weirdness of Quantum Mechanics and the paradoxes of Relativity.

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Special Relativity: For the Enthusiastic Beginner

Special Relativity: For the Enthusiastic Beginner Lowest new price: $18.73
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Author: David J Morin

This book is written for high school and college students learning about special relativity for the first time. It will appeal to the reader who has a healthy level of enthusiasm for understanding how and why the various results of special relativity come about.

All of the standard introductory topics in special relativity are covered: historical motivation, loss of simultaneity, time dilation, length contraction, velocity addition, Lorentz transformations, Minkowski diagrams, causality, Doppler effect, energy/momentum, collisions/decays, force, and 4-vectors. Additionally, the last chapter provides a brief introduction to the basic ideas of general relativity, including the equivalence principle, gravitational time dilation, and accelerating reference frames.

The book features more than 100 worked-out problems in the form of examples in the text and solved problems at the end of each chapter. These problems, along with the discussions in the text, will be a valuable resource in any course on special relativity. The numerous examples also make this book ideal for self-study.

Very little physics background is assumed (essentially none in the first half of the book). An intriguing aspect of special relativity is that it is challenging due to its inherent strangeness, as opposed to a heavy set of physics prerequisites. Likewise for the math prerequisite: calculus is used on a few occasions, but it is not essential to the overall flow of the book.

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Time Travel: A History

Time Travel: A History Lowest new price: $10.65
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List price: $17.00
Author: James Gleick

Best Books of 2016

From the acclaimed bestselling author of The Information and Chaos comes this enthralling history of time travel—a concept that has preoccupied physicists and storytellers over the course of the last century.

James Gleick delivers a mind-bending exploration of time travel—from its origins in literature and science to its influence on our understanding of time itself. Gleick vividly explores physics, technology, philosophy, and art as each relates to time travel and tells the story of the concept's cultural evolutions—from H.G. Wells to Doctor Who, from Proust to Woody Allen. He takes a close look at the porous boundary between science fiction and modern physics, and, finally, delves into what it all means in our own moment in time—the world of the instantaneous, with its all-consuming present and vanishing future.

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Instant Happy: 10-Second Attitude Makeovers

Instant Happy: 10-Second Attitude Makeovers Lowest new price: $5.49
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Author: Karen Salmansohn
Brand: Karen Salmansohn

The latest gift book from positivity guru and bestselling author Karen Salmansohn, Instant Happy delivers upbeat shots of happiness and perspective with clever, motivational sayings and graphics.

     You’re just ten seconds away from a brighter, more centered, supremely fabulous you! No matter what challenges life throws at you—from relationship roadblocks to everyday stressors to unexpected forks in your path—happiness guru Karen Salmansohn is here with colorful “thought interventions” to teach your old brain some new tricks. With witty sayings, inspiring philosophies, colorful graphics, and a dose of cheeky tough love, Instant Happy is the perfect inspirational self-help book for people who don’t have the time or patience for self-help books.
     So next time you’re feeling stressed, stuck, blue, pissed off, or pissed on, simply flip open a page in Instant Happy to kick yourself out of that negative feedback loop and into a positive thought pattern. Karen’s no-BS tone, quick-acting humor, and contagious optimism will soon have you ready to take on the world.


  • Instant Happy 10 Second Attitude Makeovers

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Gravity: An Introduction to Einstein's General Relativity

Gravity: An Introduction to Einstein's General Relativity Lowest new price: $94.00
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Author: James B. Hartle
Brand: James B Hartle

The aim of this groundbreaking new book is to bring general relativity into the undergraduate curriculum and make this fundamental theory accessible to all physics majors. Using a "physics first" approach to the subject, renowned relativist James B. Hartle provides a fluent and accessible introduction that uses a minimum of new mathematics and is illustrated with a wealth of exciting applications. The emphasis is on the exciting phenomena of gravitational physics and the growing connection between theory and observation. The Global Positioning System, black holes, X-ray sources, pulsars, quasars, gravitational waves, the Big Bang, and the large scale structure of the universe are used to illustrate the widespread role of how general relativity describes a wealth of everyday and exotic phenomena.


  • Gravity An Introduction to Einstein s General Relativity

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The Classical Theory of Fields, Fourth Edition: Volume 2 (Course of Theoretical Physics Series)

The Classical Theory of Fields, Fourth Edition: Volume 2 (Course of Theoretical Physics Series) Lowest new price: $44.90
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Author: L D Landau

The fourth edition contains seven new sections with chapters on General Relativity, Gravitational Waves and Relativistic Cosmology. The text has been thoroughly revised and additional problems inserted.

The Complete course of Theoretical Physics by Landau and Lifshitz, recognized as two of the world's outstanding physicists, is published in full by Butterworth-Heinemann. It comprises nine volumes, covering all branches of the subject; translations from the Russian are by leading scientists.

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General Relativity

General Relativity Lowest new price: $45.88
Lowest used price: $29.66
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Author: Robert M. Wald
Brand: imusti

"Wald's book is clearly the first textbook on general relativity with a totally modern point of view; and it succeeds very well where others are only partially successful. The book includes full discussions of many problems of current interest which are not treated in any extant book, and all these matters are considered with perception and understanding."—S. Chandrasekhar

"A tour de force: lucid, straightforward, mathematically rigorous, exacting in the analysis of the theory in its physical aspect."—L. P. Hughston, Times Higher Education Supplement

"Truly excellent. . . . A sophisticated text of manageable size that will probably be read by every student of relativity, astrophysics, and field theory for years to come."—James W. York, Physics Today


  • General Relativity

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The Standard Model in a Nutshell

The Standard Model in a Nutshell Lowest new price: $59.53
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Author: Dave Goldberg
Brand: Dave Goldberg

A concise and authoritative introduction to one of the central theories of modern physics

For a theory as genuinely elegant as the Standard Model―the current framework describing elementary particles and their forces―it can sometimes appear to students to be little more than a complicated collection of particles and ranked list of interactions. The Standard Model in a Nutshell provides a comprehensive and uncommonly accessible introduction to one of the most important subjects in modern physics, revealing why, despite initial appearances, the entire framework really is as elegant as physicists say.

Dave Goldberg uses a "just-in-time" approach to instruction that enables students to gradually develop a deep understanding of the Standard Model even if this is their first exposure to it. He covers everything from relativity, group theory, and relativistic quantum mechanics to the Higgs boson, unification schemes, and physics beyond the Standard Model. The book also looks at new avenues of research that could answer still-unresolved questions and features numerous worked examples, helpful illustrations, and more than 120 exercises.

  • Provides an essential introduction to the Standard Model for graduate students and advanced undergraduates across the physical sciences
  • Requires no more than an undergraduate-level exposure to quantum mechanics, classical mechanics, and electromagnetism
  • Uses a "just-in-time" approach to topics such as group theory, relativity, classical fields, Feynman diagrams, and quantum field theory
  • Couched in a conversational tone to make reading and learning easier
  • Ideal for a one-semester course or independent study
  • Includes a wealth of examples, illustrations, and exercises
  • Solutions manual (available only to professors)


  • The Standard Model in a Nutshell

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