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Physics & Astronomy   Tags: astronomy, astrophysics, citations, physics, research, teaching science  

A guide to physics and astronomy research at Staley Library.
Last Updated: Apr 11, 2014 URL: http://millikin.libguides.com/physics Print Guide RSS Updates

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Physics and Astronomy

Picture of the Cone Nebula

In the Vicinity of the Cone Nebula

Image Credit: Subaru Telescope (NAOJ) & DSS;
Assembly and Processing: Robert Gendler

Source: Astronomy Picture of the Day

 

New Arrivals - Journals

 

New Arrivals - Books

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What Is Relativity? - Jeffrey Bennett
Call Number: QC173.57 .B46 2014
ISBN: 9780231167260
Publication Date: 2014-03-04
It is commonly assumed that if the Sun suddenly turned into a black hole, it would suck Earth and the rest of the planets into oblivion. Yet, as prominent author and astrophysicist Jeffrey Bennett points out, black holes don't suck. With that simple idea in mind, Bennett begins an entertaining introduction to Einstein's theories of relativity, describing the amazing phenomena readers would actually experience if they took a trip to a black hole. The theory of relativity also reveals the speed of light as the cosmic speed limit, the mind-bending ideas of time dilation and curvature of spacetime, and what may be the most famous equation in history: E = mc2. Indeed, the theory of relativity shapes much of our modern understanding of the universe. It is not "just a theory" -- every major prediction of relativity has been tested to exquisite precision, and its practical applications include the Global Positioning System (GPS). Amply illustrated and written in clear, accessible prose, Bennett's book proves anyone can grasp the basics of Einstein's ideas. His intuitive, nonmathematical approach gives a wide audience its first real taste of how relativity works and why it is so important to science and the way we view ourselves as human beings.

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The Perfect Theory - Pedro G. Ferreira
Call Number: QC173.6 .F47 2014
ISBN: 9780547554891
Publication Date: 2014-02-04
How did one elegant theory incite a scientific revolution? Physicists have been exploring, debating, and questioning the general theory of relativity ever since Albert Einstein first presented it in 1915. Their work has uncovered a number of the universe’s more surprising secrets, and many believe further wonders remain hidden within the theory’s tangle of equations, waiting to be exposed. In this sweeping narrative of science and culture, astrophysicist Pedro Ferreira brings general relativity to life through the story of the brilliant physicists, mathematicians, and astronomers who have taken up its challenge. For these scientists, the theory has been both a treasure trove and an enigma, fueling a century of intellectual struggle and triumph..Einstein’s theory, which explains the relationships among gravity, space, and time, is possibly the most perfect intellectual achievement of modern physics, yet studying it has always been a controversial endeavor. Relativists were the target of persecution in Hitler’s Germany, hounded in Stalin’s Russia, and disdained in 1950s America. Even today, PhD students are warned that specializing in general relativity will make them unemployable.Despite these pitfalls, general relativity has flourished, delivering key insights into our understanding of the origin of time and the evolution of all the stars and galaxies in the cosmos. Its adherents have revealed what lies at the farthest reaches of the universe, shed light on the smallest scales of existence, and explained how the fabric of reality emerges. Dark matter, dark energy, black holes, and string theory are all progeny of Einstein’s theory.We are in the midst of a momentous transformation in modern physics. As scientists look farther and more clearly into space than ever before, The Perfect Theory reveals the greater relevance of general relativity, showing us where it started, where it has led, and where it can still take us.

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Neutrino Hunters - Ray Jayawardhana
Call Number: QB464.2 .J38 2013
ISBN: 9780374220631
Publication Date: 2013-12-10
- Publisher's Weekly Best Science Book of the Season
- An Amazon Best Book of the Month
- A Book to Watch Out For in December, The New Yorker
- One of the Best Physics Books of 2013, Scientific American

Detective thriller meets astrophysics in this adventure into neutrinos and the scientists who pursue them. The incredibly small bits of matter we call neutrinos may hold the secret to why antimatter is so rare, how mighty stars explode as supernovae, what the universe was like just seconds after the big bang, and even the inner workings of our own planet. For more than eighty years, adventurous minds from around the world have been chasing these ghostly particles, trillions of which pass through our bodies every second. Extremely elusive and difficult to pin down, neutrinos are not unlike the brilliant and eccentric scientists who doggedly pursue them. In Neutrino Hunters, the renowned astrophysicist and award-winning writer Ray Jayawardhana takes us on a thrilling journey into the shadowy world of neutrinos and the colorful lives of those who seek them. Demystifying particle science along the way, Jayawardhana tells a detective story with cosmic implications—interweaving tales of the sharp-witted theorist Wolfgang Pauli; the troubled genius Ettore Majorana; the harbinger of the atomic age Enrico Fermi; the notorious Cold War defector Bruno Pontecorvo; and the dynamic dream team of Marie and Pierre Curie. Then there are the scientists of today who have caught the neutrino bug, and whose experimental investigations stretch from a working nickel mine in Ontario to a long tunnel through a mountain in central Italy, from a nuclear waste site in New Mexico to a bay on the South China Sea, and from Olympic-size pools deep underground to a gigantic cube of Antarctic ice—called, naturally, IceCube. As Jayawardhana recounts a captivating saga of scientific discovery and celebrates a glorious human quest, he reveals why the next decade of neutrino hunting will redefine how we think about physics, cosmology, and our lives on Earth.

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Electricity and Magnetism - Edward M. Purcell; David J. Morin
Call Number: QC522 .P85 2013
ISBN: 9781107014022
Publication Date: 2013-01-21
For 50 years, Edward M. Purcell's classic textbook has introduced students to the world of electricity and magnetism. The third edition has been brought up to date and is now in SI units. It features hundreds of new examples, problems, and figures, and contains discussions of real-life applications. The textbook covers all the standard introductory topics, such as electrostatics, magnetism, circuits, electromagnetic waves, and electric and magnetic fields in matter. Taking a nontraditional approach, magnetism is derived as a relativistic effect. Mathematical concepts are introduced in parallel with the physics topics at hand, making the motivations clear. Macroscopic phenomena are derived rigorously from the underlying microscopic physics.

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Our Mathematical Universe - Max Tegmark
Call Number: QB981 .T44 2014
ISBN: 9780307599803
Publication Date: 2014-01-07
Max Tegmark leads us on an astonishing journey through past, present and future, and through the physics, astronomy and mathematics that are the foundation of his work, most particularly his hypothesis that our physical reality is a mathematical structure and his theory of the ultimate multiverse. In a dazzling combination of both popular and groundbreaking science, he not only helps us grasp his often mind-boggling theories, but he also shares with us some of the often surprising triumphs and disappointments that have shaped his life as a scientist. Fascinating from first to last--this is a book that has already prompted the attention and admiration of some of the most prominent scientists and mathematicians.

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The Theoretical Minimum: What you Need to Know to Start Doing Physics - Leonard Susskind; George Hrabovsky
Call Number: QC24.5 .S87 2013
ISBN: 9780465028115
Publication Date: 2013-01-29
The Theoretical Minimum is a book for anyone who has ever regretted not taking physics in college; or who simply wants to know how to think like a physicist. In this unconventional introduction, physicist Leonard Susskind and hacker-scientist George Hrabovsky offer a first course in physics and associated math for the ardent amateur. Unlike most popular physics books; which give readers a taste of what physicists know but shy away from equations or math; Susskind and Hrabovsky actually teach the skills you need to do physics, beginning with classical mechanics, yourself. Based on Susskind’s enormously popular Stanford University-based (and YouTube-featured) continuing-education course, the authors cover the minimum; the theoretical minimum of the title; that readers need to master to study more advanced topics.

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Fukushima - David Elliott
Call Number: TK1365.J3 E575 2013
ISBN: 9781137274328
Publication Date: 2012-10-30
The Fukushima nuclear disaster in March 2011 led Japan, and many other countries, to change their energy policies. Following Germany's example, some adopted nuclear phase-out plans, focusing instead on renewable energy . Even heavily nuclear-reliant France began to consider a phase-out, and some developing countries in the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific area rethought their nuclear plans. David Elliott reviews the disaster and its global impacts, looking in detail at public and governmental reactions as the scale of the disaster became clear, and at the social, environmental, economic, technological and political implications in Japan and worldwide. He asks whether growing opposition to nuclear power around the world spells the end of the global nuclear renaissance.

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From Dust to Life: The Origin and Evolution of our Solar System - John Chambers; Jacqueline Mitton
Call Number: QB791 .C43 2014
ISBN: 9780691145228
Publication Date: 2013-11-24
The birth and evolution of our solar system is a tantalizing mystery that may one day provide answers to the question of human origins. This book tells the remarkable story of how the celestial objects that make up the solar system arose from common beginnings billions of years ago, and how scientists and philosophers have sought to unravel this mystery down through the centuries, piecing together the clues that enabled them to deduce the solar system's layout, its age, and the most likely way it formed. Drawing on the history of astronomy and the latest findings in astrophysics and the planetary sciences, John Chambers and Jacqueline Mitton offer the most up-to-date and authoritative treatment of the subject available. They examine how the evolving universe set the stage for the appearance of our Sun, and how the nebulous cloud of gas and dust that accompanied the young Sun eventually became the planets, comets, moons, and asteroids that exist today. They explore how each of the planets acquired its unique characteristics, why some are rocky and others gaseous, and why one planet in particular--our Earth--provided an almost perfect haven for the emergence of life.

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Beyond the God Particle - Leon M. Lederman; Christopher T. Hill
Call Number: QC793.5.B62 L425 2013
ISBN: 9781616148010
Publication Date: 2013-10-08
Two leading physicists discuss the importance of the Higgs Boson, the future of particle physics, and the mysteries of the universe yet to be unraveled. On July 4, 2012, the long-sought Higgs Boson--aka "the God Particle"--was discovered at the world's largest particle accelerator, the LHC, in Geneva, Switzerland. On March 14, 2013, physicists at CERN confirmed it. This elusive subatomic particle forms a field that permeates the entire universe, creating the masses of the elementary particles that are the basic building blocks of everything in the known world--from viruses to elephants, from atoms to quasars. Starting where Nobel Laureate Leon Lederman's bestseller The God Particle left off, this incisive new book explains what's next. Lederman and Hill discuss key questions that will occupy physicists for years to come: Why were scientists convinced that something like the "God Particle" had to exist? What new particles, forces, and laws of physics lie beyond the "God Particle"? What powerful new accelerators are now needed for the US to recapture a leadership role in science and to reach "beyond the God Particle," such as Fermilab's planned Project-X and the Muon Collider? Using thoughtful, witty, everyday language, the authors show how all of these intriguing questions are leading scientists ever deeper into the fabric of nature. Readers of The God Particle will not want to miss this important sequel.

Cover Art
Comets! - David J. Eicher
Call Number: QB721 .E355 2014
ISBN: 9781107622777
Publication Date: 2013-09-23
Join David J. Eicher in this fast-paced and entertaining journey through the history, present, and future of these important yet mysterious cosmic bodies. From ancient times, humans have been fascinated by 'broom stars' and 'blazing scimitars' lighting up the sky and moving against the fixed background of stars. The Great Comets of our time still receive in-depth attention - ISON, Hale-Bopp, Hyakutake, West, and others - while recent spacecraft encounters offer amazing insight into the earliest days of the solar system. In this guide you will discover the cutting-edge science of what comets are, how they behave, where they reside, how groups of comets are related, and much more. The author carefully explores the ideas relating comets and life on Earth - and the danger posed by impacts. He finishes with practical, how-to techniques, tips, and tricks of how to successfully observe comets and even to capture your own images of them.

Cover Art
My Brief History - Stephen W. Hawking
Call Number: QC16.H33 A3 2013
ISBN: 9780345535283
Publication Date: 2013-09-10
Stephen Hawking has dazzled readers worldwide with a string of bestsellers exploring the mysteries of the universe. Now, for the first time, perhaps the most brilliant cosmologist of our age turns his gaze inward for a revealing look at his own life and intellectual evolution.
"My Brief History" recounts Stephen Hawking's improbable journey, from his postwar London boyhood to his years of international acclaim and celebrity. Lavishly illustrated with rarely seen photographs, this concise, witty, and candid account introduces readers to a Hawking rarely glimpsed in previous books: the inquisitive schoolboy whose classmates nicknamed him Einstein; the jokester who once placed a bet with a colleague over the existence of a particular black hole; and the young husband and father struggling to gain a foothold in the world of physics and cosmology.

Cover Art
Reality Check - Donald R. Prothero
Call Number: Q172.5.P77 P69 2013
ISBN: 9780253010292
Publication Date: 2013-08-01
The battles over evolution, climate change, childhood vaccinations, and the causes of AIDS, alternative medicine, oil shortages, population growth, and the place of science in our country, all are reaching a fevered pitch. Many people and institutions have exerted enormous efforts to misrepresent or flatly deny demonstrable scientific reality to protect their nonscientific ideology, their power, or their bottom line. To shed light on this darkness, the author explains the scientific process and why society has come to rely on science not only to provide a better life but also to reach verifiable truths no other method can obtain. He describes how major scientific ideas that are accepted by the entire scientific community (evolution, anthropogenic global warming, vaccination, the HIV cause of AIDS, and others) have been attacked with totally unscientific arguments and methods. He argues that science deniers pose a serious threat to society, as their attempts to subvert the truth have resulted in widespread scientific ignorance, increased risk of global catastrophes, and deaths due to the spread of diseases that could have been prevented.

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