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Midland Book #701: Doing Physics: How Physicists Take Hold of the Worldby Martin H. Krieger
Synopses & Reviews
This book is a cultural phenomenology of doing physics. It describes the ways physicists actually do their work--their motives, and their ways of making sense of the world--so that outsiders can understand it. Martin H. Krieger explains that physicists employ a small number of everyday notions to get at the world experimentally and conceptually. Krieger's stories focus on five of these models: the division of labor among particles, fields, and spacetime in the "factory" of Nature; the analysis of the world as a clockworks of comparatively dumb parts whose composition is often surprisingly complex and rich; the play of freedom and necessity given by a set of kinship rules that govern the families of particles; the setting of a simple stage, a vacuum, on which something arises out of nothing; and a mode of grasping the world with the handles, probes, and tools that make up a physicist's tool kit. In each case, Krieger shows that the deepest principles of physics are embodied in the physicist's craft and conventions.
"This is a mind-altering book--it ought to carry some sort of warning, that you will never be the same again once you have read it.... This is an important and provocative book, timely and full of insight. Fail to read it, and you may miss out on the physics of the future." --John Gribbin, New Scientist
"Krieger... excellently tells those in our human society outside the physics world how physicists think, plan, and go about understanding nature." --Choice
"... an excellent book... innovative." --Isis
"Krieger takes us into the world of the physicist, on a theoretically informed anthropological field trip."
This book is a cultural phenomenology of doing physics. It describes the ways physicists actually do their work--their motives, and their ways of making sense of the world--so that outsiders can understand it. Martin H. Krieger explains that physicists employ a small number of everyday notions to get at the world experimentally and conceptually.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -156) and indexes.
About the Author
MARTIN H. KRIEGER who holds a doctorate in physics, is Professor of Planning at the University of Southern California and author of Advice and Planning and Marginalism and Discontinuity: Tools for the Crafts of Knowledge and Decision.
Table of Contents
1. The Division of Labor: The Factory
2. Taking Apart and Putting Together: The Clockworks, the Calculus, and the Computer
3. Freedom and Necessity: Family and Kinship
4. The Vacuum and the Creation: Setting a Stage
5. Handles, Probes, and Tools: A Rhetoric of Nature
Suggestions for Further Reading
Index of Topics
Index of Names and Subjects
What Our Readers Are Saying
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