Synopses & Reviews
Of the three fundamental methods of measurement-time, length, and temperature-Gino Segrè is convinced that temperature is not only the most subtle but also the most revealing. In this engaging, insightful book, Segrè, a distinguished theoretical physicist, makes his lifelong fascination with temperature the organizing theme of a wide-ranging journey through science, history, and culture.
A graceful writer and a nimble synthesizer, Segrè explores how temperature (which we have only recently succeeded in measuring) is bound up with the very essence of both life and inert matter. Why is the internal temperature of most mammals fixed at 98.6 degrees, no matter what climate they inhabit? What do the hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor reveal about the history of our planet? Why has temperature proved to be so much more difficult to measure than distance and time? How does the quest to reach absolute zero relate to the problem of superconductivity in quantum physics? In answering these and hundreds of other temperature-sensitive questions, Segrè unfolds a narrative that is at once compelling, surprising, and brilliantly associative.
A wonderful synthesis of science, history, and imagination, A Matter of Degrees uses deep, detailed knowledge of particular fields to open up the big scientific questions of our time.
In this engaging, insightful book, Segre, a theoretical physicist, makes his lifelong fascination with temperature the organizing theme of a wide-ranging journey through science, history, and culture--a wonderful synthesis of science, history, and imagination.
About the Author
Gino Segrè is professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Pennsylvania. An internationally renowned expert in high-energy elementary-particle theoretical physics, Segrè has served as director of Theoretical Physics at the National Science Foundation and received awards from the National Science Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the Guggenheim Foundation. This is his first book.