A Different Universe

A Different Universe

Reinventing Physics From the Bottom Down

Book - 2005
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Not since Richard Feynman has a Nobel Prize-winning physicist written with as much panache as Robert Laughlin does in this revelatory and essential book. Laughlin proposes nothing less than a new way of understanding fundamental laws of science. In this age of superstring theories and Big-Bang cosmology, we're used to thinking of the unknown as being impossibly distant from our everyday lives. The edges of science, we're told, lie in the first nanofraction of a second of the Universe's existence, or else in realms so small that they can't be glimpsed even by the most sophisticated experimental techniques. But we haven't reached the end of science, Laughlin argues-only the end of reductionist thinking. If we consider the world of emergent properties instead, suddenly the deepest mysteries are as close as the nearest ice cube or grain of salt. And he goes farther: the most fundamental laws of physics-such as Newton's laws of motion and quantum mechanics -are in fact emergent. They are properties of large assemblages of matter, and when their exactness is examined too closely, it vanishes into nothing.A Different Universe takes us into a universe where the vacuum of space has to be considered a kind of solid matter, where sound has quantized particles just like those of light, where there are many phases of matter, not just three, and where metal resembles a liquid while superfluid helium is more like a solid. It is a universe teeming with natural phenomena still to be discovered. This is a truly mind-altering book that shows readers a surprising, exquisitely beautiful and mysterious new world.
Publisher: New York : Basic Books, [2005]
Copyright Date: ♭2005
ISBN: 9780465038282
Branch Call Number: 530 L368D 2005
Characteristics: xviii, 254 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm

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Dec 16, 2013

A good read from big bang to Theory of Everything according to the Nobel Physicist from Stanford. See a great review in Summary an example of humor in Quotes.


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Dec 16, 2013

'A different universe'
review by Phil Wilson
Submitted by plusadmin on December 1, 2005
book cover
by Robert Laughlin

Cartoons can help to bring down governments, but can they help to revolutionise science? This seems to be the hope of Robert Laughlin, whose book on the exciting field of emergence is littered with his hand-drawn cartoons. His Nobel Prize in physics has given him the confidence to share his art and to hope that his cartoons help to explain how science can be revolutionised, or "re-invented". But what is this Different Universe, to what extent is it a reinvention, and how well does Laughlin set out his case? (search the above text to read full review)


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Dec 16, 2013

(sorry if typo, from pages 95-96 , A Different Universe by Robert Laughlin, Nobel Physicist 1998, Stanford Physics professor...)

HOLMES: Watson, look up at those stars in the sky! What do you deduce?

WATSON: Well, each of those pinpricks of light is a huge sun powered by the fires of hydrogen fusion. That fuzzy patch over there is the Andromeda galaxy. Powerful telescopes tell us that Andromeda is an island of billions and billions of stars. Even more powerful telescopes tell us that there are billions and billions of such galaxies stretching out to the edge of the universe. If even one in a million of those suns had planets, and even one in a million of these had an oxygen atmosphere, and even one in a million of these had life, and even one in a million of these had people and civilizations, then we would be certain of not being alone in the universe.


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