S. Martin Shelton

Retired U.S.Navy Captain, Novelist

Archive for the tag “science”

Book Review – Exploring Chaos

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Rating – Three Stars

In Exploring Chaos, Hall has combined eighteen essays that explore the science of chaos in several disciplines: the stock market, quantum physics, the arrow of time, electronics, mathematics, fluids, chemistry, engineering, the solar systems, and so forth. The authors are prominent scientists, professors, and aerologists.

This book is not an easy read. It is geared to a sophisticated audience that understands science and mathematics. Nonetheless, there are gems of information scattered throughout the essays. For example:

  • The theory of chaos touches all disciplines.
  • Small changes lead to bigger changes later—the signature of chaos.
  • Chaos is persistent instability.
  • Feedback may morph into chaos.
  • Chaos helps researchers understand evolving, complicated systems.
  • Chaos is a dynamic phenomenon.
  • Extreme sensitivity of initial conditions characterizes an evolving chaotic system.
  • The language of chaos is topology.
  • Frequently, chaotic motion follows simple, deterministic laws.

Lastly, I fault Nina Hall for not including an index—essential for all science books.

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Book Review: Particle Physics A Graphic Guide

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Rating – Three Stars

The authors make a valiant attempt to familiarize Quantum Field Theory to an educated public in 192 illustrated lesions in a small paperback book. Unfortunately, they fail. Their goal was unattainable. Such a manifold complicated subject is a serious challenge for doctoral candidates majoring in Quantum Mechanics Physics. Each page is presented clearly, has a picture of the physicist(s) who discovered or developed the quantum point discussed, and shows relevant graphics. That’s fine. The most educated of the general public would find this book an easy read but exceedingly difficult to understand. The problem is that the subject is just too complicated to be presented in such a miniature manner.

I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics—admittedly many years old. Nonetheless, I try to maintain minimum currency in Quantum Mechanics. I could understand, more or less, the concepts presented on most pages. The problem is the way the book is structured in headline tidbits. There’s no chance for an in-depth understanding or to tie concepts into a coherent understanding

To the author’s credit, they do cover the field—albeit superficially. They start with definitions of the atom, electron, proton, neutron; and proceed forthwith with the standard model, quarks, and the Higgs Boson; and conclude with supersymmetry, negative energy, dark matter, string theory, and a discussion of the solar neutrino.

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