The marvellous complexity of the Universe emerges from several deep laws and a handful of fundamental constants that fix its shape, scale, and destiny. There is a deep structure to the world which at the same time is simple, elegant, and beautiful. Where did these laws and these constants come from? And why are the laws so fruitful when written in the language of mathematics?
Peter Atkins considers the minimum effort needed to equip the Universe with its laws and its constants. He explores the origin of the conservation of energy, of electromagnetism, of classical and quantum mechanics, and of thermodynamics, showing how all these laws spring from deep symmetries. The revolutionary result is a short but immensely rich weaving together of the fundamental ideas of physics. With his characteristic wit, erudition, and economy, Atkins sketches out how the laws of Nature
can spring from very little. Or arguably from nothing at all.
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Peter Atkins is a fellow of Lincoln College in the University of Oxford and the author of about seventy books for students and a general audience. His texts are market leaders around the globe. A frequent lecturer in the United States and throughout the world, he has held visiting professorships in France, Israel, Japan, China, and New Zealand. He was the founding chairman of the Committee on Chemistry Education of the International Union of Pure and Applied
Chemistry and was a member of IUPAC's Physical and Biophysical Chemistry Division. Peter was the 2016 recipient of the American Chemical Society's Grady-Stack Award for science journalism.
Preface; 1 Back to eternity; 2 Much ado about nothing; 3 Anarchy rules; 4 The heat of the moment; 5 Beyond anacrhy; 6 The creative power of ignorance; 7 The charge of the light brigade; 8 Measure for measure; 9 The cry from the depths; Notes; Bibliography
It's rare to find a study of physical laws that is also a bravura display of rarefied humour and experiential depth; but such is this gem by chemist Peter Atkins. * Barbara Kiser, Nature * Tour de force... this is a compact 168 pages that delivers splendidly on the question of where the natural laws came from. * Brian Clegg, popularscience.com *
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