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The Second Creation: Makers of the Revolution in Twentieth-Century Physics [Hardcover]

5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: MacMillan (1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0025214403
  • ISBN-13: 978-0025214408
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,077,799 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good book 21 Aug 2013
By Steph
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Extremely useful and well written book, although published longtime ago. I was reading it as a novel.
Delivery as expected, the book was in perfect condition.
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Amazon.com: 4.9 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best popular science book yet written 16 Jan 2002
By Dr. C. G. Oakley - Published on Amazon.com
This book has proved beyond any reasonable doubt that the telling of the story of 20th century fundamental physics is a task that should not be entrusted to physicists. No, it appears a journalist and a philosopher are not only able to bring the story to life in a way that almost all physics text books fail to do, but at the same time to never lose sight of the important scientific issues.
I thought that I understood these issues well, having been a researcher in the area myself until 1987, but I have to report that they filled embarrassingly large gaps in my knowledge, particularly in relation to experiments, including in subjects that I used to teach to undergraduates.
I would recommend this book to anyone, but most of all to those who call themselves practitioners in the subject, to remind them of how, if at all, what they do fits in to the bigger picture, and also to remind them, to quote Murray Gell Mann (who was probably quoting someone else at the time), that "the best instrument that a theoretician has is his waste paper basket". As the mathematical tangents that theoreticians have gone off on in the last twenty years get ever more bizarre and disconnected from reality, I fully expect this to be full to overflowing soon.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Physics Can Be Fun! 14 Feb 2000
By Cheryl A Hackworth - Published on Amazon.com
Given, I find the sciences interesting, but I never thought I would find myself endlessly turning pages of a physics book. The lives of these physicists was amazing and sometimes even more interesting than their discoveries. If you are at all interested in a "behind-the-scenes" look at post-Einsteinian physics, I would whole-heartedly recommend this book. I guarantee you'll be pleasently surprised. (Now if only there was a biology version of this book...)
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I think you'll want to read this. 24 Jan 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
I noticed this book in a store, picked it up, and almost couldn't put it down! It rewards the reader with insight on the current theoretical structure of physics, excellent background on how it got to where it currently is, and a wonderful personal view of the Theorists and Experimenters who helped to "get it there". Great for physicists, students, or interested laymen. A well written and well balanced book on a complex subject (up to and including the Standard Theory, and Grand Unified Theories).
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a glorious book 26 May 2007
By flashgordon - Published on Amazon.com
Humans first drawings date to thirty thousand years ago even with Homo Erectus using fire for hundreds of thousands of years . . . all in all, human intellectual activities has been a source of wonder and fear for humanity for awhile now . . . witness the destruction of Jericho so many times . . . the destruction of Athens by the Spartans, Persians, and the killing of Archimedes by a Roman soldier . . . and then, there's the destruction of the Library of Alexandria and the killing of Hypatia around 400 A.D.

Scientists themselves have had misunderstandings about the nature of their activity. In fact, even Galileo thought the euclidean geometry as the very substance of the world. Mathematians were slow to take seriously the philosophical ramifications of non-euclidean geometry; they even made non-standard algebras before Einstein's General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics threw the Newtonian world in a tail spin. Then, Kurt Godel came up with his incompleteness theorems of finite axiomatic systems and a few intellectuals wondered about the very nature of the mathematical sciences. To me, Jacob Bronowski's "Origins of Knowledge and Imagination" is the best synthesis of all these intellectual events,

but, perhaps Crease and Mann's "The Second Creation" is a good place to start seeing some of the issues of the scientific process General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics had on mathematical science as a whole. What's remarkable is that outside of the final chapters realization that scientific theory is about syntheses and analyses is really syntheses, is that they don't understand the nature of abstraction in mathematical science and the unified treatment of mathematics and science that Jacob Bronowski shows in his "Origin's of Knowledge and Imagination."

Still, outside of initial physics courses, most people don't have the time to study the mathematics of the symmetry theories of the unified field theories mathematical science has pointed towards(and cosmology); better to read a good physics book like "Project Physics Course" and then "The Second Creation", and then! Jacob Bronowski's "Origins of Knowledge and Imagination." Also, Weinburg's "First three Minutes", and Guth's "Inflationary Universe." are good reads for the cosmology end of where man stands intellectually today.

I'd like to end with saying that "The Second Creation" is great for showing the human spirit of exploration which 99% of humanity has and will continue to miss even in a post molecular nanotechnology world where they don't have to learn . . . anything! ever!

If you have the intellectual spirit, you'll read this book . . . so, it goes without saying that I hope I've pointed out some interesting things for those who've had enough natural curiousity that every human child is born with anyways to search out this book anyways!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Here it is! The comprehensive history of particle physics you've been looking for! 20 Feb 2008
By Joshua L. Soldati - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
While not for the feint of heart, this exceptionally well-researched tome (clocking-in at over 400 pages) is a must-have for anyone interested in the history of particle physics in the 20th century. Although a bit out-of-date, with virtually no coverage of String theory or competing proposals to merge relativity and quantum mechanics, it is nonetheless a comprehensive narrative up through the "completion" of the Standard Model.

Perhaps the book's greatest achievement is its ability to move back-and-forth between historical developments within the scientific community and the development of the science itself. With countless interviews and original source materials, Crease & Mann capture the excitement of scientific discovery while giving an excellent layman's overview of those discoveries.

This is a compelling read, and highly recommended to anyone interested in this fascinating field.
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