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chez198 (London, UK)

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Higgs: The invention and discovery of the 'God Particle'
Higgs: The invention and discovery of the 'God Particle'
by Jim Baggott
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but not exactly elucidating, 13 April 2014
This book is more of a history of the standard model rather than the higgs inparticular, and thus while some good explanations are provided for beta decays, strong force interaction etc it feels somewhat lacking - I'd hoped for a more technical look at the higgs itself rather than at its history.


Neutrino
Neutrino
by Frank Close
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.59

5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, 10 Mar 2014
This review is from: Neutrino (Paperback)
Close does a great job of elucidating the quest for the neutrino in this book - having read his previous 'Antimatter', which was a lot less than elucidating, and thus having low expectations for this sequel, I was pleasantly surprised by both the comprehensivity and yet scientific detail of this book. A fun, short read (as opposed to a Brian Greene trek...), and one abound with the ever-desired 'ah, yes' moments that make physics worth its while.

166 pages of accessible and interesting cutting edge physics.


Six Easy Pieces: Fundamentals of Physics Explained (Penguin Press Science)
Six Easy Pieces: Fundamentals of Physics Explained (Penguin Press Science)
by Richard P Feynman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Feynman, 1 Mar 2014
Feynman is often lauded as the greatest modern physicist - not just for his work, but for his ability to communicate. This book proves that fantastically.

These lectures are easy. Anyone who has done GCSE Physics will find themselves recovering familiar territory in the first chapter, but rest assured it does get a lot more interesting. Once comfortable subjects such as potential energies and moments are covered, the world of quantum mechanics is entered, and frankly the book is worth 5 stars just for the last chapter. Quite simply, despite having read many popular physics books, I have never seen such a comprehensible yet in-depth introduction into QM, no complex differentials required.

Well worth the read.


The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos
The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos
by Brian Greene
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.69

4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating..., 24 Jan 2014
I read this having just finished 'The Elegant Universe' - Greene's fantastic first book on string theory. This is not as good as that was, but that really isn't saying much.

This is essentially a book detailing many different multiverse hypotheses, which originate from frameworks from string theory to basic QM. On that note, one should be aware that this book does not give any introduction to either topic, and so one really ought to read perhaps TEU for string theory, and maybe Brian Cox's 'The Quantum Universe' as a precursionary measure.

Armed with this pre-conaissance you will doubtless find THR, much like TEU, an insightful, if immensely challenging at times, look into some proper physics. Greene has a very good knack for explaining complex topics, such as the holographic principle, in a comprehensible yet complete manner.

Be warned, this is a Brian Greene book, ergo it is quite a trek, but it is well worth the effort.


Halo 4 (Xbox 360)
Halo 4 (Xbox 360)
Offered by Digitalville UK
Price: £11.97

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, 11 Jan 2014
This review is from: Halo 4 (Xbox 360) (Video Game)
If you ever needed a reason to go for Xbox over PS, this is it. Entirely deserving of Game of the Year. I'm going to talk mostly about the campaign as I haven't yet tried all the co-op.

CAMPAIGN - This is one of a small number of games these days (alongside GTA V, Red Dead etc) which really shines in its campaign. The graphics are top notch - as close to true 1080p as you'll get, and since it's all 30fps (as opposed to COD's 60fps), frame rate drops are few and far between. The sound is also excellent, with gunplay made ever better by realistic (if you can say so...) shot sounds, and the soundtrack adds something as well. Unusually for FPS games, there is something of a narrative, and there are some of the most cinematic scenes I've ever seen in a FPS.

Shortly, Halo 4 puts COD, BF and other RPGs in their place.


The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory
The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory
by Brian Greene
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.69

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book with some fascinating insights, 8 Dec 2013
This is one of the best written popular physics books I have ever read, no doubt - comparable even to the legendary 'Brief History of Time'. Greene explains what is one of the most complicated scientific frameworks in existence through insightful analogies and comprehensible drawings, and this makes it both detailed and accessible.

It must be said though that this book is not an easy read - string theory is explained through the contexts of quantum mechanics and both theories of relativity, and Greene does rush over these somewhat - a background in these topics will prove invaluable (I suggest reading Brian Cox's books 'Why does E=mc^2?' and 'The Quantum Universe', as they will help this book make a LOT more sense). Also, many of the ideas presented are not easy (take Calabi-Yau topology transitions as an example - it's as complicated as it sounds), so I found myself needing to re-read a few pages to really understand

Nonetheless, this book remains a great introduction into the complex framework of string (M) theory, and there are some truly fascinating, almost beautiful (I'm trying not to get too Brian Cox-esque here...) insights, such as the string theory based 'big bounce' model, where it just seems to make sense.

A hard read, but well worth it.


A Brief History Of Time: From Big Bang To Black Holes
A Brief History Of Time: From Big Bang To Black Holes
by Stephen Hawking
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing and understandable, 9 Oct 2013
I have heard many people complain that this book is impossible to read, that you'd need be a physicist to understand it. This is true in some sense as the first few chapters will be a lot more enjoyable if you have a basic knowledge of relativity and QM, but frankly you could attain this by watching youtube videos.

The book itself is truly fascinating. As someone who has read many popular physics books before, I will say the explanations of concepts such as the uncertainty principle and the curvature of spacetime are the easiest to understand that I've ever read. Refreshing. The most interesting chapter is definitely the short but nonetheless intriguing one on string theories near the end - again, a simple explanation of what is an extremely complex idea. In fact, the only parts of this book I struggled at all with were the descriptions of imaginary time and inflationary expansion of the universe.

The only complaint would be that Hawking does venture off occasionally into philosophy, and as someone who loves physics so much, this made some parts a little dull.


Antimatter
Antimatter
by Frank Close
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Far from perfect, 19 Sep 2013
This review is from: Antimatter (Paperback)
While this book provides a brief and interesting introduction to antimatter and particle physics in general, it tends to focus too much on the historical aspect of the science, which in my opinion distracts from the explanation. Furthermore, there are too many ambiguous metaphors about 'dancing' which get extremely dreary after a while.

A decent book, but there are many better out there.


QED - The Strange Theory of Light and Matter (Penguin Press Science)
QED - The Strange Theory of Light and Matter (Penguin Press Science)
by Richard P Feynman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As good an explanation as you could ever hope to find, 13 Aug 2013
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I've read quite a few physics book, in particular a few introducing quantum mechanics. Whilst the subject never fails to enthrall me, I've found that authors' explanations can sometimes be long winded and dreary (e.g. Brian Cox - The Quantum Universe), however this book manages to maintain interest for the whole length. Whether it be the relatively short size or Feynman's witty and conscientiously explanatory writing style, this book manages to do two things: educate the reader quite a lot about particle physics and quantum theory, and also be highly entertaining, even amusing at times - this is something I have never observed in a physics book before.

This collection of lectures defies its age, and if you are an amateur who wants to learn and also to be mildly entertained, them you need look no further.


Acer Aspire S7-391 13.3-inch Ultrabook - White (Intel Core i5 3317U 1.7GHz, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD, LAN, WLAN, BT, Webcam, Integrated Graphics, Windows 8 64-bit)
Acer Aspire S7-391 13.3-inch Ultrabook - White (Intel Core i5 3317U 1.7GHz, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD, LAN, WLAN, BT, Webcam, Integrated Graphics, Windows 8 64-bit)

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nearly perfect, but let down by mediocre battery life., 6 Aug 2013
I've had this ultrabook for a few weeks now, and overall it is still, for most purposes, definitely worth the £700 I paid. In my opinion, the biggest advantage to this is its SSD. Whilst the actual capacity might require anyone previously used to a larger HDD to buy an external hard drive - although it should be said that if, like me, most of your files are Office documents, the 128GB should be entirely sufficient, the great thing about it is its speed. Documents are rapidly loaded, moved, and saved, and the flash drive allows this ultrabook to load from off in at most 7 seconds, and anyone used to a HDD will find this difference in speed a godsend.

Also fantastic is the 1080p, 16:9 IPS screen. Combine the indiscriminable resolution with the near-360 viewing angles, you get a screen that is truly a pleasure to work on, and it makes writing those dreaded thousand word essays a little less straining. The touch functionality is a useful addition at times, however I've found that for most work tasks it is much more efficient to stick to the fairly good touchpad, which I haven't experienced any issues with. On this note, I should also comment that the WiFi reception on my model has been consistent and reliable, so perhaps this is a product-by-product fault.

The downsides of this ultrabook are quite limited, honestly. Apart from the vulnerable glass cover and the glossy screen, which are minor and common issues, the only real gripe is the battery life. Acer quotes 6 hours, but realistically when doing everyday tasks (word processing, casual surfing etc...) you can expect a solid 4 from this machine. If you intend to use this for mainly home use, allowing for the occasional outing, this will probably not be an issue. However, if you do plan to use this for daily ergonomic purposes, I would recommend finding a better performer among the plethora of this years ultrabooks, otherwise you'll probably be searching high and low for a plug point after not very long.

Overall though, a pleasure to use, which can't be said for most technology.


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