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The Theory of Almost Everything: The Standard Model, the Unsung Triumph of Modern Physics Paperback – 2 Nov 2006

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Plume; New edition edition (2 Nov. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452287863
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452287860
  • Product Dimensions: 14.2 x 1.8 x 21.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 180,409 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"This highly accessible volume explains the Standard Model to the everyman, using literary references and easy-to-follow analogies to make clear mind-bending physics principles." --Publishers Weekly

"Accessible and engaging...This book is for anyone interested in modern physics and ultimate answers about the universe." --Science News

This highly accessible volume explains the Standard Model to the everyman, using literary references and easy-to-follow analogies to make clear mind-bending physics principles. Publishers Weekly

Accessible and engaging This book is for anyone interested in modern physics and ultimate answers about the universe. Science News"

From the Back Cover

(MOST OF) THE UNIVERSE IS IN YOUR HANDS

"There is a theory in physics that explains, at the deepest level, nearly all of the phenomena that rule our daily lives.... This theory bears the unassuming name "The Standard Model of Elementary Particles," or the "Standard Model," for short. It deserves to be better known, and it deserves a better name. I call it "The Theory of Almost Everything."

The Standard Model has a surprisingly low profile for such a fundamental and successful theory.... In physics news items, the Standard Model usually plays the whipping boy. Reports of successful experimental tests of the theory have an air of disappointment, and every hint of the theory' s inadequacy is greeted with glee. It is the Rodney Dangerfield of physical theories, it "don' t get no respect." But it is, perhaps, the pinnacle of human intellectual achievement to date.

--From the IntroductionPraise for "THE THEORY OF ALMOST EVERYTHING

"In an era when enormous attention is being paid to the promising but highly speculative superstring/M-theory, a great triumph of science has gone nearly unnoticed, except by physicists. Robert Oerter provides here an accessible introduction to the Standard Model--a towering example of human creativity. He outlines how the Standard Model can serve as the launching pad for humanity to--paraphrasing Einstein--see better the secrets of ' the Ancient One.' "

--S. J. Gates Jr., John S. Toll Professor of Physics and director, Center for String and Particle Theory, University of Maryland

"We always hear about black holes, the big bang, and the search for life in the universe. But rare is the book that celebrates the Standard Model ofElementary Particles--a triumph of twentieth-century science that underpins nearly all we know about physical reality. Oerter' s "The Theory of Almost Everything belongs on anyone' s shelf who cares about how the universe really works."

--Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist and author of "Origins: Fourteen Billion Years of Cosmic Evolution

The Standard Model is the most important theory in modern physics. It is the tried-and-true theory of all known physical interactions, with the exception of gravity. Outside of scientific circles it is not nearly as well known as string theory or chaos theory. But it is more important than both, and it is absolutely essential to understanding where we are heading next in physics. Now, in a "tour de force of science writing, physicist Robert Oerter reveals the Standard Model to the general public.

Cobbled together by many brilliant minds--including Richard Feynman and Murray Gell-Mann--the Standard Model combines Einstein' s special relativity with quantum mechanics, revealing a bizarre reality beneath the surface of the mundane world that we all experience. Particles pop into existence from pure energy. Light travels to a given destination on all possible paths at the same time. Solid matter--like light--is neither particle nor wave. Making use of rich analogy and metaphor, Oerter illuminates the quantum world of the Standard Model. He shows that although the theory seems absurd from a common-sense point of view, it nonetheless fully agrees with experiment.

Oerter explores the conceptual framework of the Standard Model--what he considers its most fascinating aspect. He shows that different types of symmetry are at the heart ofthe theory. It is these symmetries, which lie deep within the structure of the atom, that give rise to the forces of nature. Oerter reveals that one of these symmetries--or rather, the fact that it was broken only moments after the creation of the universe--is the reason matter as we know it exists.

After lucidly explaining the Standard Model' s implications for the universe as a whole, Oerter takes readers to the edge of physics. He shows how new developments could alter the Standard Model. Experiments now running are searching for neutrino mass and the holy grail of particle physics, the Higgs boson. Grand unified theories, supersymmetry, preon theories, and string theory--although not verified by experiment--could be the next steps in theory.

"The Theory of Almost Everything is essential reading for anyone curious about what modern physics tells us about the nature of the universe.
(c) Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

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I obtained my physics degree before the perfection of the Standard Model and have never worked in that field, so I was looking for an explanation of the model and all the strange particles such as quarks and gluons. I was agreeably surprised by the insight the author was able to convey without falling back on mathematics. It has encouraged me to go on to read books such as QED - The Strange Theory of Light and Matter (Penguin Press Science) by that gifted teacher Richard Feynman.
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Format: Paperback
I am not an expert on the field, my knowledge about relativity and quantum theory was limited before this book. Thus, when I wanted to get a little more deep into understanding what is happening 'down' there, I started looking for a good book to read. Now, after reading this book, I feel lucky with the choice I've made.

A very easy to read book that takes things from the very beginning and explaining how physicists ended up with what we have now. More over, enough details are given on each step, discussing the philosophical, mathematical and experimental problems that were encountered.

Last but not least, the writer doesn't start a war of which theory is the best (something that is often seen by advocates of theories). He gives though enough explanations to why this theory is so important and where are it's limitations and problems.

I would say it's a must read for anyone that doesn't have enough background on the topic, but still wants to know a bit more.
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This is a very good if you want to fill in the background to the Standard Model without needing much physics or maths background. Sometimes Oerter is more chatty than I like. Sometimes I would have liked a bit more explanation. But he's got a big wide story to tell - from before relativity and quantum theory to more-or-less the full Standard Model. Which as he says explains "almost everything" - just leaving out gravity, dark matter, dark energy etc. And he even takes time to look beyond the Standard Model. It's a shame this edition still didn't know about the discovery of verification of the Higgs. Even more supporting evidence for the Standard Model!

So, really - a good, readable book - just what I was looking for.
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