Boojums All the Way Through is a collection of essays that deals in a variety of ways with the problem of communicating modern physics to both physicists and non-physicists. The author is Professor David Mermin, a well-known theoretical physicist, who recently won the first Julius Edgar Lileinfeld prize of the American Physical Society 'for his remarkable clarity and wit as a lecturer to nonspecialists on difficult subjects'. David Mermin's wry humour is clearly apparent in most of these articles, but even those that are more serious are characterized by a liveliness and commitment to finding startlingly simple ways of presenting ideas that are traditionally regarded as complex. This book will appeal to physicists at all levels, to mathematicians, scientists and engineers, and indeed to anyone who enjoys reading non-technical accounts of new ways of looking at modern science.
Table of Contents
Part I. Reflections on the Pursuit of Physics:
1. E. pluribus boojum: the physicist as
2. Commencement address
3. One of the great physicists ... and great
4. My life with Landeau
5. What's wrong with this lagrangean?
6. What's wrong with this library?
7. What's wrong with this prose?
8. What's wrong with these equations?
9. What's wrong with these prizes?
Part II. The Quantum Theory: 10. Quantum
mysteries for anyone
11. Can you help your team tonight by watching
12. Spooky actions at a distance: mysteries of
13. A bolt from the blue: The
14. The philosophical writings of Neils Bohr
15. The great quantum muddle
16. What's wrong with this pillow?
Part III. Relativity: 17. Cruel nature: a
18. The amazing many coloured relativity engine
19. Relativistic addition of velocities
directly from the constancy of the velocity of
20. Relativity without light
21. E = Mc2 (written with M. J. Feigenbaum)
Part IV Mathematical Musings: 22. Logarithms!
23. Stirling's formula!
24. Pi in the sky
25. Variational principles in dynamics and
26. Special functions: a group theoretic