What could quantum mechanics have in common with the philosophical musings of the ancient Greeks? In our age of multimillion-dollar supercolliders, it's hard to imagine that modern physics owes anything to thinkers who predate Descartes. But French physicists Etienne Klein and March Lachieze-Rey see an unbroken thread running from antiquity to the present--an ongoing search, throughout the history of science, for unity.
In The Search for Unity the authors reveal how the quest for the One has driven all the great breakthroughs in science. They show how the Greeks searched for the fundamental element in all things; how Galileo unified the earth with the heavens, by discovering valleys and mountains on the moon; and how Newton created a single theory to describe the motion of the celestial bodies. With unequaled clarity, they explore the work of the most famous unifier of all, Albert Einstein, who melded space and time into a combined space-time concept, and then embarked on an unsuccessful search for a single theory to explain all the physical laws of the universe. Throughout the book, the authors stress the esthetic motives of scientists, how they recognize truth through apprehension of mathematical beauty. And in tracing the quest for unity up to the present day, they illuminate the bizarre workings of quantum mechanics and the sticky definition of reality itself at the subatomic level.
A grand unification of all interactions still awaits discovery--but as Klein and Lachieze-Rey show, the search itself is as fascinating as the end result may ever be.
About Etienne Klein
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Published May 13, 1999
by Oxford University Press, USA.
Science & Math.