The Shaggy Steed of Physics: Mathematical Beauty in the Physical World (Hardback)David Oliver (author)
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The Shaggy Steed is an unassuming figure from Irish folklore who reveals himself as an inspiring teacher of the forces hidden in the universe. This book celebrates an unassuming bit of physics that also turns out to be an inspiring teacher. The two-body problem - the motion of two bodies bound by the inverse-square force of gravity and electricity - is the Shaggy Steed of physics, guiding the reader to an understanding of both the forces and the mathematical beauty hidden in the physical world.
Publisher: Springer-Verlag New York Inc.
Number of pages: 300
Weight: 1390 g
Dimensions: 235 x 155 x 19 mm
Edition: 2nd ed. 2004
From the reviews of the second edition:
"In the present book, the shaggy steed of physics is the two-body problem, a problem that guides the reader through an interesting tour of the mathematical beauty hidden in the physical world. Actually, the author takes an approach which is opposite to that usually taken by the physicist who often marvels at the physical beauty hidden in the mathematical world. This reverse approach makes the reading of this book both interesting and illuminating for the professional physicist or chemist." (Fernande Grandjean and Gary J. Long, Physicalia Vol. 57 (3), 2005)
"The book celebrates an unassuming bit of physics that also turns out to be an inspiring teacher. The two-body problem - the motion of two bodies bound by the inverse-square force of gravity and electricity - is the Shaggy Steed of Physics, guiding the reader to an understanding of both the forces and the mathematical beauty hidden in the physical world. ... The second edition preserves the spirit of the original while deepening key topics." (Zentralblatt fur Didaktik der Mathematik, January, 2005)
"This is the second edition of a very interesting little book first published in 1994. The author writes with considerable conviction, passion, and clarity on the topic of mechanics as the one major unifying theme ... . Overall, I regard this to be an excellent book, especially important for those in the community who would like to understand the big picture, the connections and the similarities between the major physical theories which describe our universe ... ." (J M Hill, The Physicist, Vol. 41 (5), September/October, 2004)
"Oliver's new edition ... of his intellectual history of mechanics and the transition from classical mechanics to quantum mechanics enhances the first edition in several areas. ... Oliver writes elegantly, almost to the point of being flowery. ... One delightful feature not often found in works of this type is the inclusion of an appendix that contains brief technical biographies and portraits of the major contributors to the topic ... . Summing up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduate and graduate students; professionals." (A. Spero, CHOICE, June, 2004)
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