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Why Quark Rhymes with Pork: And Other Scientific Diversions (Hardback)
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Why Quark Rhymes with Pork: And Other Scientific Diversions (Hardback)

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£19.99
Hardback 370 Pages / Published: 13/01/2016
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A collection of offbeat, entertaining and primarily nontechnical essays on physics and those who practice it, from eminent theoretical physicist N. David Mermin. Bringing together for the first time all thirty of his columns published in Physics Today's Reference Frame series from 1988 to 2009, with updating commentary, this humorous and unusual volume includes thirteen other essays, many of them previously unpublished. Mermin's lively and penetrating writing illuminates a broad range of topics, from the implications of bad spelling in a major science journal, to the crises of science libraries and scientific periodicals, the folly of scientific prizes and honors, the agony of getting funding, and how to pronounce 'quark'. His witty observations and insightful anecdotes gleaned from a lifetime in science will entertain physicists at all levels, as well as anyone else interested in science or scientists at the turn of the twenty-first century.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9781107024304
Number of pages: 370
Weight: 590 g
Dimensions: 224 x 143 x 28 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
'This delightful collection of essays should be on the bookshelf of anyone who cares about the human side of physics; it kept me amply entertained for the whole of a transatlantic air trip. I particularly like Mermin's discussion of the 'science wars', where his analysis is orders of magnitude more sophisticated than those of most of the combatants on either side.' Anthony Leggett, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and Nobel Laureate in Physics
'N. David Mermin offers that rare combination of deeply insightful essays that are also thoroughly entertaining. His writings are among the clearest and most illuminating reflections on the content and the practice of physics, and this collection is simply a joy to read.' Brian Greene, Columbia University
'[This book] is a great read. This work covers topics of interest to physicists between 1988 and 2014. Discourse ranges from composing and publishing scientific papers to questions regarding quantum mechanics, wave-particle duality, relativity, and many other topics. Though a few columns are technical (and more pertinent for advanced readers), most of the presented features are very readable and will interest many individuals. The last few chapters present essays on information the author has discovered from various physicists throughout his life. This is a great book for scientific undergraduate or graduate students interested in pursuing careers in academic research. Because of the rise of the internet, the essays about creating and publishing research papers may not be as accurate today, but some of the provided information is still relevant and will help demonstrate how to write strong scientific papers.' D. B. Mason, Choice
[Mermin's] essays are about: quantum mechanics, academia, condensed-matter physics, writing in general, and obsessive punctuation in particular. ... Why do we submit papers to journals for peer review instead of reviewing them independently ...? Have we learned anything profound in the past half century? ... Why is the sociology of science so utterly disconnected from the practice of science? Does anybody actually read Physical Review Letters? ... The most recent essays in the book mostly focus on the quantum world and just what is and isn't wrong with it. They include the most insightful - and yet brief - exposition of quantum computing that I have come across. ... having read it, I think you should read it too, because I'd rather not discuss the same questions 20 years from now. And the only correct way to pronounce quark is, of course, the German way, as 'qvark.' Sabine Hossenfelder, Physics Today
'The real strength of Mermin's book lies in his descriptions of his interactions with several major figures in condensed-matter physics: Daniel Fischer, Walter Kohn, Ken Wilson, and Sir Rudolph Peierls. These chapters are gems, and they are well worth the price of the book for their clear and insightful descriptions of truly excellent physicists at work.' John G. Cramer, American Journal of Physics
"This delightful collection of essays should be on the bookshelf of anyone who cares about the human side of physics; it kept me amply entertained for the whole of a transatlantic air trip. I particularly like Mermin's discussion of the 'science wars', where his analysis is orders of magnitude more sophisticated than those of most of the combatants on either side." Anthony Leggett, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and Nobel Laureate in Physics
"N. David Mermin offers that rare combination of deeply insightful essays that are also thoroughly entertaining. His writings are among the clearest and most illuminating reflections on the content and the practice of physics, and this collection is simply a joy to read." Brian Greene, Columbia University
'[This book] is a great read. This work covers topics of interest to physicists between 1988 and 2014. Discourse ranges from composing and publishing scientific papers to questions regarding quantum mechanics, wave-particle duality, relativity, and many other topics. Though a few columns are technical (and more pertinent for advanced readers), most of the presented features are very readable and will interest many individuals. The last few chapters present essays on information the author has discovered from various physicists throughout his life. This is a great book for scientific undergraduate or graduate students interested in pursuing careers in academic research. Because of the rise of the internet, the essays about creating and publishing research papers may not be as accurate today, but some of the provided information is still relevant and will help demonstrate how to write strong scientific papers.' D. B. Mason, Choice
[Mermin's] essays are about: quantum mechanics, academia, condensed-matter physics, writing in general, and obsessive punctuation in particular. ... Why do we submit papers to journals for peer review instead of reviewing them independently ...? Have we learned anything profound in the past half century? ... Why is the sociology of science so utterly disconnected from the practice of science? Does anybody actually read Physical Review Letters? ... The most recent essays in the book mostly focus on the quantum world and just what is and isn't wrong with it. They include the most insightful - and yet brief - exposition of quantum computing that I have come across. ... having read it, I think you should read it too, because I'd rather not discuss the same questions 20 years from now. And the only correct way to pronounce quark is, of course, the German way, as 'qvark.' Sabine Hossenfelder, Physics Today
'The real strength of Mermin's book lies in his descriptions of his interactions with several major figures in condensed-matter physics: Daniel Fischer, Walter Kohn, Ken Wilson, and Sir Rudolph Peierls. These chapters are gems, and they are well worth the price of the book for their clear and insightful descriptions of truly excellent physicists at work.' John G. Cramer, American Journal of Physics

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