THE END OF PHYSICS

THE MYTH OF A UNIFIED THEORY

When Lindley says ``myth,'' he means it not as a metaphor but literally: ``a story that makes sense within its own terms...but can be neither tested nor disproved.'' Such is the sorry pass he believes that particle physics has come to at the end of the 20th century. The quest for theories of everything—for the grand unification—has indeed becomes a ``holy grail'' that can cost time, money, and careers, all to no avail. That's the message brought by a messenger with credentials as a senior editor of Science as well as a Ph.D. in astronomy. Curiously, Lindley's apocalyptic vision has a parallel with one promulgated at the end of the last century, when physics was also thought to be coming to an end, but for different reasons: It was thought that the major discoveries had been made. This time, Lindley avers that it's the seduction of mathematical constructs unrelated to the real world that's doing physics in. To reach this conclusion, he summarizes all that the 20th century has wrought, from Einstein to Heisenberg to Fermilab, CERN, and the plan for the superconducting supercollider—a grand cathedral. (For an opposing view, see Steven Weinberg's Dreams of a Final Theory—Jan 1993.) Whether or not readers buy Lindley's judgment, they're well served by his first-rate exposition of the state of the science. The rub may lie in the eerie phenomenon by which the toys of mathematicians so often do turn out to be the tools that physicists use to construct—and demonstrate—the next paradigm. (Illustrations)

Pub Date: June 16, 1993

ISBN: 0-465-01548-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Basic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1993

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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