Popular Astronomy

The Natural Laws of the Universe

Understanding Fundamental Constants

Authors: Uzan, Jean-Philippe, Leclercq, Bénédicte

  • Presents a fundamental topic in physics and astronomy in an exceptionally clear manner
  • Highlights the role and importance of the constants of nature
  • Investigates the solidity of the foundations of physics
  • Discusses the implications of the discovery of the non-constancy of a constant
  • Surveys the entire field of physics, from its historic roots, through the laboratory, to the depths of space
  • Explores the paths of gravitation, general relativity and new theories such as that of superstrings
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eBook $19.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-0-387-74081-2
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Softcover $29.95
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-0-387-73454-5
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Online orders shipping within 2-3 days.
About this book

Constants, such as the gravitational constant and the speed of light, are present in all the laws of physics. Recent observations have cast doubt on one of them. Does this mean that the structure of physics will crumble? Are we seeing the dawn of a scientific revolution? This book is written in the form of an enquiry into the importance of a possible variation in fundamental constants. Jean-Philippe Uzan and Bénédicte Leclercq ask such questions as: What is a constant? What role do constants play in the laws of physics? How can we verify that they are indeed constants?

This highly instructive survey of physics, from the laboratory to the depths of space, explores the paths of gravitation, general relativity and new theories such as that of superstrings. It is complete and coherent, and goes beyond the subject of constants to explain and discuss many ideas in physics, encountering along the way, for example, such exciting details as the discovery of a natural nuclear reactor at Oklo in Gabon.

Reviews

From the reviews:

"This book is an English translation of a French text originally published in 2005 … . It addresses the problem of the potential variation of the fundamental constants following the announcement in 1999 of a possible small change in the fine structure constant a. … it is quite scholastic and may interest students of secondary school level and interested laymen." (Vladimir Pletser, Physicalia Magazine, Vol. 30 (4), 2008)

"Uzan (Institut d’Astrophsique de Paris) and Leclercq (Pour la Science, Paris) presents a brief history of the development of physics itself. … The style is informal and the logic is clear. The attention to detail is very good, especially considering the expected audience. This is a fine book and belongs in college libraries. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readers/libraries." (K. L. Schick, Choice, Vol. 46 (6), February, 2009)


Table of contents (9 chapters)

  • Introduction

    Uzan, Jean-Philippe (et al.)

    Pages 1-6

  • Foundations: universality in physics

    Uzan, Jean-Philippe (et al.)

    Pages 7-20

  • Fundamental constants: pillars of the edifice

    Uzan, Jean-Philippe (et al.)

    Pages 21-35

  • Planning the edifice: structure of theories

    Uzan, Jean-Philippe (et al.)

    Pages 37-58

  • Proportions: dimensionless parameters

    Uzan, Jean-Philippe (et al.)

    Pages 59-70

Buy this book

eBook $19.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-0-387-74081-2
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Softcover $29.95
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-0-387-73454-5
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Online orders shipping within 2-3 days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
The Natural Laws of the Universe
Book Subtitle
Understanding Fundamental Constants
Authors
Series Title
Popular Astronomy
Copyright
2008
Publisher
Praxis
Copyright Holder
Praxis
eBook ISBN
978-0-387-74081-2
DOI
10.1007/978-0-387-74081-2
Softcover ISBN
978-0-387-73454-5
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XII, 136
Number of Illustrations and Tables
10 b/w illustrations
Additional Information
Jointly published with Praxis Publishing
Topics