Cover: From Clockwork to Crapshoot: A History of Physics, from Harvard University PressCover: From Clockwork to Crapshoot in PAPERBACK

From Clockwork to Crapshoot

A History of Physics

Add to Cart

Product Details

PAPERBACK

$23.00 • £18.95 • €20.50

ISBN 9780674034877

Publication Date: 03/30/2010

Academic Trade

352 pages

5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches

12 line, 2 halftones, 1 map

Belknap Press

World

Science is about 6000 years old while physics emerged as a distinct branch some 2500 years ago. As scientists discovered virtually countless facts about the world during this great span of time, the manner in which they explained the underlying structure of that world underwent a philosophical evolution. From Clockwork to Crapshoot provides the perspective needed to understand contemporary developments in physics in relation to philosophical traditions as far back as ancient Greece.

Roger Newton, whose previous works have been widely praised for erudition and accessibility, presents a history of physics from the early beginning to our day—with the associated mathematics, astronomy, and chemistry. Along the way, he gives brief explanations of the scientific concepts at issue, biographical thumbnail sketches of the protagonists, and descriptions of the changing instruments that enabled scientists to make their discoveries. He traces a profound change from a deterministic explanation of the world—accepted at least since the time of the ancient Greek and Taoist Chinese civilizations—to the notion of probability, enshrined as the very basis of science with the quantum revolution at the beginning of the twentieth century. With this change, Newton finds another fundamental shift in the focus of physicists&mdsah;from the cause of dynamics or motion to the basic structure of the world. His work identifies what may well be the defining characteristic of physics in the twenty-first century.

Recent News

From Our Blog

Jacket: The Number of the Heavens: A History of the Multiverse and the Quest to Understand the Cosmos, by Tom Siegfried, from Harvard University Press

Q&A with Tom Siegfried, author of The Number of the Heavens: A History of the Multiverse and the Quest to Understand the Cosmos

In The Number of the Heavens, Tom Siegfried, the award-winning former editor of Science News, shows that one of the most fascinating and controversial ideas in contemporary cosmology—the existence of multiple parallel universes—has a long and divisive history that continues to this day. We spoke to him about the possible existence of a multiverse and the co

‘manifold glories of classical Greek and Latin’

The digital Loeb Classical Library (loebclassics.com) extends the founding mission of James Loeb with an interconnected, fully searchable, perpetually growing virtual library of all that is important in Greek and Latin literature.