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Book Reviews (Physics Today)
Aaronson, Scott. Quantum Computing Since Democritus. Cambridge University Press, 2013.
QC174.17 M35 A27 2013
Reviewer: Francis Sullivan, Physics Today (March 2014)
- "Scott Aaronson’s Quantum Computing Since Democritus is lively, casual. . . . [But] this book touches on profound issues, subtle questions, and debates that have not been—perhaps can’t be—resolved. . . . In short, Quantum Computing Since Democritus is intended to be popular, but not that popular. "
Dean, Stephen O. Search for the Ultimate Energy Source: A History of the U.S. Fusion Energy
Program. Springer, 2013. QC791 D43 2013
Reviewer: David H. Crandall, Physics Today (March 2014)
- "Search for the Ultimate Energy Source provides original historical information and updates Joan Bromberg’s Fusion: Science, Politics, and the Invention of a New Energy Source (MIT Press, 1982)."
Greenstein, George. Understanding the Universe: An Inquiry Approach to Astronomy and the
Nature of Scientific Research. Cambridge University Press, 2013. QB61 G744 2013
Reviewer: Mario C. Diaz, Physics Today (April 2014)
- "Understanding the Universe is an introductory textbook to be used in an astronomy course for nonscience majors, and I would definitely recommend it for that purpose. . . . Sections that reappear throughout the book—“Now you do it,” “Detectives on the case,” and “You must decide”—entice students to examine critically what was covered and to elaborate and examine hypotheses by themselves."
Lele, Ajey. Asian Space Race: Rhetoric or Reality? Springer, 2013. E-book.
Reviewer: Asif Siddiqi, Physics Today (April 2014)
- "In Asian Space Race: Rhetoric or Reality?, Ajey Lele seeks to untangle the complicated moves of those maturing space powers and other smaller ones, including Israel, Pakistan, and the two Koreas, and to “explore the character . . . of the investments made by various Asian states in the space arena.” The fundamental question for Lele, a research fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses in New Delhi, is a simple one on the surface, although it masks a complicated set of factors at play: “Is the Asian space race for real or is it a subject more of an academic debate?”"
Morris, Charles R. The Dawn of Innovation: The First American Industrial Revolution. Public
Affairs, 2012. HC105 M73 2012
Reviewer: H. Frederick Dylla, Physics Today (May 2014)
- "Charles Morris expertly illustrates how the tradition of innovation in the US began just as the new country was getting started. . . . In his epilogue, he contrasts [America's] history with the current landscape, where the US has taken the role of incumbent, facing a fast-growing China for 21st-century dominance."
Ostriker, Jeremiah P., and Simon Mitton. Heart of Darkness: Unraveling the Mysteries of the
Invisible Universe. Princeton University Press, 2013. QB982 O78 2013
Reviewer: John C. Mather, Physics Today (March 2014)
- "The book’s introductory material includes an overview of Hipparchus and the methods of the Greek astronomers. It also traces the beginnings of modern astronomy and physics. . . . Heart of Darkness also discusses the evidence for dark matter as seen by Fritz Zwicky in the 1930s. . . . And the text offers some delightful salvos against those who claim that the end of science is nigh or that scientists don’t change their minds until the “paradigm shifts.”"
Schlosser, Eric. Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident and the
Illusion of Safety. Penguin Press, 2013. U264.3 S45 2013
Reviewer: Alex Wellerstein, Physics Today (April 2014)
- "I am pleased to report that Schlosser’s Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety is an impressively researched, beautifully written, and carefully considered work of history. Though written for a popular audience, Command and Control is a serious piece of nonfiction and the best book on nuclear weapons to have been published in several years."
Stone, A. Douglas. Einstein and the Quantum: The Quest of the Valiant Swabian. Princeton
University Press, 2013. E-book.
Reviewer: David Kleppner, Physics Today (April 2014)
- "In the book, Stone shows how Einstein’s ideas animated the development of quantum mechanics from its infancy through its first quarter century. He argues that the full extent of Einstein’s impact is not appreciated because his iconic status in the world of physics, and also for the greater public, was due primarily to his creation of general relativity. Furthermore, Einstein himself sabotaged (my word, not Stone’s) the history of his role. . . . Einstein and the Quantum is delightful to read, with numerous historical details that were new to me and charming vignettes of Einstein and his colleagues. By avoiding mathematics, Stone makes his book accessible to general readers, but even physicists who are well versed in Einstein and his physics are likely to find new insights into the most remarkable mind of the modern era."
Weiner, John, and Frederico Nunes. Light-Matter Interaction: Physics and Engineering at the
Nanoscale. Oxford University Press, 2013. E-book.
Reviewer: Lucio Claudio Andreani, Physics Today (May 2014)
- "Altogether, Light–Matter Interaction is pleasant to read and does a good job of introducing the reader to electromagnetic waves in matter and to nanoscale radiation–matter interactions, with a focus on surface and interface phenomena. . . .Light–Matter Interaction will find a useful place in the libraries of students and researchers in the field and could be used as a main or supporting textbook in a one-semester course for undergraduate or graduate students in physics, photonics, or electrical engineering—or even better, in a course with a mixed audience of students from those disciplines."