Mass: The Quest To Understand Matter From Greek Atoms To Quantum Fields
At first glance, mass doesn't seem very interesting. In fact, it appears to be a plain and commonplace part of the matter. Only acting as an attribute that lets items act in a certain way. However the deeper we get into the text, the less apparent the meaning of the word mass becomes. Alongside mass, the author also focuses a great deal on what Matter is. The closer we look, the more nuanced matter gets, until we begin to understand that it doesn't exist in the context that we might think. In the end, you start to realize you are going a wild ride into a universe you only thought you understood.
If your head gets a little fuzzy when you try to understand quantum physics then this may be the book for you. The author is able to somehow break down the quantum theory so that it quite easy to follow. When I began reading this book I was scared that, like my first college quantum lecture encounter, I might not comprehend much of anything. But this book allowed me to grasp many ideas that my university lecturers couldn't convey to me during my studies. The beautifully straightforward way in which Baggott describes physics and his unique approach to the ending of each chapter makes this book stand out from the pack.
Five Things We Learned
What You Will Learn
He starts by carefully discusses how Greek philosophers thought about the idea of atoms. This includes the greek's explanation of what the universe is constructed of. We continue with a journey through the history of our growing comprehension of what matter is and the essence of mass. This is pretty straightforward content. However, he does not simply shift from a metaphysical to a scientific point of view. Instead, he continues with the metaphysical ideas that underscore the fact we can't really know the reality, only our sensory reactions and the models that are built as a result.
Today physicists are now using the ideas behind quantum field theory to understand mass. Mass comprises the laws of Newton, Einstein's relativity theory, the discovery of the boson of Higg, modern quantum chromodynamics, and recently the particulate physics model. Through light-hearted stories of historical findings, Baggott manages to entertain and educate us on the evolving conceptions about what mass actually is.
When he progresses, Baggott takes us through relativity and its consequences for mass to rely on one's own point of view. As well as quantum theory to underscore our increasing comprehension of what things are. Then he gets to his major point where we notice that mass is not the basic element of life that it seems to be. Rather, a mixture of the influence of quantum fields and the effect of energy being produced. That's quite the clever turnaround of our normal perspective on mass and matter and it's wonderfully well described.