Cover image for Einstein's cosmos : how Albert Einstein's vision transformed our understanding of space and time
Title:
Einstein's cosmos : how Albert Einstein's vision transformed our understanding of space and time
Author:
Kaku, Michio.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Atlas Books/W.W. Norton, [2004]

©2004
Physical Description:
251 pages ; 22 cm.
Language:
English
Personal Subject:
ISBN:
9780393051650
Format :
Book

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QC173.59.S65 K356 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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QC173.59.S65 K356 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
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QC173.59.S65 K356 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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QC173.59.S65 K356 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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QC173.59.S65 K356 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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QC173.59.S65 K356 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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QC173.59.S65 K356 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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QC173.59.S65 K356 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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QC173.59.S65 K356 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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QC173.59.S65 K356 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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QC173.59.S65 K356 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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Summary

Summary

How did Albert Einstein come up with the theories that changed the way we look at the world? By thinking in pictures. Michio Kaku leading theoretical physicist (a cofounder of string theory) and best-selling science storyteller shows how Einstein used seemingly simple images to lead a revolution in science. Daydreaming about racing a beam of light led to the special theory of relativity and the equation E = mc². Thinking about a man falling led to the general theory of relativity giving us black holes and the Big Bang. Einstein's failure to come up with a theory that would unify relativity and quantum mechanics stemmed from his lacking an apt image. Even in failure, however, Einstein's late insights have led to new avenues of research as well as to the revitalization of the quest for a "Theory of Everything." With originality and expertise, Kaku uncovers the surprising beauty that lies at the heart of Einstein's cosmos.


Author Notes

Michio Kaku was born January 24, 1947 in San Jose California. Kaku attended Cubberley High School in Palo Alto in the early 1960s and played first board on their chess team. At the National Science Fair in Albuquerque, New Mexico, he attracted the attention of physicist Edward Teller, who took Kaku as a protégé, awarding him the Hertz Engineering Scholarship. Kaku graduated summa cum laude from Harvard University with a B.S. degree in 1968 and was first in his physics class. He attended the Berkeley Radiation Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley and received a Ph.D. in 1972 and held a lectureship at Princeton University in 1973. During the Vietnam War, Kaku completed his U.S. Army basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia and his advanced infantry training at Fort Lewis, Washington.

Kaku currently holds the Henry Semat Chair and Professorship in theoretical physics and a joint appointment at City College of New York, and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, where he has lectured for more than 30 years. He is engaged in defining the "Theory of Everything", which seeks to unify the four fundamental forces of the universe: the strong nuclear force, the weak nuclear force, gravity and electromagnetism. He was a visiting professor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, and New York University. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society. He is listed in Who's Who in Science and Engineering, and American Men and Women of Science. He has published research articles on string theory from 1969 to 2000. In 1974, along with Prof. K. Kikkawa, he wrote the first paper on string field theory, now a major branch of string theory, which summarizes each of the five string theories into a single equation.

In addition to his work on string field theory, he also authored some of the first papers on multi-loop amplitudes in string theory. Kaku is the author of several doctoral textbooks on string theory and quantum field theory and has published 170 articles in journals covering topics such as superstring theory, supergravity, supersymmetry, and hadronic physics. He is also author of the popular science books: Visions, Hyperspace, Einstein's Cosmos, Parallel Worlds, The Future of the Mind, and The Future of Humanity: Terraforming Mars, Interstellar Travel, Immortality, and Our Destiny Beyond.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 4

Booklist Review

Recent popular works about Einstein have magnified select details of his life, such as his tempestuous marriage to Mileva Maric ( Einstein in Love, by Dennis Overbye, 2000) or his FBI file ( The Einstein File, by Frederome BKL Ap 1 03). Such topics are reduced to paragraphs inaku's presentation, for Einstein's life ranks second to his science here. Accordingly,aku divides his narrative into the three great segments of Einstein's scientific arc: the theory of special relativity in 1905; the theory of general relativity in 1916; and the balance of Einstein's intellectual life. The latter was spent searching for a unified field theory and saw the rise of his phenomenal celebrity, which his peers regarded as a dubious dissipation of genius. However, such lamentations were premature, according toaku, who explicates recent discoveries that show Einstein was only audaciously ahead of his scientific time, as usual. An expert in quantum mechanics and string theory,aku is an equally able popular writer, vividly evoking the pictorial imagination behind Einstein's revolutionary thinking. --Gilbert Taylor Copyright 2004 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

This latest entry in the Great Discoveries series (edited by Jesse Cohen and complements another, more focused study that's appearing this season, Edmund Blair Bolles's Einstein Defiant (Forecasts, Feb. 23), which takes a detailed look at Einstein's role in the development of quantum physics. Kaku, host of the nationally broadcast radio program Explorations, presents a well-sketched-out yet concise account of Einstein's life. Kaku excels, as did his subject, in drawing word pictures that illustrate in everyday language complicated subjects like the photoelectric effect, Brownian motion, and special and general relativity. The public and the press were always drawn to Einstein because he presented his theories in language that the average person could understand. Even when writing for his colleagues, as Kaku points out, he strove for simplicity of expression: his equation describing the structure of the universe is only an inch long. For a half-century after Einstein's death, the standard account was that he had frittered away the last years of his career trying to find a unified field theory, hanging on like a drowning man to the bark of determinism while the Copenhagen school sailed off in many directions by applying probabilistic methods to the inner workings of the atom. In his final chapter, Kaku shows that in fact Einstein's activities in his final years anticipated recent advances such as detecting gravitational waves, "supersymmetry" and even the attempt to reconcile science with religion. This accessible biography is recommended to readers eager, but never quite able, to understand what this relativity business is all about. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

Theoretical physicist Kaku has written several books for the general public (e.g.,Visions) as well as works for advanced researchers. In this fast-moving review of Einstein's life and works, he convincingly demonstrates how much his subject contributed to different areas of 20th- and 21st-century physics; as Kaku writes, "crumbs that have tumbled off Einstein's plate are now winning Nobel Prizes for other scientists." Kaku draws upon his own specialty area of string theory to show that physics is now making tangible advances toward a unified field theory. (This was the goal of Einstein's later years, even in the face of derision by other physicists.) Kaku's comments on the earlier history of science can be superficial and misleading, but the biographical portions nicely capture Einstein's personality. Overall, this is a worthwhile purchase for public and academic libraries owing to its current view of Einstein's achievements and their relation to continuing advanced physics research.-Jack W. Weigel, Ann Arbor, MI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Choice Review

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) was one of the greatest scientists in all of history. He revolutionized physics, overturned tenets ascribed to Isaac Newton, and changed the way we look at the universe. Evidentially, even though his ideas had enormous implications for science, Einstein thought in terms of simple physical pictures. The main objective of this book is to show readers how these images allowed Einstein to develop his far-reaching theories. For example, Einstein developed his theory of special relativity by imagining what a beam of light would look like if it were possible to race along side of it. From this he came to the revolutionary conclusion that time can beat at different rates, depending on how fast one was moving. Later, there were mathematical and empirical demonstrations of special relativity, but Einstein first came to understand this principle though this simple picture. Kaku (CUNY/CCNY) shows how this method was true for Einstein's other work as well. Even though most historians acknowledge that Einstein did much of his important work early in his career (especially in the miracle year of 1905), the author shows how his latter years were also productive. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. General readers. J. Z. Kiss Miami University


Table of Contents

Preface: A New Look at the Legacy of Albert Einsteinp. 11
Acknowledgmentsp. 17
Part I. First Picture: Racing a Light Beam
Chapter 1 Physics before Einsteinp. 21
Chapter 2 The Early Yearsp. 33
Chapter 3 Special Relativity and the "Miracle Year"p. 59
Part II. Second Picture: Warped Space-Time
Chapter 4 General Relativity and "the Happiest Thought of My Life"p. 91
Chapter 5 The New Copernicusp. 113
Chapter 6 The Big Bang and Black Holesp. 131
Part III. The Unfinished Picture: The Unified Field Theory
Chapter 7 Unification and the Quantum Challengep. 147
Chapter 8 War, Peace, and E = mc[superscript 2]p. 177
Chapter 9 Einstein's Prophetic Legacyp. 201
Notesp. 235
Bibliographyp. 249