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Why Quark Rhymes with Pork: And Other Scientific Diversions

Book Description

A collection of offbeat, entertaining and primarily nontechnical essays on physics and those who practice it, from eminent theoretical physicist N. David Mermin. Bringing together for the first time all thirty of his columns published in Physics Today's Reference Frame series from 1988 to 2009, with updating commentary, this humorous and unusual volume includes thirteen other essays, many of them previously unpublished. Mermin's lively and penetrating writing illuminates a broad range of topics, from the implications of bad spelling in a major science journal, to the crises of science libraries and scientific periodicals, the folly of scientific prizes and honors, the agony of getting funding, and how to pronounce 'quark'. His witty observations and insightful anecdotes gleaned from a lifetime in science will entertain physicists at all levels, as well as anyone else interested in science or scientists at the turn of the twenty-first century.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Half title
  3. Title page
  4. Imprints page
  5. Dedication
  6. Contents
  7. Preface
  8. Part One Reference Frame Columns, Physics Today 1988–2009
    1. 1 What’s wrong with this Lagrangean
      1. 1. Postscript
    2. 2 What’s wrong with this library
      1. 2. Postscript
    3. 3 What’s wrong with these prizes
      1. 3. Postscript
    4. 4 What’s wrong with this pillow
      1. References
      2. 4. Postscript
    5. 5 What’s wrong with this prose
      1. 5. Postscript
    6. 6 What’s wrong with these equations
      1. Reference
      2. 6. Postscript
    7. 7 What’s wrong with these elements of reality
      1. References
      2. 7. Postscript
    8. 8 What’s wrong with these reviews
      1. 8. Postscript
    9. 9 What’s wrong with those epochs
      1. 9. Postscript
    10. 10 Publishing in Computopia
      1. 10. Postscript
    11. 11 What’s wrong with those grants
      1. 11. Postscript
    12. 12 What’s wrong in Computopia
      1. 12. Postscript
    13. 13 What’s wrong with those talks
      1. Advice to beginning physics speakers (and intermediate or advanced ones)
        1. William A. Mozart
      2. 13. Postscript
    14. 14 Two lectures on the wave–particle duality
      1. The first lecture
      2. The second lecture
      3. 14. Postscript
    15. 15 A quarrel we can settle
      1. 15. Postscript
    16. 16 What’s wrong with this temptation
      1. References
      2. 16. Postscript
    17. 17 What’s wrong with this sustaining myth
      1. 17. Postscript
    18. 18 The golemization of relativity
      1. 18. Postscript
    19. 19 Diary of a Nobel guest
      1. 19. Postscript
    20. 20 What’s wrong with this reading
      1. References
      2. 20. Postscript
    21. 21 How not to create tigers
      1. 21. Postscript
    22. 22 What’s wrong with this elegance
      1. Reference
      2. 22. Postscript
    23. 23 The contemplation of quantum computation
      1. 23. Postscript
    24. 24 What’s wrong with these questions
      1. 24. Postscript
    25. 25 What’s wrong with this quantum world
      1. References
      2. 25. Postscript
    26. 26 Could Feynman have said this?
      1. References
      2. 26. Postscript
    27. 27 My life with Einstein
      1. References
      2. 27. Postscript
    28. 28 What has quantum mechanics to do with factoring?
      1. References
      2. 28. Postscript
    29. 29 Some curious facts about quantum factoring
      1. Reference
      2. 29. Postscript
    30. 30 What’s bad about this habit
      1. 30. Postscript
  9. Part Two Shedding Bad Habits
    1. 31 Fixing the shifty split
      1. References
      2. 31. Postscript
    2. 32 What I think about Now
      1. References
      2. 32. Postscript
    3. 33 Why QBism is not the Copenhagen interpretation and what John Bell might have thought of it
      1. References
      2. 33. Postscript
  10. Part Three More from Professor Mozart
    1. 34 What’s wrong with this book
      1. Everything’s wrong with this book!
      2. 34. Postscript
    2. 35 What’s wrong with these stanzas
      1. The Standard Model
      2. 35. Postscript
  11. Part Four More to be Said
    1. 36 The complete diary of a Nobel guest
      1. 36. Postscript
    2. 37 Elegance in physics
      1. References
      2. 37. Postscript
    3. 38 Questions for 2105
      1. 38. Postscript
  12. Part Five Some People I’ve Known
    1. 39 My life with Fisher
      1. Reference
      2. 39. Postscript
    2. 40 My life with Kohn
      1. Reference
      2. 40. Postscript
    3. 41 My life with Wilson
      1. 41. Postscript
    4. 42 My life with Peierls
      1. References
      2. 42. Postscript
  13. Part Six Summing it Up
    1. 43 Writing Physics
      1. References
      2. 43. Postscript
  14. Index