Dreams of a Final Theory

Steven Weinberg (born May 3, 1933, https://web2.ph.utexas.edu/~weintech/weinberg.html and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steven_weinberg) is an American theoretical physicist and Nobel laureate in Physics for his contributions with Abdus Salam and Sheldon Glashow to the unification of the weak force and electromagnetic interaction between elementary particles. He holds the Josey Regental Chair in Science at the University of Texas at Austin, where he is a member of the Physics and Astronomy Departments. His research on elementary particles and cosmology has been honoured with numerous prizes and awards, including in 1979 the Nobel Prize in Physics and in 1991 the National Medal of Science.

In Dreams of a Final Theory Weinberg summarizes how far Big Bang theory has gone toward uniting gravity, electromagnetism, and the weak and strong nuclear forces. To accomplish this summary he recounts the progress of 20th-century physics. He spells out the role of Einstein in 1905 and 1917, Einstein’s dispute with Bohr, the Copenhagen interpretation, the contributions of Heisenberg, Dirac, Schrodinger, and Feynman, and so on down to the younger generation of string and superstring theorists. This would be enough for a popularization, but Weinberg has something else in mind. He discusses from an insider’s point of view the style of science, specifying concepts like beauty and simplicity. Also the context of science, describing the social milieu that creates waves of belief (or disbelief) at given times. Mirabile dictu, he also devotes a chapter to religion, seeing its role as a consolation in the face of death – something science cannot offer. But the underlying theme emphasizes that if we are going to make any headway toward a final theory, it can come about only with the discovery of entities such as the Higgs boson. Whilst Weinberg justifiably extols the explanatory power of 20th-century quantum mechanics, he leaves the reader with the frustrating sense that politics, the recession, science in-fighting, or any combination of these may thwart useful progress. He makes an eloquent case, and these reflections are as pertinent today as the day he committed them to paper.

Enquire at your local library. For full bibliographic detail consult http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dreams-Final-Theory-Fundamental-Ultimate/dp/0099223910/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1440349618&sr=1-1&keywords=dreams+of+a+final+theory


334 pages in Random House

First published 1992

ISBN 978-0099223917


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Steven Weinberg


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