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Description - It Must be Beautiful by Graham Farmelo

Equations lie at the heart of many of the most extraordinarily successful scientific theories. Here, some of the greatest living scientists unpack the best known equations so that they become understandable, and we are entertained and enlightened by a knowledge of how it was arrived at, what it can do and what remains to be understood about it.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9781862075559
ISBN-10: 1862075557
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 129mm x 15mm)
Pages: 304
Imprint: Granta Books
Publisher: Granta Books
Publish Date: 6-Feb-2003
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Other Editions - It Must be Beautiful by Graham Farmelo

Book Reviews - It Must be Beautiful by Graham Farmelo

UK Kirkus Review » Talk about science and you inevitably end up at equations. To the non-scientist, the two seem irrevocably linked. Yet it was only 350 years ago that Galileo proposed that the progression of science could best be achieved through a 'narrow observation' of phenomena - with results described in mathematical terms. Since then some branches of science, of course, have remained relatively equation-free. You don't need mathematics to explain Darwin's theory of evolution or to describe the intricacies of continental drift or plate tectonics. In fact, as Graham Farmelo explains in his introduction, pure maths is abstract and has nothing at all to do with the real world that science seeks to explain. The great enigma for many scientists is not how a law of nature can be expressed mathematically, but why. This book is a revelation - and will do much to scotch the popular public conception of scientists as dry, rather soulless individuals. Here, in 11 succinct, enlightening and surprisingly readable essays, experts from the world of science explain, with remarkable passion, the attraction (and frustration) of working with equations. Dealing with a topic which most popular science books chose to shy away from, It Must Be Beautiful reads at times more like a philosophy text. Take, for example, the question of whether equations are invented or discovered, the fact that some equations seem to take on a life of their own or the question of why, as Einstein commented, the best theories 'are the beautiful ones'. If, as Farmelo suggests, equations are 'the poetry of the twentieth century', then this is the indispensable reader's guide. (Kirkus UK)


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Author Biography - Graham Farmelo

Roger Penrose on Einstein's equations of General Relativity; John Maynard Smith on the equation in biology; Peter Galison, of Harvard University, on E=mc2; Robert May, President of the Royal Society, on the quadratic map; Graham Farmelo, Deputy Head of the Science Museum, on the Planck equation; Arthur Miller on the wave equation of Erwin Schrodinger; Oliver Morton, the award winning science journalist, on the Drake equation that predicts the likelihood of life beyond earth; a general essay by Steven Weinberg, Nobel Prize laureate and author of Dreams of a Final Theory.

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