Friday, December 27, 2013

Sexy Physics Sells

If you are in a bookstore such as Barnes and Nobles (or maybe imagine it since lots of folks browse books online such as at Amazon), or a public library, go to the science section then look for physics type books.  Most of the books you will see on physics are about the wowwy, gee-whizzy type things.  I'm talking the Higgs Particle (from a theory published in 1964), dubbed the "God Particle" by Leon Lederman who was a nobel prize winner in physics for experimental particle physics research.  Books about String Theory, Parallel Universes, Quantum Mechanics, Inflationary Universes.  All really cool and neat stuff and on material that has won Nobel Prizes.  What you don't see are books on important areas of physics research that aren't as awe inspiring and cool to talk about with friends, and yet are very important.  Look at the Nobel prizes given in physics for the last few years as listed on the noble prize page:

Hopefully you can read what I have pasted from that site.

The books you will see as you browse may not contain in the titles what areas of physics the Noble Prizes were given for but their subjects are in most of those books.  Books about the Higgs boson will also be discussing areas in which previous Nobel winners work has contributed to the science that the Higgs boson is part of.  Remember Einstein did not win his Nobel prize for relativity, he won it for his explanation of the photoelectric effect, or how remote controls work.  By the way Einstein never got the Nobel prize money his ex-wife did since it was in their divorce settlement that if he were to ever win the Nobel prize she would get the money.

So what you don't know when you purchase or check out that sexy sounding physics or astronomy book you are going to hopefully learn about research that you might not have known about but hopefully the author will explain how they are all related.

Somehow, Condensed-Matter scientists need to come up with sexy titles to explain their work such as in high temperature superconductors.  I guess its because Ug for thousands of years has wondered about the universe around him and material physics and such just isn't as cool to talk and think about as wondering what its all about.

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