• Title: Nothingness: The Science of Empty Space
  • Author: Henning Genz
  • Released: 1998-07-01
  • Language: English
  • Pages: 0
  • ISBN: 0201442337
  • ISBN13: 978-0201442335
  • ASIN: 0201442337
What can you say about nothing? Paradoxically, it turns out we know quite a lot about emptiness, and physicist Henning Genz fills us in with Nothingness: The Science of Empty Space, a heady and delightful romp through the cold void of space. From Aristotle's horror vacui to modern quantum-mechanical confirmation that nature does indeed abhor a vacuum, Genz rockets us through the inky blackness with clarity and playfulness. The concept of the absolute void is one of the few that touches both the farthest reaches of philosophy and the most intimate corners of experimental physics, and the push and pull between these two fields has never been more plain. Torricelli's demonstration of the vacuum in Renaissance times turned his world inside out; it took hundreds of years for scientists to conclude that the seeming emptiness actually froths with "virtual particles" and the just barely real Higgs field. The stories are uniformly engrossing and enlightening, and while the science can get a bit abstruse from time to time, the narrative thread runs independently of the hard stuff. If you want the dirt on the most ephemeral of scientific subjects, look to Genz; he's done the impossible and created something out of Nothingness. --Rob Lightner --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly Can we conceive of such a concept as "nothingness"? In this tour de force, Genz, professor of theoretical physics at the University of Karlsruhe, Germany, explains that the answer depends on where we draw the line between "something" and "nothing." On a simpler conceptual level, we might wonder if space that is totally devoid of any matter exists: what would space travelers find in the millions of light years between galaxies? Genz demonstrates that even if a cubic meter of this "empty space" were totally free of dust, gas or the occasionally stray atom, it would still be illuminated by radiation. And if we tried to lower the temperature close enough to absolute zero to eliminate all energy, an energy field?what scientists call a Higgs field?would suddenly materialize to spite our efforts. As the ancient philosophers wrote, nature does seem to abhor a vacuum. Genz intricately constructs his case so that just when the reader questions the point of an apparent digression or yet another discussion of ancient Greek theories of matter, he nudges it expertly into the edifice of his argument. Questions about being and nothingness are shown to relate to today's most important questions in physics and cosmology?for instance, whether the large-scale structures in the universe, and the emergence of life itself, can be traced to transitions between various vacuum states. Genz is well served by his translator, who has deftly transformed the original into idiomatic English. This book is not an easy read, but it will repay careful study and is recommended for dedicated science buffs. 140 drawings.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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