Of Particular Significance

New Book Reviews & New Posts This Week

Picture of POSTED BY Matt Strassler

POSTED BY Matt Strassler

ON 07/08/2024

After a tiring spring that followed the publication of the book, I’ve taken a little break. But starting tomorrow, I’ll be posting on the blog again, focusing again on the important differences between the conventional notion of “particle” and the concept of “wavicle”. I prefer the latter to the former when referring to electrons, quarks and other elementary objects.

Today, though, some book-related news.

First, a book review of sorts — or at least, a brief but strong informal endorsement — appeared in the New York Times, courtesy of the linguist, author and columnist John McWhorter. Since McWhorter is not a scientist himself, I’m especially delighted that he liked the book and found it largely comprehensible! The review was in a paragraph-long addendum to a longer column about language; here’s an excerpt:

Another positive review recently appeared in Nautilus magazine, written by Ash Jogalekar, a scientist himself — but a chemist rather than a physicist. The full review is available here.

Lastly, the audiobook is in preparation, though I still don’t know the time frame yet.

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3 Responses

  1. dear Matt,
    reflecting on your use of analogies and ‘minor fibs’, I wondered if tape-measure-physics would be a useful analogy for the coupling of two fields.
    A thin steel ribbon can carry a wave in the long direction, but a tape measure has a bend across the short direction. This stiffens it in the long direction. A long bend causes a flattening out of the curvature in the across direction. That takes a minimum of energy and results in a kind of “quantised kink” (with an audible click). Just a loose idea, but I kind of like it.
    Do theoretical physicists use tape measures too, or is that reserved for experimentalists? (grin)

  2. Prof Strassler,
    I find your inclusion of reviews of your book to be helpful. The reviews touch on key concepts you have presented but in slightly different words, which helps me to review and reflect upon them. Even somewhat critical comments, such as regarding the coverage of symmetry, help to point me to areas I might further explore.

    1. 🙂 The amusing thing about Jagolekar’s complaint that I didn’t talk about symmetry is that my decision not to talk about it involved a very conscious choice on my part. It turns out that all that discussion over decades about how the Higgs field is all about breaking symmetries is actually not correct — at least, not as it stands. That’s exactly why it doesn’t appear in the book. This is an issue I plan to write about later this summer… but it has some tricky elements, so I’m not rushing into it.

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