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Synopsis

Archimedes to Hawking takes the reader on a journey across the centuries as it explores the eponymous physical laws--from Archimedes' Law of Buoyancy and Kepler's Laws of Planetary Motion to Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle and Hubble's Law of Cosmic Expansion--whose ramifications have profoundly altered our everyday lives and our understanding of the universe. Throughout this fascinating book, Clifford Pickover invites us to share in the amazing adventures of brilliant, quirky, and passionate people after whom these laws are named. These lawgivers turn out to be a fascinating, diverse, and sometimes eccentric group of people. Many were extremely versatile polymaths--human dynamos with a seemingly infinite supply of curiosity and energy and who worked in many different areas in science. Others had non-conventional educations and displayed their unusual talents from an early age. Some experienced resistance to their ideas, causing significant personal anguish. Pickover examines more than 40 great laws, providing brief and cogent introductions to the science behind the laws as well as engaging biographies of such scientists as Newton, Faraday, Ohm, Curie, and Planck. Throughout, he includes fascinating, little-known tidbits relating to the law or lawgiver, and he provides cross-references to other laws or equations mentioned in the book. For several entries, he includes simple numerical examples and solved problems so that readers can have a hands-on understanding of the application of the law. A sweeping survey of scientific discovery as well as an intriguing portrait gallery of some of the greatest minds in history, this superb volume will engage everyone interested in science and the physical world or in the dazzling creativity of these brilliant thinkers.

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