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The Universal Force

"The Universal Force" conveys the excitement of science and nature's mysteries. It describes gravitation as seen by examining the achievements of those great scientists who have struggled with the seemingly simple facts and managed to extract some truth about the nature of gravity, its origins, and its effects. Gravity is intimately tied up with motion, and therefore with time and space, and is responsible for planetary systems, the evolution of stars and the existence of black holes and the very beginning of the Universe. It is the universal force, and to look at gravity is to look at the deepest aspects of nature. The historical context from Aristotle's teleology through Galileo's conflict with the Church, to Newton's law, and Einstein's curved space time, displays the evolution of the science of gravity as one of the greatest and most fascinating human achievements. Contrary to popular opinion, all important science can be understood by anyone, with or without a scientific background. This book shows that the beauty and mysteries of science can be shared with everyone.
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Table of Contents

1. The seeker ; 2. The giants ; 3. The first modern giant ; 4. The grid ; 5. The universal force ; 6. The laws ; 7. The system of the world ; 8. Force and mass ; 9. Two more giants ; 10. Ether ; 11. The genius ; 12. Time and space ; 13. It really is true ; 14. The space-time continuum ; 15. Time warps and bent space ; 16. It stands alone ; 17. This too is true ; 18. Crunch ; 19. Beyond existence ; 20. Absolute space? ; 21. Infinity ; 22. How weird can it get? ; 23. Scientific truth ; 24. The meaning of why ; 25. Final comments

About the Author

Louis A. Girifalco is the University Professor of Materials Science at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a world renowned theorist and has authored five books which include works on solid state diffusion, statistical mechanics and technological change, along with many research papers. He is a former Department Head and Laboratory Director and past Chairman of the Board of Associated Universities, Inc., which was responsible for the operation of Brookhaven National Laboratories and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory.


'The biographies are interesting and very readable...' * David Storey, Astronomy Now, January 2008 * 'The Universal Force' by Louis Girifalco is an excellent introduction to the fundamental concepts underlying our modern theory of gravity that contains some engagingly written descriptions of the work of the people who contributed to its development ... A very impressive and enjoyable book. * Physics World, April 2008 * Girfalco's passionate book is a good introduction to the ancient history of cosmology, the personalities involved, and the experimental method. * Gordon Fraser, author of "Cosmic Anger: Abdus Salam, the first Muslim Nobel Scientist" * Unique in its historic perspective, with its biographies of very high quality, and its use of the subject to illustrate the nature of science itself, how it works, what it can, and most important, what it cannot do. * David Welch, Brookhaven National Laboratory * Fluidly and gracefully written, in an engaging, easy-to-read, non-mathematical style. * Hugh Van Horn, University of Rochester, NY * Perfectly readable, engaging the reader quickly with the subject matter. * Martin Hendry, University of Glasgow * Girifalco's conventional style and excellent explanations belie the difficulty of these topics, resulting in a deep, yet understandable, explanation of all the "weird" facts about the universe that relativity implies, none more so than the true nature of gravity. * Philadelphia Inquirer * Girifalco is a fluid writer, and his stories are compelling. This book about the force of gravity has its feet firmly on the ground. * Nature, January 2008 *

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