Writers’ Gallery

Our Writers' Gallery features short pieces about physics by authors who are both renowned physicists and prize-winning writers. Some of these are original contributions and others are excerpts from longer works. Many are linked to more information about the authors and their work.

 

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Gödel's Proof Review

Gödel's Incompleteness Theorems shook the foundations of formal logic and mathematics, but its meaning remained elusive even to experts for years. Today, however, there's an easier way to see how Gödel discovered his theorems.


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Insatiable Birdie

Can a book inspire you as a child to grow up and solve one of the most famous mysteries of mathematics? Come take a peek inside Physics for Entertainment to find out. Originally published over seventy years ago in Russia, this classic book answers many fascinating questions that one might not even think are physics questions. “Can an invisible man see? Why are all cats grey when the candles are out?” The excerpt below explains the habits or our beloved drinking bird toy.


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The Cosmic Zoom

Robert L. Park

Most of the scientists and inventors we met started out believing that they had made a great discovery overlooked by everyone else. It never pays to underestimate the human capacity for self-deception.


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Einstein's Relativity and Everyday Life

Clifford M. Will

What good is fundamental physics to the person on the street? This is the perennial question posed to physicists by their non-science friends, by students in the humanities and social sciences, and by politicians looking to justify spending tax dollars on basic science.


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The Map is Not the Territory*

Hans Christian von Baeyer

My uncle Karl had no sense of direction. Armed with an elaborate set of instructions and a street map of downtown Montreal, he would gamely set off on an errand, and we children would gleefully brace ourselves for the next development.


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Cosmic Evolution

Eric J. Chaisson

Simply defined, cosmic evolution is the study of change--the vast number of developmental and generative changes that have accumulated during all time and across all space, from big bang to humankind.