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Smolin and Woit both top physics bestsellers (US and UK)

  1. Oct 7, 2006 #1

    marcus

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    Smolin's book has been top physics bestseller for several weeks in the US.
    By a nice coincidence, Woit's book is also currently top physics bestseller, in the UK.

    For instance, as of this morning 8 AM pacific Saturday 7 October the US amazon all-physics list
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/bestsellers/books/14545/ref=pd_ts_b_ldr/102-1454980-4598542


    1. The Trouble With Physics: The Rise of String Theory, the Fall of a Science, and What Comes Next
    by Lee Smolin #241

    2. This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession
    by Daniel J. Levitin #542

    3. The Field: The Quest for the Secret Force of the Universe
    by Lynne McTaggart #661

    4. A Brief History of Time
    by Stephen Hawking #931

    5. Physics For Dummies (For Dummies (Math & Science))
    by Steve Holzner #1027

    6. The Road to Reality : A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe #1152
    by Roger Penrose

    7. The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory
    by Brian Greene #1170

    The sales rank has been included---e.g. Brian Greene's book is #1170 among all books sold at US amazon.
    ======================
    the UK amazon physics bestseller list as of same time, 8AM pacific
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/bestsellers/books/278409/ref=pd_ts_b_nav/026-8303087-5718006

    1. Not Even Wrong: The Failure of String Theory and the Continuing Challenge to Unify the Laws of Physics
    by Peter Woit #818

    2. Advanced Physics
    by Steve Adams #1030

    3. The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time and the Texture of Reality (Penguin paperback)
    by Brian Greene #1130

    4. Physics (Revise AS & A2) #1419

    5. Fundamentals of the Physical Environment
    by Peter Smithson #1484

    6. University Physics with Modern Physics with Mastering Physics
    by Francis W. Sears #1908

    7. The Last Man Who Knew Everything: Thomas Young, the Anonymous Polymath Who Proved Newton Wrong, Explained How We See, Cured the Sick and Deciphered the Rosetta Stone
    by Andrew Robinson #2501

    8. The Science of Discworld
    by Terry Pratchett #2594

    I've included the UK amazon sales rank.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2006
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  3. Oct 7, 2006 #2

    marcus

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    before yesterday, Woit's book was a top UK amazon bestseller in a narrower category---"particle physics".

    for some reason its standing shot up dramatically over the past week.
    the first time I saw it at the top in the broad category of all physics books was yesterday. It is anybody's guess how long the book will remain as the top physics bestseller in UK

    ===================

    Smolin's book first showed up at the top of the narrow category "general physics" list on 30 August, and has remained there

    It moved up in the broad category of all physics books during the first couple of weeks in September---becoming the US amazon top physics best seller sometime around 15 September.

    Again, it is anybody's guess how long Smolin's book will stay #1 physics bestseller. As of now, judging by the salesrank, it looks fairly well established in that spot.
     
  4. Oct 7, 2006 #3

    arivero

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    So it seems that the reports in Nature are an incentive to buy.
     
  5. Oct 7, 2006 #4

    marcus

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    I suspect you are right. The sharp rise in UK sales of Woit's book may have been helped by the articles in 4 October issue of Nature.
    The first time I saw NEW the #1 physics bestseller was 6 October, two days after that issue of Nature. for a while that day it had salesrank 662.
    I just checked again as of 10 PM today and Woit's book was #1 in UK amazon physics category---and overall sales rank 940.

    It was not doing badly before but it is doing much better since Nature came out.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2006
  6. Oct 8, 2006 #5

    Chronos

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    I'm a bit behind times; still reading Penrose. It is, however, refreshing to see new ideas gaining momentum with the unwashed masses.
     
  7. Oct 8, 2006 #6

    marcus

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    you know it really is!
    refreshing, I mean.

    BTW Smolin's book seems to have sold out at amazon. It is no longer "In Stock"

    most books they sell are listed as "in stock", and this book was listed that way from mid-September (or earlier) until today.

    Now it is listed "usually takes 7-14 days"
    which I guess means that they ship as soon as they get some more in, and orders have backlogged.

    I would advise anyone who intends to read the book to order it now---it is possible that the first printing will sell out at Houghton-Mifflin, and the publisher will have to schedule another printing.

    Demand for the book has been way out of proportion with what, in my judgment, one could reasonably have expected.
    ===============

    another thing that may interest you, Chronos, or some others here:

    this Wednesday 11 October (2 PM central) Smolin is giving a seminar at Perimeter, on a topic TBA.

    My guess is that they will post video of this seminar. they don't do that with all of them, but it would make sense in this case.

    E.g. they posted video of a seminar talk that Martin Bojowald gave just a few weeks ago, so why wouldn't they put Smolin's on line too?

    I wonder what he will talk about.
    It could be about PRE-QUANTUM theory based on (not-hidden-but) distant variables.
    there was this recent paper where he was saying that QM is a wrong, merely effective, theory because you imagine isolating one part of the universe from the rest, and that is where the uncertainty comes from, and QM is just an approximation to the more fundamental theory which is a theory of the WHOLE UNIVERSE

    including points which are actually adjacent and feel each other even though they may be several billion LY apart in the "emergent" metric.

    this is the "disordered locality" idea which arises naturally from the expansion of a spin network state. it is an extremely high-risk idea. good thing about Smolin is that he will explore even very high risk ideas where some would chicken out.

    and he generally goes for falsifiability, so if it is wrong you can tell before very long, it will let you know. Anyway he might talk about that.

    Or he might talk about spin network contacting matter by way of that braiding business. those models will also self-destruct if the predict the wrong particles. we should be hearing some more about them, one way or the other.

    either way, could be an exciting talk.
     
  8. Oct 9, 2006 #7

    marcus

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    I've checked standings several times in the past couple of days and have observed differences in behavior. The Smolin book has been steady #1 physics bestseller at US amazon. The Woit book has BOUNCED AROUND some on the UK amazon physics list, but is currently also #1.

    Here is the UK amazon physics bestseller list as of 11:00 AM pacific, Monday 9 October.


    1. Not Even Wrong: The Failure of String Theory and the Continuing Challenge to Unify the Laws of Physics
    by Peter Woit (sales rank #616)

    2. The Mind of God: Science and the Search for Ultimate Meaning (Penguin Press Science S.)
    by P.C.W. Davies (#1153)

    3. The Illustrated Brief History of Time
    by S.W. Hawking (#1154)

    4. GCSE Double Science: Physics Revision Guide - Higher Pt. 1 & 2
    by Richard Parsons (#1263)

    5. Mastering Audio: The Art and the Science
    by Bob Katz (#1814)

    6. Electronics for Today and Tomorrow Electronics for Today and Tomorrow
    by Tom Duncan (#2312)

    7. A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes
    by Stephen Hawking (#2418)

    8. The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time and the Texture of Reality (Penguin Press Science S.)
    by Brian Greene (#2928)

    Here's the link:
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/bestsellers/books/278409/ref=pd_ts_b_nav/026-8303087-5718006
    note the breadth of category---pop phys, electronics, audio, exam review (Brits call it "revision"), penguin science paperback editions of Brian Greene. it amazes me that Woit's book can make headway against such broad popular competition. yeah. like a cheap paperback edition of "The Mind of God"? which just came out on the market at end September and is half the price of Woit's book? how can Woit's rather learnéd book outsell The Mind of God? Something's going on that I don't quite fathom.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2006
  9. Oct 11, 2006 #8

    marcus

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    On Wednesday morning, I checked UK amazon and Woit's book was 7th place in physics bestsellers, suggesting (to me) that it had a brief time in the sun because of the reviews (especially in Nature magazine) which could now be over.

    Smolin's book is still #1 on US amazon physics bestsellers where it has been whenever I looked for about a month---since around 15 September.
    It is a relatively steady market favorite.

    Anyway, to report on Woit's book, as of 8 AM pacific Wednesday 11 october, it was 7th on the UK amazon physics bestseller list.

    ======EDIT on Thursday morning====

    Yesterday the book was bouncing around in the range 5-15 and I was no longer expecting it to return to first place. the all-physics category is a broad one with lots of competition. but I happened just now to look and the book was NUMBER ONE again. This is the UK amazon physics bestseller list as of 4:05 AM pacific thursday 12 october.


    1. Not Even Wrong: The Failure of String Theory and the Continuing Challenge to Unify the Laws of Physics
    by Peter Woit

    2. The Mind of God: Science and the Search for Ultimate Meaning (Penguin Press Science S.)
    by P.C.W. Davies

    3. GCSE Double Science: Physics Revision Guide - Higher Pt. 1 & 2
    by Richard Parsons

    4. Electrical Installation Calculations: v. 1
    by A.J. Watkins

    5. The Illustrated Brief History of Time
    by S.W. Hawking

    6. Earth: Portrait of a Planet
    by Stephen Marshak

    7. Wiring Systems and Fault Finding: For Installation Electricians
    by Brian Scaddan

    8. The Art of Electronics
    by Paul Horowitz

    9. University Physics with Modern Physics with Mastering Physics (International Edition)
    by Francis W. Sears

    10. The Self-Aware Universe: How Consciousness Creates the Material World
    by Amit Goswami

    11. The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time and the Texture of Reality (Penguin Press Science S.)
    by Brian Greene
    =================
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2006
  10. Oct 13, 2006 #9

    marcus

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    this morning when I looked, I didn't see Peter Woit's book on the UK amazon physics list. (only glanced at the first page of the list) I suppose its glory days of bestsellerdom are over, at least for now, in the UK.

    Smolin's book has not budged from first place, on the US amazon physics list, for about a month. Its lead over the runnerup (a MUSIC SCIENCE book called "Your Brain on Music") has declined some lately so it could be on the downside of its sales arc. Smolin is no longer out on the road promoting so that would make sense. So far it has sold amazingly well.

    here is the US physics bestseller list as of 9AM pacific friday morning

    1. The Trouble With Physics: The Rise of String Theory, the Fall of a Science, and What Comes Next
    by Lee Smolin

    2. This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession
    by Daniel J. Levitin

    3. A Brief History of Time
    by Stephen Hawking

    4. Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! (Adventures of a Curious Character)
    by Richard P. Feynman

    5. The Field: The Quest for the Secret Force of the Universe
    by Lynne McTaggart

    6. Not Even Wrong: The Failure of String Theory And the Search for Unity in Physical Law
    by Peter Woit

    7. The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory
    by Brian Greene

    8. The Road to Reality : A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe
    by Roger Penrose
     
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