Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Smolin's new book is number 2 bestseller, behind a textbook

  1. Aug 30, 2006 #1

    marcus

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    2015 Award
    Dearly Missed

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/bestsellers/books/14560/ref=pd_ts_b_nav/102-4540543-7840144

    The number one bestseller, in the "general physics" listing, is Douglas Giancoli's college physics textbook.

    Smolin's The Trouble with Physics comes right after, so if we are talking about books for general audience, anything that is not a textbook, Smolin's IS the number 1 bestseller on amazon at the moment.

    It has been that way for some 3 hours, that I've noticed.
    the time is 1:30 PM pacific here.


    Peter Woit's book comes close after and then things like Brian Greene "Elegant" and Lisa Randall "Warped" and Penrose "Road" etc.

    cant expect it to last so good----Smolin's book is not even actually available, people are advance ordering it.
    list changes every hour but the #2 ranking has been steady for a while.

    I'm surprised at its popularity. Neat!
    BTW A noted member of the Harvard physics faculty has contributed an "I hate this book" review----says it is "anti-science":smile:
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 30, 2006 #2

    marcus

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    2015 Award
    Dearly Missed

  4. Aug 30, 2006 #3

    marcus

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    2015 Award
    Dearly Missed

    Smolin interview in Wired

    Wired magazine just did an interview with Smolin

    http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/14.09/stringtheory.html

    It is in their September 2006 issue. The title is "Physics Wars":smile:
     
  5. Aug 30, 2006 #4

    marcus

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    2015 Award
    Dearly Missed

    Smolin's book is now NUMBER ONE on amazon general physics bestseller list!

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/bestsellers/books/14560/ref=pd_ts_b_nav/102-4540543-7840144

    as of 5:40 PM pacific Wednesday 30 August

    crazy:bugeye: wonderful
    I never expected this

    the rankings change every hour so there's no telling how long this will last.

    woooo
    and today early morning they posted a scurrilous two-star review:confused: do bad reviews from Harvard faculty HELP a book?

    and the book is not even AVAILABLE FOR SHIPPING yet, he is topping the list just on advance orders alone. I'm impressed.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2006
  6. Aug 30, 2006 #5
    Excuse me to break this conversation :biggrin: I do not know if it is the right place to post this, but here I go :

    In september 2005, I heard for the first time the name of Lee Smolin at the television, Smolin's portrait. It was wonderful! I do not have the knowledge to confront LQG, but this theory seems so interesting. And, fortunately, this forum seems to like Smolin pretty much :biggrin: So, here my question : which would be the book written by Smolin that I should buy? Three Roads to Quantum Gravity (it is the one I hear the most).

    So, again, excuse me to break this post... If it is not the better place for this message...

    Thanks
     
  7. Aug 30, 2006 #6

    marcus

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    2015 Award
    Dearly Missed

    Zeit, your question is a very welcome one. I know his work only through his scientific papers, so I have no first-hand evaluation of the book. I have been told it is a very good one.
    Several people who have read it have recommended "Three Roads to Quantum Gravity".
     
  8. Aug 31, 2006 #7

    Chronos

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    2015 Award

    I am very attached to Penrose's book. He has profound insights and a delightfully patient and constructive way of explaining his reasoning [which might explain why Hawking was drawn to collaborate with the man]. But, I can't wait to see what Smolin has to say. I'm only surprised he would knowingly contribute to an article entitled 'Physics Wars'. I think that was an ambush. He has always been fair toward all camps, IMO.
     
  9. Aug 31, 2006 #8

    marcus

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    2015 Award
    Dearly Missed

    that's it! Journalists do ambush you. they must do it because their drive for pizazz, like some overdeveloped adolescent energy, overcomes all other considerations---they feel they have to grab the attention of people in the waiting room at the dentist office or wherever. So I guess he echoed "Star Wars" name.

    Smolin, by contrast, has been bending over backwards to express admiration and appreciation for string theory and theorists---you probably heard his co-interview with Brian Greene on PBS radio.
    He was going on about how beautiful and remarkable, and trying to make the point that he has a different message, about how research is conducted---what science needs to do to stay healthy.

    He made the same point in Bee Hossenfelder's interview at her blog, saying explicitly that the book was not primarily intended as a critique of string theory!

    I gather several people have jumped to the conclusion that the message of Smolin's book is the same as, for example, Woit's book---and that of the reviews of Not Even Wrong that have appeared in the London and New York press.

    Personally I'm going to wait and read the book before judging what it's about. So far I think Bee Hossenfelder's review of it is probably the best indication---taken with Smolin's "No New Einstein" essay in Physics Today. And from those clues about all I can tell for sure is that the message is DIFFERENT from what the public has been getting from a previous wave of popularizations (Kaku, Hawking, Greene, Susskind...) of fundamental physics thought.
     
  10. Aug 31, 2006 #9

    marcus

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    2015 Award
    Dearly Missed

    Last edited: Aug 31, 2006
  11. Aug 31, 2006 #10
    Thanks for the recommendation. I know my next purchase :biggrin:
     
  12. Aug 31, 2006 #11

    marcus

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    2015 Award
    Dearly Missed

    BTW here is a list of technical articles by Smolin that you can download free (links to PDF files) if you ever want to

    http://arxiv.org/find/grp_physics/1/au:+Smolin_L/0/1/0/all/0/1

    I always click on the "abs" link first, to get the "abstract" which is a short summary---it helps decide whether one wants to go ahead and view the article.

    there is also several hours video of Smolin lecturing that one can download for free here

    http://streamer.perimeterinstitute.ca:81/mediasite/viewer/FrontEnd/Front.aspx?&shouldResize=False

    I don't recommend it because a lot is hard to understand. It is him giving blackboard lectures about QG. But if you ever want to find it you go there, and scroll down to INTRODUCTION TO QUANTUM GRAVITY on the menu at the left. Those lectures are really for graduate students who already did a physics major in college. they are free but they can be frustrating.

    I dont know the "3 Roads" book firsthand, but I suspect that it might be the best introduction of all.
     
  13. Aug 31, 2006 #12
    :confused:
    I think that some further pre-requisites are necessary. To really gain a good understanding of the lectures, it is essential to read (and work) at least the following books:

    - Gauge Fields, Knots, and Gravity (Baez and Muniain)
    - Quantization of Gauge Systems (Henneaux and Teitelboim)
    - General Relativity (Wald)

    I was an astronomy major (and astrophysics graduate student), so my background is stronger in GR. But I don't think those materials are usually covered in a physics major course, except if you work them in some elective discipline. How is it in the US?

    Christine
     
  14. Aug 31, 2006 #13

    marcus

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    2015 Award
    Dearly Missed

    your point is excellent. I should have been more complete. Smolin's "Intro" course could require more than I indicated. More than a physics major. The Gen Rel might have been covered but the Baezonomy and Teitelboimics would probably not have been, even if you went to Harvard.
     
  15. Aug 31, 2006 #14
    Thanks, Marcus! For some reason I feel much better now. :approve:

    Cheers,

    Christine
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?



Similar Discussions: Smolin's new book is number 2 bestseller, behind a textbook
Loading...