Friday, March 02, 2007

This and That

11 comments:

Cynthia said...

This picture vaguely reminds me of the book jacket for "QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter"--minus that rather ominous looking hand, of course. Gotta say, that hand is far too anthropic for my taste!;)

Anyways, this Feynman classic is perhaps the closest thing I'll even experience regarding the comprehension of QED, not to mention the essence of Feynman...

Bee said...

Hi Cynthia,

I vaguely recall Feynman's book. Our physics teacher in high school had us read it, and it founded my disliking of everything that's quantized ;-) But more seriously, I really didn't like the book, because it has this undertone that tells you: 'all this is completely trivial and easy to understand, see: you just have to draw some arrows and add them up.' but this leaves completely out the really important questions. (In addition, it makes you feel utterly stupid, if you still don't understand it.)

Unfortunately, I can't recommend a better book. I really like Zee's 'QFT in a Nutshell', but I guess the scope of that book goes beyond what you're looking for? I also like the intro in Peter Woit's book, but that's probably a bit too short.

Anyway, what I meant to say, if you find Feynman's book inaccessible, don't blame yourself.

Regarding the photo. Yeah, the hand isn't exactly the prettiest, but it gives the photo kind of a kick, no? Without it, it had been just another soap film picture. I'd probably have chosen a nose sticking out ;-)

CarlBrannen said...

That book by Feynman will tell you more about the spirit of QM than a lot of undergraduate educations in physics.

By the way, I'm fairly stupid and still haven't figured out how to get the degree sign. I know that there is a way of typing the unicode symbols but I'm enough of a white bread computer user that I don't have to do it.

Cynthia said...

Bee, thanks for the info on Zee! In all honesty though, this isn't the first time I've heard that "QFT in a Nutshell" stands-out above all the rest, so to speak.

So a short while ago, I did a quick scan of the book and determined that it's way over my head. However, as a nice consolation prize to myself, I did read one of his light-weights: "Gravity at Work and Play". This book covers Newtonian and Einstein's gravity remarkably well, but falls short of addressing quantum gravity. But then, this book was written prior to both The Holographic Principle and Maldacena Duality taking hold in pop-sci.

Anyways, A. Zee is a most brilliant writer with a really cool name to boot.:)

Enjoy the weekend!
Cynthia

Cynthia said...

From the looks of things, the front cover of Feynman's mini-QED appears to be an image of light reflecting off oily gross water. Whereas, this picture on the post is an image of light reflecting off soft, soapy water. Admittedly, I much prefer this image of a lovely, delicate soap bubble rather than one of a nasty, slimy oil slick--anytime, any place...

Bee, I'm a bit uncertain as to how a masculine hand (instead of a feminine one) is less anthropic in nature. On second thought though, substituting a manly kinda hand with a lady's hand might do the trick. After all, long, slender fingers including a luxurious set of nails is a good way to reduce God's presence in the Universe, I reckon.;) But then again, for entertainment value, I like your idea of putting a nose in the photo the best!

Bee said...

By the way, I'm fairly stupid and still haven't figured out how to get the degree sign.

Ah, sorry, the code above was for HTML. You can try it here in the comments. Just copy what I've written:

°

Bee said...

ah, should have mentioned, you can use the ASCII code to type the symbol on your keyboard. if you have, turn on num-lock, press ALT and type 0176 on the right side numeric keyboard. If you don't have a num-lock key or the extra keys on the right (my laptop doesn't have), you probably have something like a 2nd function option (on my keyboard it's a blue button labeled 'FN'), and the keys are somewhere else (on my keyboard 0-1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9 is FN plus m-j-k-l-u-i-o-7-8-9-0).

Now lets try if that works indeed:

°

VOILA!!

Anyway. This is obviously a procedure I'm not willing to undergo for every stupid ä in an email.

The most easiest way to get all the funny symbols is actually to find them somewhere and just use copy and paste.

Best,

B.

Arun said...

Dear Bee,
I keep this page bookmarked:
http://htmlhelp.com/reference/html40/entities/latin1.html

At least your webpages and HTML email will be fine.

-Arun

Bee said...

Hi Arun,

thanks, that is nice. It's not that I don't know how to type all these symbols, I'm just too lazy for it. My attitude towards language is it's supposed to communicate information. If it fulfils this purpose, I don't care about the details. As you can guess, my teachers didn't like my attitude at all ;-). But seriously, the typical German nitpicking around grammar rules imho in most cases doesn't change anything about the information content. English is much more flexible. And honestly, who cares if I write light or lite, as long as it's clear what I mean?

Best,

B.

CarlBrannen said...

Hmmm. Well I don't have a numlock keypad. I tried various things with the F2 function key, and I do have a mysterious purple key Fn, that seems to have something to do with a pattern of buttons in the shape of a number keypad 0-9 and all that, but the only thing fiddling with all this did was to make the computer ask me if I wanted to change my home page. And I guess I got a little older and stupider.

Bee said...

see ... this is exactly why I think it's not worth the effort. There are better ways to get old and stupid ;-) E.g. by reading other people's blogs.