The profound unifying influence of geometrical ideas, the powerful formal similarities between statistical mechanics and quantum field theory, and the ubiquitous role A unified account of the principles of theoretical physics, A Unified Grand Tour of Theoretical Physics, Second Edition stresses the inter-relationships between areas that are usually treated as independent. The profound unifying influence of geometrical ideas, the powerful formal similarities between statistical mechanics and quantum field theory, and the ubiquitous role of symmetries in determining the essential structure of physical theories are emphasized throughout. This second edition conducts a grand tour of the fundamental theories that shape our modern understanding of the physical world. The book covers the central themes of space-time geometry and the general relativistic account of gravity, quantum mechanics and quantum field theory, gauge theories and the fundamental forces of nature, statistical mechanics, and the theory of phase transitions.
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It is brilliantly written and deserves a full recommendation. It not only conducts beginning students to several active frontiers of theoretical physics but even reveals aspects of an underlying conceptual and technical unity that can spur them into joining the quest.
Especially valuable is the unified treatment of statistical mechanics and quantum field theory. New to this edition is a welcome treatment of constrained Hamiltonian dynamics with a discussion of implications for loop quantum gravity. I know of no other text written at this introductory level that succeeds so admirably in offering a mathematically rigorous yet accessible hint of the marvels of space and time that researchers will encounter in the twenty-first century.
The treatment is concise yet complete, the style informal and readable but also technically detailed. Compared to textbooks at this level, it has the advantage that it presents a unified picture of the different areas by using a coherent approach and consistent notation, making frequent references across disciplines, and explicitly discussing conceptual aspects which emphasize the connections.
It goes beyond other overviews of theoretical physics at this level in that it provides the technical tools needed to understand the main ideas behind current research in gravitation and cosmology, quantum theory, particle physics and statistical mechanics. The third edition contains several new sections on topics that have become important in recent years, such as the Higgs boson, massive neutrinos, dark matter and dark energy, cosmological perturbations, and a whole new chapter on the promising theory known as loop quantum gravity.
I know I will keep a copy of this book within reach, and I can highly recommend it both for readers who need a detailed but quick introduction to an area, in particular if they are willing to spend the time to go over the end-of-chapter exercises, and for those who wish to develop a unified understanding of theoretical physics. In this new edition of his well-known textbook, familiar topics have been updated and augmented with extended discussions of the Higgs boson, neutrinos and the cosmic microwave background supplementing previously added sections on supersymmetry, string theory and quantum gravity, providing readers with the background to follow recent research in particle physics and string cosmology.
Written for graduate students and other physicists seeking an introduction to the fundamental ideas underlying unified theories, this is a valuable addition to the literature on modern theoretical physics.
If a person were to work through the entire book, he or she would gain an understanding of relativity, quantum theory, spacetime, tensors, gauge theories, field theory, and statistical mechanics. New to the second edition is material on string theory and supersymetry. It provides appropriate material to enable many of us to broaden our knowledge into areas that are only loosely related to our own specialties.
I can certainly recommend it, and I am sure I will regularly use it personally. The author should be congratulated on generally meeting the aims he set out to achieve
A Unified Grand Tour of Theoretical Physics