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Bankrupting Physics: How Today's Top…
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Bankrupting Physics: How Today's Top Scientists are Gambling Away Their… (edição: 2013)

de Alexander Unzicker, Sheilla Jones

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3410568,085 (3.42)5
"The recently celebrated discovery of the Higgs boson has captivated the public's imagination with the promise that it can explain the origins of everything in the universe. It's no wonder that the media refers to it grandly as the "God particle." Yet behind closed doors, physicists are admitting that there is much more to this story, and even years of gunning the Large Hadron Collider and herculean number crunching may still not lead to a deep understanding of the laws of nature. In this fascinating and eye-opening account, theoretical physicist Alexander Unzicker and science writer Sheilla Jones offer a polemic. They question whether the large-scale, multinational enterprises actually lead us to the promised land of understanding the universe. The two scientists take us on a tour of contemporary physics and show how a series of highly publicized theories met a dead end. Unzicker and Jones systematically unpack the recent hot theories such as "parallel universes," "string theory," and "inflationary cosmology," and provide an accessible explanation of each. They argue that physics has abandoned its evidence-based roots and shifted to untestable mathematical theories, and they issue a clarion call for the science to return to its experimental foundation. "--… (mais)
Membro:robrod1
Título:Bankrupting Physics: How Today's Top Scientists are Gambling Away Their Credibility
Autores:Alexander Unzicker
Outros autores:Sheilla Jones
Informação:Palgrave Macmillan (2013), Hardcover, 288 pages
Coleções:Sua biblioteca
Avaliação:****
Etiquetas:Science, Physics

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Bankrupting Physics: How Today's Top Scientists Are Gambling Away Their Credibility de Alexander Unzicker

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Mostrando 1-5 de 10 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
Esta resenha foi escrita no âmbito dos Primeiros Resenhistas do LibraryThing.
While the premise of the book sounded very interesting to me, the actual book left me annoyed to the point of not finishing it. I do agree that there are some problems with the way much of science is done today, so that in that respect I agree with the author. The problem I have is the author's continual suggestion that physics needs to return to its roots and do more science based on observation. While that is a noble suggestion, cosmology and string theory do not at this point in time lend themselves to observations. (Einstein's theory of relativity could not be confirmed with observations at the time it was accepted either.)

Both my husband and myself started this book with enthusiasm and both of us stopped reading it about a third of the way in. ( )
  LMHTWB | Feb 15, 2014 |
Esta resenha foi escrita no âmbito dos Primeiros Resenhistas do LibraryThing.
When I requested this book, I was expecting it to be about fraud in the scientific community, maybe with a few chapters about government investment in science (or the lack thereof), which is what's contributing to the bankrupting of physics.

Alas, how disappointed I am.

Unzicker certainly covers his version of fraud (that is, string theory, physicists who hold too strongly with the standard cosmological model, and virtually all theoretical physicists since Einstein—a group which I'm sure he excludes himself from) in one of the most vitriolic books I've had the misfortune to read.

The overall message is a good one: Be skeptical; we don't yet know everything there is to know about physics and the universe yet. But I would hope that that is mindnumbingly obvious for the informed casual reader (who I believe is the audience for this book, since I had to rely heavily on my physics classes to understand some of this book), much less for any physicists who might read this book. But who knows!

The writing, if you put the sarcastic tone of the book aside, is also a little odd. There are 21 relatively short chapters (with incendiary titles!) that are broken up into at least five shorter sections (also with incendiary headings!). These shorter sections seem to be very loosely connected to the one before it, but after conducting an experiment, I found that they're equally comprehensible if you read them backward, or out of order entirely. I do like modularity in my textbooks, but this is not a textbook.

The tone of the writing was almost too much to stand. I know academics get heated about the issues in their field, but I would hope that in a book for the general public (or any written piece at all), they would be able to do a better job of editing out their bitterness—or at least making it some form of tongue-in-cheek humor. This read more like a ranty blog post, which is not my favorite form of reading. Unzicker points out flaws in the system, which are indeed flaws, but suggests no solutions except for running experiments (vehemently NOT getting astronomical data from one of the data-dump sites—this too is unacceptable), which is not practical with the limits of today's technology. I think for now, the field of physics must content itself with informed conjecture, theorizing, and simulation until something better comes along, much as I'm sure it would upset Unzicker.

About halfway through, I decided I really couldn't stand the tone anymore and started skimming. With about fifty pages left, I found myself just waving my eyes over the words on the page. I think that's roughly the amount of attention this book deserves—more than that and you'll be needlessly upset. I'd also recommend not paying for this book—$28 is a tad steep, but free is the perfect pricetag.

I'm afraid his claims are not limited to physics, however—there's a sickening amount of peer pressure and publish/perish pressure in the rest of academia, too, and the rest of the sciences also need to remember to be skeptical. With Unzicker's prizing preciseness and an unchanging scientific world, I can only imagine he would have kittens if he were forced to do research in my fields.

TL;DR:
+1.5 stars for a book for the general reader on physics that warns you to take things with a grain of salt (which you should be doing anyway)

+0.5 stars for the occasional charmingly mistranslated idiom (which may disappear in the final version), such as "storm in a teacup" rather than "tempest in a teapot" ( )
1 vote raistlinsshadow | Jan 5, 2014 |
Esta resenha foi escrita no âmbito dos Primeiros Resenhistas do LibraryThing.
I found this book to be eye-opening. The most valuable lesson I learned, was to keep a skeptical opinion, at least until I have verified the facts. If they are part of the main stream in their field of study, it is even more important to review what the others are saying. I have become so use to trusting in science, that I accepted things I thought were incredible. These men and women are so learned that I was certain I could adequately analyse their theories. However, in the future I will try to read books both for and against an idea, so I can have a more balanced view of their theory. This book is an excellent reminder for all of us who read, to not to just accept what we read, but to keep a skeptical eye on what we have read. ( )
  robrod1 | Dec 27, 2013 |
Esta resenha foi escrita no âmbito dos Primeiros Resenhistas do LibraryThing.
"Science means, after all, not being a sucker." This epitaph could have been the opening statement on this haranguing of the state of modern physics. Author Andrew Unzicker lambasts many popular theories in an expose that details analytical laziness, abject popularisim at the expense of real results, to outright scientific fraud that is costing taxpayers millions in funding pointless research. Aside from the physicists themselves, Unzicker targets politics, the economics of physics, and the professional journals that aid and abet these scientific atrocities. Although he provides no comparison for his conclusion, he considers Physics the most corrupt of major branches of science.

Unzicker makes good points. Among his primary targets are quantum physics, dark matter and string theory. Mathematical gymnastics appear to be limber enough to "prove" an observed result, even if when the physics behind it lack demonstrative experimental proof. Math can prove that blue unicorns in the 6th dimension have profound influence on the fundamental building blocks of matter....and while one has never been observed, such theories gain legions of disciples when a Nobel Prize is awarded. The author exposes much of modern physics -- the stuff getting major funding -- is built upon such hokum. Time and again, for example, he points out results where the signal is much, much smaller than the persistent noise -- such as pulling a needle from a haystack of background radiation. The results, if honestly portrayed, could be "+/- 99%"

My world view is built upon science working on answering the eternal questions on how the universe came to be, and what might be its fate. This book is a reminder unfounded outcomes are as mock-worthy in science as they are in religion. Unzicker finds much similarity to religion when considering where the money is going in modern physics. He poses some suggestions on how to fix things, but at the moment, us skeptics should remain eternally vigilant. ( )
3 vote JeffV | Oct 6, 2013 |
Esta resenha foi escrita no âmbito dos Primeiros Resenhistas do LibraryThing.
A very difficult read for a non-scientific mind. My nearest approach to a physics classroom is my weekly viewing of CBS's :Big Bang Theory". While the concepts the text addresses are familiar ones to anyone who is present in everyday life, true understanding of this book's import is a tad bit more difficult. As the author frequently points out, BIG science is related to even bigger money, and not much, in physics, gets proven, due to this cost as well as time, however you measure it. This book is written for a VERY select audience, half of whom will probably disagree with it's (the book's) conclusions. I did not even sense them. Avoid this one unless you have a very serious interest in physics. This book is well written and well translated from the German, but it is intended solely for a argumentative physicist. ( )
  tommyarmour | Sep 25, 2013 |
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"The recently celebrated discovery of the Higgs boson has captivated the public's imagination with the promise that it can explain the origins of everything in the universe. It's no wonder that the media refers to it grandly as the "God particle." Yet behind closed doors, physicists are admitting that there is much more to this story, and even years of gunning the Large Hadron Collider and herculean number crunching may still not lead to a deep understanding of the laws of nature. In this fascinating and eye-opening account, theoretical physicist Alexander Unzicker and science writer Sheilla Jones offer a polemic. They question whether the large-scale, multinational enterprises actually lead us to the promised land of understanding the universe. The two scientists take us on a tour of contemporary physics and show how a series of highly publicized theories met a dead end. Unzicker and Jones systematically unpack the recent hot theories such as "parallel universes," "string theory," and "inflationary cosmology," and provide an accessible explanation of each. They argue that physics has abandoned its evidence-based roots and shifted to untestable mathematical theories, and they issue a clarion call for the science to return to its experimental foundation. "--

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