Knocking on Heaven’s Door

From Ellen Druda
Author:  Lisa Randall
Knocking on Heaven’s Door
We are getting closer and closer to understanding the true scientific nature of the universe,yet there are still many mysteries waiting to be explained. Physicist Lisa Randall describes the latest new particles discovered in the Standard Model, takes us on a detailed tour of the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva,talks about advances in cosmology and warped space, discusses string theory and branes,and wraps them all up together with wonderful insights into the nature of science, beauty, and spirit. Randall is equally at home expounding on the new physics as she is dealing with the human quest for meaning in life.

Black Bodies and Quantum Cats

From Ellen Druda
author: Ouellette, Jennifer
Black Bodies and Quantum Cats
A collection of columns written for the monthly American Physics Society News, Ouellette has traced the history of physics from Da Vinci to string theory, spiced up with contemporary references and human analogies. Non-science majors and physics-phobes can understand and even enjoy how this field of “natural philosophy” affects our place in the world and the universe.

Art and Physics

From Ellen Druda:

Art & Physics, by Leonard Shlain

I heard about the author after his recent death on a BoingBoing blog post, and decided to give him a try.  I wasn’t disappointed.  Shlain spends most of the book supporting his thesis about artists expressing ideas about light, space, and time years before the physicists express the same ideas using science and math.  He takes us from the Greeks and Romans up through the 20th century, carefully paralleling the movements in painting and sculpture with the discoveries of Newton, Einstein, and beyond.  Because the author was so well versed in art, he was able to explain some of the more intangible ideas in physics in terms that were a bit easier to picture.  What does the world look like when you travel at the speed of light?  Now I know.

What I loved about this book was the way it stretched my mind trying to grasp the connections, and the theories about the collective mind Shlain puts forth at the end of the book.  A brave and brilliant work.