This 18 chapter book is designed for a one-term course for non-science majors.
By introducing modern physics early and emphasizing physics in society, Art Hobson makes this material relevant and interesting to students.
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What is the connection between this painting and physics?
In Marcel Duchamp’s 1912 painting, we view a woman at several times during her descent of a staircase, very much like Einstein’s spacetime diagrams. The woman’s features are uncertain, abstract, like a blurred photographic time exposure of a moving figure.
Historians believe it was no coincidence that abstract art and modern physics both originated during 1900- 1914. Early 20th century cubist painters such as Duchamp and Pablo Picasso experienced the same currents of thought that influenced the theory of relativity and the origins of quantum physics. Albert Einstein’s unification of space and time into a single abstract “spacetime” with time as the fourth dimension was similar to Picasso’s and Duchamp’s portrayal of reality as abstract volumes or “cubes” viewed from several perspectives and times simultaneously.
Such connections between art and science shouldn’t be viewed from a causal perspective. It’s not as though Duchamp decided to inject relativity or quantum physics into his paintings. Instead, new ideas about space, time, and determinism were in the air, and perspective people such as Einstein, Picasso, and Duchamp reflected these ideas in their own creations.
What professors are saying:
“This is close to ideal for true liberal arts students, especially those who want to make the world better, or at least resist unhealthy trends, and who want to argue about the things they care about. The author has a passion for relevance and environmental issues.”
-Doanld Franceshetti, University of Memphis
“Hobson’s textbook is both well named and well constructed. Its coverage of modern physics presents a conceptual grasp of some of the most exciting developments in the physics of our day.”
-Leon M. Lederman, Pritzker Professor of Science, IIT (Illinois Institute of Technology); Resident Scholar, IMSA (Illinois Math and Science Academy); Director Emeritus, Fermilab; and Nobel Laureate Physics, 1988.
“Its an excellent introduction at a conceptual level to some of the basic principles of physics. He does an excellent job of developing his themes of the scientific process, the social context of physics, energy, and the significance of post-Newtonian physics.”
-Louis Schwartzkopf , Minnesota State University
“It has the best (and the most modern) discussion of quantum mechanics that I’ve ever seen-much clearer than some of the famous writers.”
- Marc Sher, William and Mary
“When I examined the first edition of Hobson’s Physics Concepts and Connections, I thought that it was the best of many physics texts for non-scientist that I had seen, and the later editions have further improvements over the first. He presents a remarkably comprehensive survey of the physical world with lucidity, accuracy, and- above all- fascination. Hobson unforgettably reminds his readers of the social implications of physics and the inseparability of knowledge and values.”
- Abner Shimon, Boston UniversityAbout the Author:
Art Hobson started life in Philadelphia in 1934. His family moved to Manhattan, Kansas, in 1946, where he developed a passion for the trombone and jazz. He received a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of North Texas in Denton in 1955, was drafted and served in U.S. Army bands and the Seventh Army Symphony Orchestra in Europe during 1955-57, and then spent many months in New York City looking for steady employment as a musician. He soon decided that it might be better to switch to a different field.
As a believer in the unity of art and science, Art found it congenial to move from music to physics. In 1964 he received his Ph.D. in theoretical physics from Kansas State University and joined the physics faculty at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, where he remains. His publications include Concepts in Statistical Mechanics (a research monograph), Physics and Human Affairs (an earlier textbook), The Future of Land-Based Strategic Missiles (an arms control study by a team of physicists, co-authored and co-edited by Art), and numerous papers on theoretical physics, the control and reduction of nuclear weapons, and physics education. He served for nine years as editor of the quarterly newsletter Physics and Society and was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 1992 "for numerous contributions in the area of physics and society."
In 1975, Art developed a new kind of physics course for nonscientists, one that connected physics to our society and culture. The course grew in size and popularity, and in 1989 he received the College of Arts and Science's Master Teacher Award for this achievement. This book is an outgrowth of that course.
The previous two editions of this book were dedicated to Art's two children, whom he raised as a single father. He is delighted to have married Marie Riley, to whom this edition is dedicated, in 1997. Although he retired in 1999, he still pedals his bicycle to the university every day and is as over-involved as ever. He and Marie love to travel and often combine business trips to foreign lands with vacations. His latest hobby is learning German. He loves skiing, the theater, concerts, the beach, reading, writing, and bicycling. Although he's lost his trombone "chops," he values his arts background, remains an avid lover of jazz, and even pounds out an occasional tune on the piano.
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