Reddit Reddit reviews Deep Down Things: The Breathtaking Beauty of Particle Physics

We found 4 Reddit comments about Deep Down Things: The Breathtaking Beauty of Particle Physics. Here are the top ones, ranked by their Reddit score.

Science & Math
Deep Down Things: The Breathtaking Beauty of Particle Physics
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4 Reddit comments about Deep Down Things: The Breathtaking Beauty of Particle Physics:

u/Roki-B · 7 pointsr/astrophysics

Nope! All wrong! Not even close, but thats OK!

The book you're really looking for but didn't realize you wanted to read is Deep Down Things by Bruce A. Schumm. Goes into particle physics (including light but that's a simplification and you'll understand why when you read it) of all types and with excellent detail, aimed for the layperson with a basic foundation and sacrifices very little for the sake of explanation.

Light, particles, dark matter, higgs, all of it is in there. Go read it.

That being said, this is some off the wall shit man. Two points for creativity!

u/FunkyFortuneNone · 6 pointsr/quantum

Friend asked for a similar list a while ago and I put this together. Would love to see people thoughts/feedback.

Very High Level Introductions:

  • Mr. Tompkins in Paperback
    • A super fast read that spends less time looking at the "how" but focused instead on the ramifications and impacts. Covers both GR as well as QM but is very high level with both of them. Avoids getting into the details and explaining the why.

  • Einstein's Relativity and the Quantum Revolution (Great Courses lecture)
    • This is a great intro to the field of non-classical physics. This walks through GR and QM in a very approachable fashion. More "nuts and bolts" than Mr. Tompkins but longer/more detailed at the same time.

      Deeper Pop-sci Dives (probably in this order):

  • Quantum Theory: A Very Brief Introduction
    • Great introduction to QM. Doesn't really touch on QFT (which is a good thing at this point) and spends a great deal of time (compared to other texts) discussing the nature of QM interpretation and the challenges around that topic.
  • The Lightness of Being: Mass, Ether, and the Unification of Forces
    • Now we're starting to get into the good stuff. QFT begins to come to the forefront. This book starts to dive into explaining some of the macro elements we see as explained by QM forces. A large part of the book is spent on symmetries and where a proton/nucleon's gluon binding mass comes from (a.k.a. ~95% of the mass we personally experience).
  • The Higgs Boson and Beyond (Great Courses lecture)
    • Great lecture done by Sean Carroll around the time the Higgs boson's discovery was announced. It's a good combination of what role the Higgs plays in particle physics, why it's important and what's next. Also spends a little bit of time discussing how colliders like the LHC work.
  • Mysteries of Modern Physics: Time (Great Courses lecture)
    • Not really heavy on QM at all, however I think it does best to do this lecture after having a bit of the physics under your belt first. The odd nature of time symmetry in the fundamental forces and what that means with regards to our understanding of time as we experience it is more impactful with the additional knowledge (but, like I said, not absolutely required).
  • Deep Down Things: The Breathtaking Beauty of Particle Physics
    • This is not a mathematical approach like "A Most Incomprehensible Thing" are but it's subject matter is more advanced and the resulting math (at least) an order of magnitude harder (so it's a good thing it's skipped). This is a "high level deep dive" (whatever that means) into QFT though and so discussion of pure abstract math is a huge focus. Lie groups, spontaneous symmetry breaking, internal symmetry spaces etc. are covered.
  • The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory
    • This is your desert after working through everything above. Had to include something about string theory here. Not a technical book at all but best to be familiar with QM concepts before diving in.

      Blending the line between pop-sci and mathematical (these books are not meant to be read and put away but instead read, re-read and pondered):

  • A Most Incomprehensible Thing: Intro to GR
    • Sorry, this is GR specific and nothing to do with QM directly. However I think it's a great book acting as an introduction. Definitely don't go audible/kindle. Get the hard copy. Lots of equations. Tensor calculus, Lorentz transforms, Einstein field equations, etc. While it isn't a rigorous textbook it is, at it's core, a mathematics based description not analogies. Falls apart at the end, after all, it can't be rigorous and accessible at the same time, but still well worth the read.
  • The Theoretical Minimum: What You Need to Know to Start Doing Physics
    • Not QM at all. However it is a great introduction to using math as a tool for describing our reality and since it's using it to describe classical mechanics you get to employ all of your classical intuition that you've worked on your entire life. This means you can focus on the idea of using math as a descriptive tool and not as a tool to inform your intuition. Which then would lead us to...
  • Quantum Mechanics: The Theoretical Minimum
    • Great introduction that uses math in a descriptive way AND to inform our intuition.
  • The Road to Reality: A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe
    • Incredible book. I think the best way to describe this book is a massive guidebook. You probably won't be able to get through each of the topics based solely on the information presented in the book but the book gives you the tools and knowledge to ask the right questions (which, frankly, as anybody familiar with the topic knows, is actually the hardest part). You're going to be knocking your head against a brick wall plenty with this book. But that's ok, the feeling when the brick wall finally succumbs to your repeated headbutts makes it all worth while.
u/[deleted] · 1 pointr/berkeley

If you didn't already know something about particle physics, you probably won't have learned anything from this talk. This will give you some idea on what it's about, but you really can't understand it without math.

u/proffrobot · 1 pointr/AskPhysics

It's great that you want to study particle physics and String Theory! It's a really interesting subject. Getting a degree in physics can often make you a useful person so long as you make sure you get some transferable skills (like programming and whatnot). I'll reiterate the standard advice for going further in physics, and in particular in theoretical physics, in the hope that you will take it to heart. Only go into theoretical physics if you really enjoy it. Do it for no other reason. If you want to become a professor, there are other areas of physics which are far easier to accomplish that in. If you want to be famous, become an actor or a writer or go into science communication and become the new Bill Nye. I'm not saying the only reason to do it is if you're obsessed with it, but you've got to really enjoy it and find it fulfilling for it's own sake as the likelihood of becoming a professor in it is so slim. Then, if your academic dreams don't work out, you won't regret the time you spent, and you'll always have the drive to keep learning and doing more, whatever happens to you academically.

With that out of the way, the biggest chunk of learning you'll do as a theorist is math. A decent book (which I used in my undergraduate degree) which covers the majority of the math you need to understand basic physics, e.g. Classical Mechanics, Quantum Mechanics, Special Relativity, Thermodynamics, Statistical Mechanics and Electromagnetism. Is this guy: Maths It's not a textbook you can read cover to cover, but it's a really good reference, and undoubtably, should you go and do a physics degree, you'll end up owning something like it. If you like maths now and want to learn more of it, then it's a good book to do it with.

The rest of the books I'll recommend to you have a minimal number of equations, but explain a lot of concepts and other interesting goodies. To really understand the subjects you need textbooks, but you need the math to understand them first and it's unlikely you're there yet. If you want textbook suggestions let me know, but if you haven't read the books below they're good anyway.

First, particle physics. This book Deep Down Things is a really great book about the history and ideas behind modern particles physics and the standard model. I can't recommend it enough.

Next, General Relativity. If you're interested in String Theory you're going to need to become an expert in General Relativity. This book: General Relativity from A to B explains the ideas behind GR without a lot of math, but it does so in a precise way. It's a really good book.

Next, Quantum Mechanics. This book: In Search of Schrodinger's Cat is a great introduction to the people and ideas of Quantum Mechanics. I like it a lot.

For general physics knowledge. Lots of people really like the
Feynman Lectures They cover everything and so have quite a bit of math in them. As a taster you can get a couple of books: Six Easy Pieces and Six Not So Easy Pieces, though the not so easy pieces are a bit more mathematically minded.

Now I'll take the opportunity to recommend my own pet favourite book. The Road to Reality. Roger Penrose wrote this to prove that anyone could understand all of theoretical physics, as such it's one of the hardest books you can read, but it is fascinating and tells you about concepts all the way up to String Theory. If you've got time to think and work on the exercises I found it well worth the time. All the math that's needed is explained in the book, which is good, but it's certainly not easy!

Lastly, for understanding more of the ideas which underlie theoretical physics, this is a good book: Philsophy of Physics: Space and Time It's not the best, but the ideas behind theoretical physics thought are important and this is an interesting and subtle book. I'd put it last on the reading list though.

Anyway, I hope that helps, keep learning about physics and asking questions! If there's anything else you want to know, feel free to ask.