As most of you know by now, I’m working on my next book. While I haven’t come up with a particularly snappy title yet, the general theme will be symmetry, and how it gives rise to physical laws and how simple assumptions (that every particle of a given type is the same, for example) can give rise to some surprising results. I’m going to include a few of my more popular “Ask a Physicist” columns but for the most part, this will be in a similar tone, but largely new material.
Anyway, unlike with the User’s Guide, I decided to do an experiment. I won’t exactly post this in real time, but I did want to share some key points in the process with you guys, and if people had thoughts or ideas, or questions, I’d be able to incorporate them in the book.
So let’s start with my current draft of the table of contents. It looks long-ish, but the idea is to keep individual chapters short enough for people to digest the material in one sitting. Bold face indicates a particular symmetry to be discussed. I have subsections for these chapters, but I’m not prepared to reveal that much of my hand at this time. The idea is that, like the User’s Guide, each chapter and subchapter will have a question leading into it.
I’d love hearing any thoughts that people have. Feel free to email me or just post a comment below.
And of course, if you can’t wait the several years that it will take to finish writing and publish this (and I should point out that I haven’t yet tried to sell this to a publisher), I should remind you that I have another very excellent book available. You should read that in the meanwhile.
- If someone replaced you with an exact duplicate, would anyone notice?
- Why is it dark at night?
Isotropy of Space
- Can I build a shrink ray?
Scale Invariance (not a symmetry)
- Is antimatter really so dangerous?
- How do you identify a parallel universe evil twin?
- Does Entropy increase with time or does it make time?
Time Invariance (on a macro scale)
- Why are Past, Present, and Future our only Options?
Dimensionality of Spacetime
- Noether’s Theorem
- Galilean Relativity
- Special Relativity
- General Relativity
- The vacuum
- The Electroweak Model
- The Strong Force
- Some failed unification schemes
- Symmetry Breaking
- Supersymmetry (though this will likely span several chapters)
I’m looking forward to reading your comments.