Order from force [electronic resource] : a natural history of the vacuum / Jeffrey H. Williams.

Williams, Jeffrey H. (Jeffrey Huw), 1956- author.
San Rafael [California] : Morgan & Claypool Publishers, [2015]
1 online resource (various pagings) : illustrations (some color)
IOP (Series). Release 2.
IOP concise physics
[IOP release 2]
IOP concise physics, 2053-2571
Bristol [England] : IOP Publishing, [2015]

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Other Title:
Natural history of the vacuum
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Jeffrey H. Williams: My career has been in the physical sciences after obtaining a PhD in chemical physics from Cambridge University, 1981. Firstly, as a research scientist in the universities of Cambridge, Oxford, Harvard and Illinois, and subsequently as a physicist at the Institute Laue-Langevin, France; the world's largest facility for the investigation of condensed matter science via the technique of neutron scattering. During this period as a research scientist, I published more than 60 technical papers and invited review articles in the peer-reviewed literature. I left research in 1992 and moved to the world of science publishing and the communication of science by becoming the European editor for the physical sciences for the AAAS's Science. Subsequently, I was the Assistant Executive Secretary of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, the agency responsible for the advancement of chemistry through international collaboration. Most recently, 2003-2008, I was the head of publications at the Bureau International des Poids et Mesures (BIPM), Sevres. The BIPM is charged by the Metre Convention of 1875 with ensuring world-wide uniformity of measurements and their traceability to the International System of Units (SI). It was during these years at the BIPM that I became interested in, and familiar with, the origin of the Metric System, its subsequent evolution into the SI, and the coming transformation into the Quantum-SI. At the BIPM, I was the editor of their journal Metrologia, the leading technical publication for research on all matters related to weights and measures (published by IOP on behalf of the BIPM). I was also responsible for editing the English and French texts (the French being the official text) of all BIPM's publications; this included the SI Brochure, the BIPM's flagship publication about the SI, which is written by the BIPM's Consultative Committee on Units. Apart from my technical publications and my editorial experience at peer-review journals and magazines, I have written widely about science, technology, the impact of science on society and the individual for general-interest magazines such as New Scientist and for more specialized magazines (Chemistry in Britain, Physics Today, Chemical & Engineering News, Physics World and Chemistry and Industry).
The present theme concerns the forces of nature, and what investigations of these forces can tell us about the world we see about us. The story of these forces is long and complex, and contains many episodes that are not atypical of the bulk of scientific research, which could have achieved greater acclaim 'if only ...'. The intention of this book is to introduce ideas of how the visible world, and those parts of it that we cannot observe, either because they are too small or too large for our scale of perception, can be understood by consideration of only a few fundamental forces. The subject in these pages will be the authority of the commonly termed, laws of physics, which arise from the forces of nature, and the corresponding constants of nature (for example, the speed of light, c, the charge of the electron, e, or the mass of the electron, me). The laws of physics govern our lives, and the constants of nature define our very morphology. The precise distances and orientations between the molecules of which our bodies are composed are determined by subtle intermolecular electromagnetic forces, whose magnitude is determined by the various constants of nature, and whose operation is dictated by the laws of physics. We are merely living representations of these immutable physical laws.
Author biography
1. Science, science fiction and science fantasy
1.1. Setting the scene
1.2. How should we look at nature? Asking the right question
1.3. The innocence of youth
2. Complexity
3. Materialism : what is there between atoms and molecules?
3.1. Introduction
3.2. Solid objects are mostly empty space
3.3. The scale of nothing : what and where is the hard-stuff?
4. What exactly is the vacuum? The static or classical interpretation
4.1. Introduction
4.2. Action at a distance
4.3. Defining nothing
4.4. The vacuum : the ancient world
4.5. Some ancient physics with a modern twist : Archimedes' principle
4.6. The vacuum : the early modern world
5. Some basics
5.1. Introduction
5.2. The currency and language of science
5.3. Creating expressions in the language of science
5.4. What makes the world go 'round?
5.5. Daring to know
5.6. Types of energy
5.7. Force
5.8. Electromagnetism
5.9. Power
6. Investigating nature
6.1. Introduction
6.2. The mechanics of breathing
6.3. How we view the natural world
6.4. Quantum mechanics
6.5. Complementarity
6.6. The uncertainty principle of Heisenberg
7. Generating order and system
7.1. Introduction
7.2. The polarization of light waves
7.3. The fluctuating vacuum : the classical nothing becomes something
7.4. There is still enchantment in physics
7.5. Quantum field fluctuations in the vacuum
7.6. Fluctuations
8. The forces of nature
8.1. Introduction
8.2. Some early history
8.3. Gravity
8.4. Electromagnetism
8.5. Nuclear forces
8.6. Some recent developments
9. Intermolecular forces
9.1. Introduction
9.2. Something ideal
9.3. Quantifying ideal behaviour : the gas laws
9.4. Ballooning
9.5. Something closer to reality
9.6. The van der Waals force
9.7. Forces on the small and on the large scale
9.8. Representing the forces between molecules
9.9. London dispersion force
9.10. Earnshaw's theorem
9.11. The local field effect
10. Aspects of the private life of a liquid
10.1. Introduction
10.2. Water : the least ideal of fluids
10.3. Hydrogen bonding
10.4. The mechanical properties of water
10.5. The contribution of water to solutions
10.6. Clathrates
11. Order and complexity
11.1. Introduction
11.2. A classification
11.3. Packing of spheres
11.4. The packing of less-perfect, but real shapes (molecules)
11.5. The origin of order
12. 'For all that moveth, doth in change delight'
12.1. Introduction
12.2. Melting
12.3. The fate of a snowflake.
"Version: 20151101"--Title page verso.
"A Morgan & Claypool publication as part of IOP Concise Physics"--Title page verso.
Includes bibliographical references.
Title from PDF title page (viewed on December 1, 2015).
Morgan & Claypool Publishers, publisher.
Institute of Physics (Great Britain), publisher.
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Print version:
Publisher Number:
10.1088/978-1-6817-4241-0 doi
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Restricted for use by site license.