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Ebook Hidden Attraction: The Mystery and History of Magnetism

Hidden Attraction: The Mystery and History of Magnetism




Author: Gerrit L. Verschuur
Type: eBook
Date Released: 1993
Format: pdf
Language: English
Page Count: 267
Isbn10 Code: 0195064887
Isbn13 Code: 9780195064889


From Publishers Weekly Verschuur ( Interstellar Matters ) properly includes the lodestone and quantum electrodynamics in the 400-year lineage of the electric light bulb. Most of Verschuur's history has fueled millons of middle-school science reports: Galvani, Oersted and Ampere coax out of magnetic phenomena the invisible genie of electricity; Farady, Maxwell and Hertz make a theoretical harness for it. But taking matters one step further, Verschuur reveals his larger theme: that simple curiosity about magnetism has led us to equations that can express truths about some aspects of nature itself. Verschuur provides more than bookends of familiar science history, with flourish and style demonstrating the hidden attraction that pulls us ever closer to the central mystery of the universe. Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. From Kirkus Reviews Using the story of magnetism as his framework, Verschuur (The Invisible Universe, 1986--not reviewed) discusses--from the vantage point of a committed propagandist for the scientific method--our historical journey from superstition to physics. Like a fusty old uncle who's nonetheless immensely learned and ultimately charming, Verschuur takes us by the hand and leads us from the almost alchemical experiments of the first true scientists, who explored the properties of lodestone, through the great pioneers of electricity (Faraday, Oerst, and AmpŠre, whose Kantian belief in the unity of natural phenomena led to the fusion of electromagnetism) to a brief primer on supersymmetry and the Theory of Everything, as well as on his own work in detecting the magnetic fields of galaxies. Displaying both his prickly disdain for the superstitious and an enthusiastic, almost naive approach to his scientific heroes, Verschuur sprinkles his text with fascinating anecdotes and well-chosen illustrations. Thumbnail biographies of principal scientists cleverly demonstrate how their backgrounds influenced their work (for example, the Protestantism of Faraday insisted on direct experience of the Bible without a priestly interpreter; similarly, the scientist chose to dispense with earlier, eventually disproved, hypotheses about electricity and to begin with the direct experience of experimentation). Repetitive and often stylistically clich‚d (``to make a long story short''; ``the moral of the story is,'' etc.); still, an entertaining, informative history that doubles as a solid guide to the nature of magnetism and electricity. (Sixteen halftones, seven line drawings.) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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