Knocking on Heaven’s Door by Lisa Randall

| October 12, 2012 | 0 Comments

Perhaps the most popular recent releases in the Amazon physics book section is a book by Lisa Randall called “Knocking on Heaven’s Doors”.  Now technically it’s a reprint edition, but since I haven’t added it to the website yet, I decided to do a short review.The book explores the role of risk, creativity, uncertainty, beauty, and truth in scientific thinking and apparently does a good jobSo let’s take a closer look.

Author: Lisa Randall

Hardcover: 480 pages

Publisher: Ecco; (2 Oct 2012)

ISBN-10: 0061723738

ISBN-13: 978-0061723735

Kindle edition: (US|UK)

Reviews: customer reviews

 Rating: ★★★★  Ranking: 6,447 US Version UK Version

About the Author

Lisa Randall was the first tenured woman in the Princeton University physics department and the first tenured female theoretical physicist at both MIT and Harvard University. Hey but that’s not all, she’s also one of the Top 100 Most Influential people according to the Time magazine. Research interests of Lisa Randall include particle physics and cosmology, which I think is a really nice mix.


Short Review

These days we see more and more books aiming to explain the hard boiled mysteries of modern physics to simple everyday people . And, to be honest, many of them are quite cliché — you know, flashy covers, sensational titles, a lot of speculation and little real content. But don’t worry, “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” doesn’t fall to this category. It’s a unique book, firstly, because the author is a leading expert in the fields that she is writing about, which always makes the book more interesting. Secondly, the book is an interesting mix of discussion, even a little philosophy, about the methods of science and a glance to the more realistic side of a life of a physicist.

“Knocking on Heaven’s Door” explores how the mathematical beauty can drive science forward and how unique thinking and creativity are the forces that shape the world of science. It’s really interesting to find out what a leading woman scientist is thinking about the scientific process and how it changed throughout the history. In a sense, the book is like a glimpse to the mind of Lisa Randall, which is definitely great if you’re a fan.

But don’t get fooled, the book has some great content as well. This includes a clear and concrete discussion of cutting edge particle physics and its implications for the future of science. Naturally, this discussion includes a glimpse to the inside of the LHC, the great particle accelerator, and the research going on at it.

Overall, in terms of raw scientific material, the book offers a classical overview of particle physics, which you are most likely to find in many other popular science books. However, the whole “philosophical side” of the book is really worth of your attention. Lisa Randall tries to analyse how physicists actually think and what strategies they employ to tackle the great problems. Often this brings up a honest and surprising side of the everyday life of scientists. And if you are a scientist, or simply enjoy the subject, it’s a great book to find out what’s going on in the head of a physicist.




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Category: Physics Books

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