Physics and Astrophysics: Glimpses of the Progress provides a comprehensive account of all the domains of the knowledge of the universe as of today addressing topics that every inquisitive mind has been asking from antiquity. It takes the readers through a pleasant journey touching upon most of the discoveries and inventions from time to time that took place both in the macro-world including that in cosmos to the micro-world of atomic and sub-atomic particles related to Physics and Astrophysics. Historical perspective and anecdote are used as and where necessary to make the story telling on the progress of Physics and Astrophysics both interesting and absorbing.
• Covers physics of antiquity, relativity and quantum mechanics and beyond
• Zooms into micro-world of atomic and sub-atomic particles, and zooms out to cosmic world of stars, galaxies, pulsar quasar
• Includes fundamental concepts, history, anecdote etc. related to discoveries of physics and astronomy
The book is primarily aimed at undergraduates, graduates, researchers, and professionals studying physics and astrophysics.
Table of Contents
1. The Beginning: Physics and Astrophysics in the ancient times till the end of 19th Century. 1.1 Introduction. 1.2 Developments of physics and astrophysics in ancient times till the time of Galileo: Introduction, Motion of bodies and miscellaneous ancient thoughts, The Static Earth concept, Geocentric to heliocentric, Flat Earth or round Earth, Nature of space and time, Size of the Earth. 1.3. Galileo and the Beginning of Experimental Physics. 1.4 Newton’s Laws of Motion and Gravitation: Introduction, Newton’s Laws of Motion, A comment by the author, Newton’s universal law of gravitation, Weightlessness experienced by astronomers in space flights, Fallout of Newtonian gravitational law and the laws of motion, Bentley paradox, Gravitation: Is it a force or due to space-time curvature? 1.5 Faraday and Maxwell’s Electromagnetism: Introduction, Michel Faraday’s Contribution, J. C. Maxwell’s Contribution, Fallout of Maxwell and Faraday’s electromagnetism. 1.6 A New and Effulgent Dawn in making for 20th Century: Introduction, The aether (ether) prejudice till 1990s, Michelson-Morley experiment—Concept of space contraction, Birth of Einstein’s special theory of relativity. 2. The Golden Period: Two Master Strokes of 20th Century—Relativity and Quantum Mechanics. 2.1 Introduction. 2.2 Relativistic Mechanics: Introduction, The new Archimedes is born, Most beautiful of theories, Gravitation as per general theory of relativity, Experimental proof in support of general theory of relativity, Newtonian mechanics or Einstein’s relativity, Comment by a literature laureate. 2.3 Quantum Mechanics: Introduction, Formative stage of quantum concept, Max Planck’s contribution, Einstein’s contribution, Journey towards the understanding of micro-world—The quantum mechanics. 2.4 Albert Einstein’s Relativity—A New Cosmic Vision: Introduction, Einstein’s religious thought, Albert the rebel, Albert the genius, Similarities of the life of a genius and great scientists, Relativity theory by Einstein.2.5 Special theory of relativity: Introduction, Time Dilation and Space Contraction, Time dilation of special relativity, Space contraction of special relativity, Twin Paradox—A thought experiment to demonstrate time dilation and space contraction, Simultaneity Re-visited in Relativity, Extended present in space-time geometry, Mass-energy relationship, Experimental proof and application of mass-energy relation, Space-time Continuum, The space-time diagram for light cone of special relativity. 2.6 General Theory of Relativity: Introduction, Chronogeometric theory of gravitation, Recipes for the development of general theory of relativity, Prediction of gravitational waves, Expanding universe from general theory of relativity, Cosmological constant— Not a ‘blunder’ but a visionary’s true ‘vision’, Twin paradox due to gravitational dilation of time and correction of GPS clocks, General theory of relativity and gravitational lensing, General relativity and wormhole/time machine. 2.7 The Game Changer of Atomic Physics—Quantum Mechanics: Introduction, Rutherford’s atomic model and its limitations, Bohr’s atomic model—A quantum cum classical approach, Fallout of Bohr’s atomic model and its shortcomings, Wave-particle duality of de Broglie in the quantum world, Experimental verification of wave-particle duality, Double-slit experiment with Electron to establish its dual nature, Uncertainty principle—An inescapable property of the material world, Application of uncertainty principle in LIGO design, Atomic stability on the basis of quantum mechanics. 2.8 Quantum Mechanics in the hands of Schrödinger, Dirac and Others: Introduction, Schrödinger’s wave mechanics, Paul Dirac’s contribution in quantum mechanics, Quantum mechanics and periodic table of elements, Richard Feynman and Feynman diagram. 2.9 Quantum weirdness and Quantum entanglement: Quantum mechanics—A weird subject, Einstein’s thought about quantum mechanics and quantum entanglement, Any similarity of macro-world physics with that of the micro-world? 3. Miscellaneous Developments: In the Realm of and Beyond R & QM. 3.1 Introduction. 3.2 Miscellaneous Developments in the Realm of Relativity: (i) Expanding universe: Introduction, Work of Lemaître and Friedman on expanding universe, Experimental support in favour of expanding universe (ii) Big bang theory of the origin of universe: Introduction, Experimental evidences supporting the big bang theory, (iii) Black hole: Introduction, What are black holes, Black hole identification and experimental evidence of its existence, What is inside a black hole, First experimental imaging of black hole with EHT, Black hole vs White hole (iv) Gravitational waves: Introduction, Gravitational wave detection with LIGO, A recent outcome from LIGO results, A comment on the fruits of collaborative research. 3.3 Unification Efforts Beyond the Fundamental Developments of Relativity and Quantum Mechanics: Einstein’s unified field theory, Quantum field theory, Quantum gravity—Theory of loop quantum gravity, Evolution of the connotation of the term—time, A digression: Big Bang vs Big Bounce as the theory of the origin of universe. 3.4 New thought beyond R-QM Universe—The string theory or the Theory of Everything: Introduction, Concept of string theory, History of development of string theory, How to verify string theory experimentally, Few more words about string theory, A comment by the author. 3.5 A Digression: The Scientific Model of the Evolution of the Universe and Four Fundamental Forces of Nature: Scientific Model of the Evolution of the Universe, How the Universe and our Earth might end-up and the means to save it, Four Fundamental Forces of Nature. 3.6 Antimatter, Dark Energy and Dark Matter: Introduction, Antimatter, Dark energy and Dark matter. 3.7 A Look at the Present Scenario of Science and Technology Beyond the R-QM Developments. 4. Zooming-Into the Sub-Atomic World of Atomic Physics. 4.1 Introduction. 4.2 Classification of Sub-atomic Particles: Introduction, Photons, Leptons, Hadrons and Quarks. 4.3 Standard Model of Physics. 4.4 Physics Beyond Standard Model—Possibility of New Particle, New Force. 4.5 Particle Accelerators/ Atom Smashers: Introduction, History of development and principle of operation of particle accelerators, The Future Circular Collider (FCC) and Large Hadron Collider (LHC). 5. Zooming-Out to the Cosmic World of Astrophysics. 5.1 Introduction. 5.2 The Sky: Introduction, Why the Day Sky in the Earth is Blue, Why the Night Sky is Black/Dark—Olbers’ paradox. 5.3 The Sun and the Solar System: The birth of Sun and its ultimate fate, The Solar System, The Moon and the Satellites of other Planets, Exoplanets, Atmosphere of Different Planets in Our Solar System, A Comment on Global Warming. 5.4 Stars and the Stellar Evolution: Introduction, Life cycle of stars—The stellar evolution, Chandrasekhar Limit, Supernovae and Novae, Classification of Stars, Measurement of Distance to Stars and Galaxies. 5.5 Nebulae and Galaxies. 5.6 Pulsars and Quasars: Radio Astronomy, Pulsars, A comment from the Author, Quasars. 5.7 The Observable Universe and Multiverse.
Subal Kar is former Professor and Head of the Institute of Radio Physics and Electronics, University of Calcutta, India. His field of specialization is microwave engineering, metamaterials and high energy physics. Dr. Kar has three patents to his credit and published a large number of research papers in peer-reviewed international journals. He was visiting scientist to various universities and institutes in US, Europe and Asia including Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, US, Oxford University, UK, Cockcroft Institute, UK, Kyoto University, Japan. Dr. Kar has authored a text book entitled "Microwave Engineering—Fundamentals, Design and Applications" and contributed a number of chapters in books published by Elsevier, Springer Nature, CRC Press. He is the recipient of young scientist award of URSI and IEEE MTT and Fulbright award of US government.