Real Scientists Don’t Wear Ties links science to general and popular culture and everyday life in an easy-to-understand style. When a gifted writer of science selects his best pieces published in the world’s most reputable periodicals such as Nature, Discover, and MIT Technology Review, we get an eminently readable collection of his varied work in book form. That it covers all-time relevant topics like quantum physics, gravitational waves, genetic engineering, space exploration, and artificial intelligence is an added delight. Prof. Perkowitz also discusses how science can be found in medical practice, cooking, soccer, and art, and also science and science fiction in the media. On the lighter side, he reports on his efforts to teach a computer to understand poetry, explains why scientists resist dressing up, and shows that unlike many people, scientists actually enjoy math.
Table of Contents
Science: Introduction. The mysteries of light. Illuminating Light. True Colors. Light Dawns. Quantum mechanics, relativity, strings, and time. Nobody Knows the Quantum. Strange Devices. These Georgia Tech Physicists Helped Prove Einstein Right. Quantum Gravity. The Seductive Melody of the Strings. Time Examined and Time Experienced. Solids, liquids, gases, and more. The Six Elements: Visions of a Complex Universe Stealth Science. Froth with Meaning. Everything Worth Knowing About…Ice. Technology. Technology: Introduction. Lasers and space travel. From Ray-gun to Blu-ray How Close are we to Actually Becoming Martians? Ad Astra! To the Stars! Technology in the clinic. Brain Injuries in Soccer When Vision Betrays. Robots and artificial intelligence. John Markoff’s Love for “Machines” Removing Humans from the AI Loop – Should we Panic? Do We Have Moral Obligations to Robots? Technology, society, and human behaviour. The Internet Before the Internet: Paul Otlet’s Mundaneum. The Internet of Things: Totally New and a Hundred Years Old Crimes of the Future How to Understand the Resurgence of Eugenics The Case Against an Autonomous Military. Frankenstein Turns 200 and Becomes Required Reading for Scientists. Can a Physics of Panic Explain the Motions of the Crowd? Future technologies. Fantasy into Science: Invisibility Fantasy into Science: Teleportation Fantasy into Science: Tractor Beams. Culture. Culture: Introduction. Science and scientists meet culture. In Salmon do did Mobile Bond… Laughing by Numbers. Real Physicists Don't Wear Ties. Spelling it Right in Karachi. Brother, Can You Spare a Cyclotron. Cooking with science. Food for (Future) Thought or Star Trek: the Menu. The Future of Meat. Science and art. Art Upsets, Science Reassures. Hubs, Struts, and Aesthetics Inspirational Realism: Chesley Bonestell and Astronomical Art Art, Physics, and Revolution. Mr. Turner, Artist, Meets Mrs. Somerville, Scientist. Science, literature, and the media. Connecting with E. M. Forster Science Fiction Covers the Universe and Also Our Own Little Globe. How Realistic are Movies set in Space? Hollywood Science: Good for Hollywood, Bad for Science? Turing and Hawking, Typical Nerds? Boldly Going for 50 Years Abstract Theory has Real Consequences, in the Past and Today.
Sidney Perkowitz is Charles Howard Candler Professor Emeritus of Physics at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA. He earned his PhD in solid-state physics from the University of Pennsylvania, USA. He has written over 100 research papers, 10 books, and over 160 articles about science and culture and has appeared on CNN, NPR, the BBC, and at many other venues. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society for Literature, Science and the Arts. Prof. Perkowitz’s research interests are infrared, Raman, synchrotron, and picosecond spectroscopy; biological materials; optical properties of condensed matter, including semiconductors and superconductors; and characterization of technological materials.
"Real Scientists Don’t Wear Ties by the established scientist-writer-communicator Sidney Perkowitz is a diverse collection of relatively short essays divided into three main areas: science, technology, and culture. The topics widely range from everyday food to the frontiers of the basic science of light and quantum mechanics to the modern-day technologies of genetic engineering and artificial intelligence. The book also includes futuristic science-fiction subjects. Loosen up your shirt and tie, enjoy the read!"
Prof. Emer. Dr. Brian Schwartz, Brooklyn College, The City University of New York, USA
"Sidney Perkowitz is a rare bird—an experimental physicist who writes fluently for general audiences. His books, articles, and essays reveal his delight with the material world in its many diverse manifestations. This collection of his best writings on science, technology, and their cultural implications portrays him at his best, a many-faceted gem of an author deeply engaged in the physics of modern life."
Dr. Michael Riordan, author of The Hunting of the Quark and co-author of The Shadows of Creation, Crystal Fire, and Tunnel Visions
"Readers of all backgrounds will benefit from the engaging prose in Perkowitz’s diverse collection. Let us hope that if more physicists read this book, more of us will be convinced to distill our own research and ideas into writing for public consumption."
Brian Kraus, Princeton University, USA