Limit search to available items
Book Cover
Author Dharma-wardana, Chandre, author

Title A physicist's view of matter and mind / Chandre Dharma-wardana, National Research Council of Canada, University of Montréal, Canada
Published [Hackensack] New Jersey : World Scientific, [2013]
Online access available from:
ProQuest Ebook Central Subscription Collection    View Resource Record  
EBSCO eBook Academic Collection    View Resource Record  


Description 1 online resource (xv, 501 pages) : illustrations
Contents 1. A bird's eye view of our quest. 1.1. Duality, plurality, and reality. 1.2. The 'standard model' of matter according to physics. 1.3. Scales of energy and length. 1.4. The direct approach and its modern critics. 1.5. Evolution, and 'human' questions -- 2. An epistemic hunt for scientific truth. 2.1. The 'fundamental' questions. 2.2. Scientific knowledge and model construction. 2.3. Description, complexity and quantifiability. 2.4. Paradigms and scientific revolutions. 2.5. The cognitive conundrum. 2.6. Leaping over energy, length and time scales -- 3. The laws of nature and the supremacy of symmetry. 3.1. A grand-stand view of the laws of nature. 3.2. What do we mean by symmetry? 3.3. Coordinate transformations and Galilean symmetries. 3.4. Before Galileo and Newton. 3.5. Subatomic symmetry. 3.6. The principle of least action and the simplicity of nature. 3.7. How does a particle know the best path? 3.8. The local texture of the world and the simplicity of nature. 3.9. The worm's eye view -- The Euler-Lagrange equations. 3.10. The 'unreasonable effectiveness' of mathematics -- 4. Maxwell's magical trinity -- electricity, magnetism and light. 4.1. Electricity and magnetism. 4.2. The equation of continuity. 4.3. The gauge principle. 4.4. Maxwell's equations and the ether (aether). 4.5. The four-dimensional structure of Maxwell's equations. 4.6. The Michelson-Morley experiment. 4.7. Lorentz, Fitzgerald, Poincaré and the dawn of relativity -- 5. The theory of relativity. 5.1. The historical context. 5.2. Special relativity -- Einstein's two postulates. 5.3. Marrying space and time to get spacetime. 5.4. General relativity. 5.5. The metric of spacetime. 5.6. Specifying the curvature of spacetime. 5.7. Einstein's equations of general relativity. 5.8. The cosmological constant. 5.9. The inflationary universe. 5.10. The 'paradoxes' of relativity. 5.11. Our quotidian sense of space and time -- 6. The quantum world and 'reality'. 6.1. Innate reality and deduced reality. 6.2. Quantum reality as a 'prepared' reality. 6.3. Quantum particles and wave fields. 6.4. Schrödinger's equation for a trapped particle. 6.5. Is the wave function a real physical object? 6.6. The uncertainty principle and particle trajectories. 6.7. Bohm's interpretation of the Schrödinger equation. 6.8. Feynman-path formulation of quantum mechanics. 6.9. Quantum mechanics as a theory about information. 6.10. Relativistic quantum mechanics
pt. 1. The nature of physical law -- pt. 2. Complex systems and consciousness
7. Entanglement, measurement and quantum paradoxes. 7.1. Introduction. 7.2. Superposition and interference. 7.3. Entangled states. 7.4. The Bell inequalities and quantum correlations. 7.5. The 'collapse of the wavefunction' and measurement. 7.6. Quantum muddles. 7.7. Quantum paradoxes -- 8. Many particle systems and the classical limit. 8.1. The 'real world' of many-particle systems. 8.2. Many-electron systems. 8.3. Density functional theory. 8.4. Classical maps for quantum systems. 8.5. The quantum to classical transition and 'decoherence'. 8.6. Emergence of indeterminism in complex systems. 8.7. Conclusion -- 9. Energy, entropy and emergent properties. 9.1. Thermodynamics. 9.2. Statistical mechanics. 9.3. Dynamic response of a many-particle system. 9.4. Paradoxes proposed within statistical physics -- 10. Bio-molecules, the sub-slime of astrochemistry. 10.1. Introduction. 10.2. Chemical elements and molecules in the cosmos. 10.3. Envisioning the early Earth. 10.4. The formation of prebiotic molecules. 10.5. Conclusion -- 11. The cell as the basic unit of life. 11.1. The nature of cells. 11.2. The awareness of the primitive living cell -- 12. Specialized cells for sight, insight, and information. 12.1. Adaptation and survival. 12.2. Multicellular specialization. 12.3. Cells adapted for vision. 12.4. Neurons: nature's telecom units. 12.5. Molecular mechanisms of memory. 12.6. Neurons and information processing -- 13. Exotic, quantum explanations of consciousness. 13.1. Do we need exotic explanations? 13.2. Fröhlich's model of long-range coherence. 13.3. Free will and attempts at 'quantum' explanations. 13.4. Conclusion -- 14. Addressing the enigmatic questions. 14.1. The awareness of 'self, and of 'others'. 14.2. Why consciousness? 14.3. Causality and free will. 14.4. Self interest. 14.5. Personality. 14.6. Behaviour and guilt. 14.7. Biology, egalitarianism and democracy. 14.8. Happiness and suffering
Summary This is a highly interdisciplinary book straddling physics and complex systems such as living organisms. The presentation is from the perspective of physics, in a manner accessible to those interested in scientific knowledge integrated within its socio-cultural and philosophical backgrounds. Two key areas of human understanding, namely physics and conscious complex systems, are presented in simple language. An optional technical presentation is also given in parallel where it is needed
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references and index
Notes Print version record
Subject Dharma-wardana, Chandre -- Philosophy.
Physics -- Popular works.
Physics -- Philosophy.
Genre/Form Popular works.
Form Electronic book
LC no. 2013005327
ISBN 9789814425421 (electronic bk.)
9814425427 (electronic bk.)