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2Physics Quote:
"Can photons in vacuum interact? The answer is not, since the vacuum is a linear medium where electromagnetic excitations and waves simply sum up, crossing themselves with no interaction. There exist a plenty of nonlinear media where the propagation features depend on the concentration of the waves or particles themselves. For example travelling photons in a nonlinear optical medium modify their structures during the propagation, attracting or repelling each other depending on the focusing or defocusing properties of the medium, and giving rise to self-sustained preserving profiles such as space and time solitons or rapidly rising fronts such as shock waves." -- Lorenzo Dominici, Mikhail Petrov, Michal Matuszewski, Dario Ballarini, Milena De Giorgi, David Colas, Emiliano Cancellieri, Blanca Silva Fernández, Alberto Bramati, Giuseppe Gigli, Alexei Kavokin, Fabrice Laussy, Daniele Sanvitto. (Read Full Article: "The Real-Space Collapse of a Two Dimensional Polariton Gas" )

Thursday, January 19, 2006

A Briefer History of Time

A Briefer History of Time
By Stephen Hawking with
Leonard Mlodinow
(Bantam, 2005, 176 pp.)

A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking was published in 1988 and was a surprise best-seller among a wide range of readership. In the 17 years since that time, new data from observational astronomy and particle physics have shed light from different angles on the problem of finding a Grand Unified Theory of Everything that could answer many basic questions about the universe: from where did it come and where it's going.

In this new volume Hawking and Mlodonow explains, in a popular way, the theories of the Big Bang origin of the Universe, the special and general theories of relativity, quantum theory, black holes, and some ever-exciting topics like time travel. They discussed at length the topics of the mysterious dark matter and dark energy - both of which can only be observed by their gravitational effects and are believed to make up 90% of the universe. The book also discusses another thriving area of research: Superstring theory, its achievement in last 20 years and how far it could go in search of a final theory.

Although it's written in a simple style, just like the Brief history, the Briefer history might also turn out to be a tough read for those who do not have a good background in Physics. However, it provides some amazing insight into the thinking process of some of the most intelligent minds of the world and how they are trying to decipher the riddles of the universe. It would be a great experience to be a part of that venture through the pages of this book.


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