The Theory of Almost Everything: The Standard Model, the Unsung Triumph of Modern Physics
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The Theory of Almost Everything: The Standard Model, the Unsung Triumph of Modern Physics

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  203 ratings  ·  24 reviews
There are two scientific theories that, taken together, explain the entire universe. The first, which describes the force of gravity, is widely known: Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. But the theory that explains everything else—the Standard Model of Elementary Particles—is virtually unknown among the general public.

In The Theory of Almost Everything, Robert Oerter...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published September 26th 2006 by Plume (first published 2005)
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David
This is a very nice overview of the "Standard Model" of physics, namely the current theory encompassing all the known particles of physics -- electrons, protons, neutrons, positrons, muons, neutrinos, gluons, the hypotheticized Higgs bosons, etc -- plus all the known interactions and forces, save only gravitation. Oerter argues (and I am inclined to agree with him) that the Standard Model is, perhaps, "the pinnacle of human intellectual achievement to date."

Unlike many semi-popular works on scie...more
Balhau
Well.. This is a very well written book. I decided begin to read this work of Oerter because I was very much interested in a very unkown (to me) part of the physics. It was a mixed surprise. Mr Oerter is a very lucid man, he write in a very straightforward and clear way. It is assertive and imaginative explaining the not so intuitive results. Writting style aside I must confess that the content was not so pleasant at all. The modern theories are very difficult to prove by recurring to evidence a...more
Jesse
Score: 3.5/5

Mixed feelings on this book. I picked it up for obvious reasons---who wouldn't want a casual introduction to the standard model?

Author Robert Oerter tries to write this book in an accessible way, but as you might expect, managing the line between accessibility and rigor in a book on particle physics is tricky, and some parts of the book are better than others.

Early on, when building up some early historical context, Oerter shows you Schrödinger's wave equation ("Just to show you what...more
Scott
Robert Oerter's ambitious book leads the reader conceptually through the modern physics of the Standard Model, from its historical antecedents in Newton and Maxwell to the current state of knowledge. As expected in any brief account of this nature, depending upon the background the reader brings to this book, he or she might find some areas provide enough information, while other areas leave the reader wanting more detail. For me, the sections up through and including quantum electrodynamics (QE...more
Ann
There are dozens of books out there about dark holes, string theory, chaos theory and what have you. But it's hard to find a book about the Standard Model, even though it is probably the most comprehensive theory at the universe available right now. This book takes the reader from the beginning of Einstein's thinking about spacetime through the 20th century up to the experiments that were ongoing at the time the book was written (2006). That means, for instance, that the Higgs boson was not yet...more
James
Good for what it is. I read so many of these general audience science texts, I wish there was a third category, somewhere between "I've never heard of relativity" and "Yes, I do have a PhD in physics."
Greg Meyer
Great book, it really is brilliant. He shows that the standard model is actually a brilliant accomplishment of dial turning. However, it is still flawed, as he even admits himself.
Dr M
Sep 22, 2007 Dr M rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Physicists, those with an interest in science
Shelves: popular-science
The Theory of Almost Everything is the story of the Standard Model of elementary particle physics. The title is a pun on the expression "Theory of Everything", the theoretical physicist's wet dream of a unified theory of all the fundamental constituents and interactions of matter, and Oerter seeks to explain how the elementary particle physics of the 20th century has almost achieved this, except "only" for questions concerning gravity. Oerter does this very well indeed. In fact, I must say that...more
Tassos
I am not an expert on the field, my knowledge about relativity and quantum theory was limited before this book. Thus, when I wanted to get a little more deep into understanding what is happening 'down' there, I started looking for a good book to read. Now, after reading this book, I feel lucky with the choice I've made.

A very easy to read book that takes things from the very beginning and explaining how physicists ended up with what we have now. More over, enough details are given on each step,...more
Oxy
This is a very good book that aims to give an overview on the standard model of particle physics. A somewhat charming thing is that Oerter shows concern that the Higgs boson had not yet been discovered which would make or break the theory and since the book was written the Higgs boson particle has indeed been discovered. I would have liked to see more references supporting the books claims, mostly it relies on a few book for the whole chapter but few are specific or are first hand sources. It al...more
Devero
Un buon libro divulgativo sullo stato della Teoria del Modello Standard com'era nel 2005.
Viene descritta come la teoria che da le migliori previsioni verificabili sperimentalmente e il lavoro fatto al CERN di Ginevra, culminato l'anno scorso con la probabile produzione del bosone di Higgs è una ulteriore conferma di questo fatto.
Per tutti coloro che ne vogliono sapere di più sulla fisica delle particelle.
Ad ogni modo, se siete digiuni dell'argomento, vi risulterà abbastanza ostico; le nozioni di...more
Chunyang Ding
An amazing book for beginners in modern physics. I read this book at a summer camp for the frontiers of physics, and the book was able to clarify confusing topics we covered in lecture. It is, of course, rather simplistic, and isn't particularly deep in the math or technical details of the standard model. Instead, it gives the reader a taste of what is currently known and how much is left for us to discover!
Karan Tyagi
At first I was really confused with this book , because I thought it was gonna be about Philosophy, but it turns out its about Physics. I was recommended to read this book by a senior named Will Lynch. Over all I really liked reading this book. It was kind of hard to keep up with it cause i knew nothing about physics, but now i kind if have a little knowledge about this subject.
Bill Jackman
Someone asked me what the Higgs Boson is, and I didn't know. (Hide head in shame.) The standard model has supposedly been around for 40 years, (After I got out of college. I still had physics professors who had not studied quantum mechanics.) and I don't remember running into it. As is normal I will have to read more, before I will begin to really understand it.
Kathy
This is another Physics book for the non-physicist. Very interesting and not heavy on math. Of course, physics can't be completely grasped without the math so someone with a good math background would probably prefer something more technical. This was at my level, though.
Sean Grealis
a really well done explanation of the history of quantum physics over the last century or so. the explanations are done in a way that you don't need a PhD in physics to understand them but not so dumbed down to lose their meaning.
Earl
Physics! For beginners! Still can't comprehend completely!
Scott
Lots and lots of physics, mostly particle and quantum stuff that I remember. When I was reading it, so very much of it made sense.
Dsanford
Still working on it - trying to understand the standard model better - can't move beyond it, until you understand it
Billy
This book was just what the inner Nerd in me was looking for!
Andrew Boden
A clear, concise summation of the standard particle model.
Ogro de Papel
Jul 14, 2012 Ogro de Papel is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Un gran paso de la física clásica a la "partícula de dios".
matthew
Very difficult read unless you are a scientist.
Al
Dec 28, 2007 Al marked it as to-read
Yeah, I'm having trouble getting into this one...
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