The concept of symmetry has widespread manifestations and many diverse applications—from architecture to mathematics to science. Yet, as twentieth-century physics has revealed, symmetry has a special, central role in nature, one that is occasionally and enigmatically violated. Fearful Symmetry brings the incredible discoveries of the juxtaposition of symmetry and asymmetry in contemporary physics within everyone's grasp. A. Zee, a distinguished physicist and skillful expositor, tells the exciting story of how contemporary theoretical physicists are following Einstein in their search for the beauty and simplicity of Nature. Animated by a sense of reverence and whimsy, Fearful Symmetry describes the majestic sweep and accomplishments of twentieth-century physics—one of the greatest chapters in the intellectual history of humankind.
A. Zee is professor of physics at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His books include Quantum Field Theory in a Nutshell and Einstein Gravity in a Nutshell (both Princeton).
"Zee's exposition of the intuitive use by modern theoretical physicists of the concept of symmetry . . . in order to fathom nature's laws is superb scientific reading."--Publishers Weekly
"[Zee] demonstrates effortless competence over a wide area of theoretical physics. He also displays great enthusiasm and excitement for his subject, which many readers will find infectious."--James W. McAllister, ISIS, A Journal of the History of Science Society
"Fearful Symmetry tells the story of modern physics and contemporary physicists in a most understandable and vivid way. It makes the 'fearful' symmetry simple and accessible, and the burning tigers lively and human. An excellent rendition and an outstanding achievement."--T. D. Lee, Nobel Prize–winning physicist
"To a layman like myself, totally unversed in modern theoretical physics, Zee's book comes as an illumination. Once having grasped the idea of symmetry as an aesthetic and intellectual principle, I found myself, under his guidance, contemplating aspects of the design of the universe of which I never had the faintest glimmer."--John Rupert Martin, Marquand Professor of Art and Archaeology, Princeton University
"A small gem we can see deeply into with small effort and great pleasure."--Robert Schrieffer, Nobel Prize–winning physicist
Other Princeton books authored or coauthored by A. Zee:
Other Princeton books authored or coauthored by Roger Penrose: