Writers’ Gallery

Our Writers' Gallery features short pieces about physics by authors who are both renowned physicists and prize-winning writers. Some of these are original contributions and others are excerpts from longer works. Many are linked to more information about the authors and their work.

 

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The Fifth Postulate

Many mathematicians since the time of Euclid attempted to solve a seemingly simple problem about parallel lines without success. Yet the success of their failures would reveal a whole new geometry and description of space and time.


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Insatiable Birdie

Can a book inspire you as a child to grow up and solve one of the most famous mysteries of mathematics? Come take a peek inside Physics for Entertainment to find out. Originally published over seventy years ago in Russia, this classic book answers many fascinating questions that one might not even think are physics questions. “Can an invisible man see? Why are all cats grey when the candles are out?” The excerpt below explains the habits or our beloved drinking bird toy.


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Death From the Skies

Philip Plait

"The Universe is trying to kill you. It's nothing personal. It's trying to kill me too" Astronomer, Phil Plait, describes how everything from asteroids to gamma ray burst would end impact the Earth.


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The Beginning…

Leon M. Lederman

This story is about the universe, and unfortunately there are no data for the Very Beginning. None, zero.


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Into the Future

Gino Segrè

If we are fortunate and wise enough to go on as a species for many millennia, I am tempted to think the twentieth century will be remembered as something special in science, the century in which many of the mysteries of Earth, life, and the cosmos were understood for the first time.


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A Different Universe: Reinventing Physics from the Bottom Down

Robert B. Laughlin

A few years ago I had occasion to engage my father-in-law, a retired academician, on the subject of the collective nature of physical law.