The Beauty of Physics: Patterns, Principles, and Perspectives by Prof. A. R. P. Rau

Published by Oxford: 25 November 2014. This book is about ideas and themes in physics. A small set of them apply over broad areas of physics, and in that wide reach lies some of the power, beauty, and attraction of the subject. Many metaphors from ordinary language or other disciplines have been adopted by physics, albeit with its own specific and distinct flavour. The selection of topics reflects the author’s own four-decade career in research physics and his resultant perspective on the subject. While aimed primarily at physicists, including junior students, this book also addresses other readers who are willing to think with symbols and simple algebra in understanding the physical world around us. Each chapter, on themes such as dimensions, transformations, symmetries, or maps, begins with simple examples accessible to all while connecting them later to more sophisticated realizations in more advanced topics of physics. Equations are used sparingly and only in the beginning examples, and around 70 drawings and figures illustrate the concepts and phenomena discussed. While mathematics is its natural language, physics is mostly about patterns, connections, and relations between objects and phenomena, and it is this aspect that is emphasized in this book. Complementary representations or descriptions, and seeing the world from different points of view are continuing themes throughout the book. Historical footnotes on great physicists and their contributions to the subject are provided.