Paperback / softback
November 19, 2012
8 b&w illus.
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
.8 Pounds (US)
$24.00 USD, £19.00 GBP
v2.1 Reference

Doing Physics, Second Edition, Second Edition

How Physicists Take Hold of the World

Doing Physics makes concepts of physics easier to grasp by relating them to everyday knowledge. Addressing some of the models and metaphors that physicists use to explain the physical world, Martin H. Krieger describes the conceptual world of physics by means of analogies to economics, anthropology, theater, carpentry, mechanisms such as clockworks, and machine tool design. The interaction of elementary particles or chemical species, for example, can be related to the theory of kinship—who can marry whom is like what can interact with what. Likewise, the description of physical situations in terms of interdependent particles and fields is analogous to the design of a factory with its division of labor among specialists. For the new edition, Krieger has revised the text and added a chapter on the role of mathematics and formal models in physics. Doing Physics will be of special interest to economists, political theorists, anthropologists, and sociologists as well as philosophers of science.

About the Author

Martin H. Krieger, who was trained as a physicist at Columbia University, has been a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences and at the National Humanities Center. He is author of Marginalism and Discontinuity: Tools for the Crafts of Knowledge and Decision (1989), Constitutions of Matter: Mathematically Modeling the Most Everyday of Physical Phenomena (1996), and Doing Mathematics: Convention, Subject, Calculation, Analogy (2003). He is on the faculty of the University of Southern California, and has taught at Berkeley, Minnesota, MIT, and Michigan.


"Krieger . . . excellently tells those in our human society outside the physics world how physicists think, plan, and go about understanding nature."—Choice

"This book is a cultural phenomenology of doing physics. It describes the ways physicists actually do their work—their motives, and their ways of making sense of the world—so that outsiders can understand it."—good reads

"This is an important and provocative book, timely and full of insight. Fail to read it, and you may miss out on the physics of the future."—John Gribbin, New Scientist

"This unusual book introduces 'the moves, the rituals, the incantations' physicists invoke as they go about conceptualizing Nature. The lucid-but-loaded writing makes quite complex ideas accessible to the mathless reader. . . . The rewards are a better understanding of how physics is done."—Whole Earth Millennial Catalog

"An excellent [and innovative] book."—Isis

"Not many books about physics have six citations of Adam Smith. Building on the analogy that Nature is like an economic system, Krieger provides a novel analysis of how physicists construct models of the world. A fascinating insight into the way scientists think."—Dick Easterlin, University of Southern California
Indiana University Press
Second Edition

9780253006073 : doing-physics-second-edition-2nd-edition-krieger
Paperback / softback
248 Pages
$24.00 USD

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The Scholar's Survival Manual

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