By N. David Mermin
Boojums all through is a suite of essays that offers the trouble of speaking glossy physics to either physicists and nonphysicists. a few addressed to a common viewers, a few to scholars and others to scientists, the essays all proportion a preoccupation with either the substance and the fashion of written medical communique, and supply a distinct view of daily technology or clinical perform with the goal of elevated readability for the reader. the writer believes the culture of bland and impersonal medical writing over the last fifty years deprives scientists of strong instruments for reinforcing their readability and potential to speak complicated rules. A good famous theoretical physicist and winner of the 1st Julius Edgar Lilienfeld prize of the yank actual Society, Mermin writes with wry humor and conveys advanced principles with startling simplicity.
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Additional info for Boojums All the Way through: Communicating Science in a Prosaic Age
Set in gleaming brass in an enormous marble pavement flanked at either end by two fierce, lean, gigantic white angels, was - what do you think? Surely a map of the Colorado river and the surrounding lands that this wonderful structure would fertilize and protect? No - not at all. Imbedded in that vast stretch of marble were a great many circular brass disks. They represented the positions of the planets with respect to the fixed stars on that day, September 30, 1935 that President Roosevelt dedicated the dam.
D. Mermin is professor of physics at Cornell University. " 1 Reproduced here in the previous chapter. 40 Boojums all the way through I did my PhD research thirty years ago at Harvard. It was then the practice at Harvard never to mention the names of nonHarvard physicists, so I knew of Landau only as the coauthor of a formidable series of textbooks, until I stumbled across him in the middle of my thesis. My adviser had asked me to investigate whether an instability that arose in a certain crude calculation of the two particle propagator in the particle-hole channel might not herald the onset of a different kind of superconductivity from the type that Bardeen, Cooper, and Schrieffer had recently demonstrated was associated with an instability in the particleparticle channel.
He joined the fight with such fine spirit that the version published in the Times on 17 June was his own revision of my original letter. I give here the rare but still surviving urtext: Scientists may be addicted to whimsical nomenclatures as Malcolm Brown suggests (June 3) but in important matters like priority they are deadly serious. Philip W. Anderson did indeed use the term "boojum" to express a difficult notion about the broken symmetries of nature. However N. David Mermin introduced "boojum" for the same purpose over a year before in at least three publications prior to Anderson's venture in boojology.