Properties Of Light: A Novel Of Love, Betrayal, And Quantum Physics

$35.21 New In stock Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
SKU: DADAX0395986591
ISBN : 0046442986595
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Properties of Light: A Novel of Love, Betrayal, and Quantum Physics

Properties of Light: A Novel of Love, Betrayal, and Quantum Physics

Product DescriptionThe obsessions, betrayals, and passions of three physicists--a brilliant theorist tormented by his lack of professional acclaim; his brilliant daughter, whose devotion to him causes tragedy for her lover; and her lover, her father's protTgT--threaten their work to unlock some of the deepest mysteries of quantum mechanics, including the very nature of light ReviewFor smarty-pants only. Rebecca Goldstein, who made her debut withThe Mind-Body Problem, has written a romance about three physicists. The narrator, a young hotshot named Justin Childs, falls in love, first and foremost, with a little-known formula put together by Samuel Mallach back in the 1930s. Justin, a newly appointed professor, discovers that Mallach teaches at his university: "He was a burned-out star, they said (when they bothered to speak of him at all), although when he was little older than the twenty-three that Justin then was, Albert Einstein had confided in several colleagues that he regarded Samuel Mallach as his heir apparent." In the meantime, though, the old man and his work have fallen from favor, and he has retreated into quiet insanity: "Mallach's work, having been declared impossible, had passed unnoticed among men, and now Mallach himself had entirely forgotten it." Justin begins fantasizing about disinterring his work, and here's where the smarty-pants part comes in: "I had thought to propose to him that he and I might work together, together approach the formidable problem of merging quantum reality, now clarified through his work, with Einstein's truth. He had presented a realistic model of nonrelativistic quantum mechanics. The task now was to reconcile it with relativistic time." Just when you're berating yourself for skipping Physics for Poets in college, though, the love story kicks in. Justin falls for Mallach's brilliant daughter. And slowly it dawns on him that Mallach is manipulating both of them: "He meant to get the glorious physics out from me." Each character wants nothing more than to solve Mallach's original problem; each character is destroyed in the process. Properties of Light seamlessly interweaves problems of physics and problems of love. So when Justin says things like, "I assumed he spoke, of course, of the subatomic situation," many of us may feel a little lost. But this, perhaps, is Goldstein's strongest suit: she leads us up close to these heady ideas but always guides us back to more manageable emotional ground. She's firmly in control of both realms, and one suspects that her science scans as well as her prose. --Claire DedererFrom Publishers WeeklyPutting her Ph.D. in the philosophy of science to good use, Goldstein (The Mind-Body Problem) chronicles the quest of three physicists seeking to reconcile quantum mechanics and relativity theory in this epistemological gothic romance. It's soon evident that the narrator, Justin Childs, a physicist at one time skeptical of the soul's existence, is now, ironically, a ghost haunting his former lover, Dana Mallach, whom he blames for his death. Beginning a few years after Justin's demise, the story unfolds as he "relives" events. Justin is a young professor at a prestigious eastern university when he meets Samuel Mallach, an embittered old theorist based on real-life mid-20th-century physicist David Bohm. Despite Justin's disgust at Mallach's mystical leanings, he believes he can harness the man's talents to his own mathematical genius. Mallach and Dana, who's his devoted and brilliant physicist daughter, have their own plan to that end: they intend to lure Justin into tantric sex with Dana, in an attempt to elicit scientific inspiration. Justin and Dana do become lovers, and Mallach, Justin and Dana grow so close that Mallach feels deeply betrayed when he discovers Justin has been assisting his well-respected nemesis at the university. He commits suicide, and Justin is killed soon after in a car accident, the driver a furi

Specification of Properties of Light: A Novel of Love, Betrayal, and Quantum Physics

AuthorGoldstein, Rebecca
EditionFirst Edition
PublisherHoughton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication Year2000-08-01

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