Understanding the Universe by Don Lincoln

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Review

Postby BorisOfTerreHaute on January 31st, 2008, 11:12 am 

Hey Lincoln,
I finally got some reviews up on the bookseller sites. Amazon and Barns&Noble.

Will take up to a couple of days to be posted.

Hope its intelligible enough and not counter productive.

Here it is:

A wonderful book.
Brilliant, engaging descriptions abound from cover to cover.
The amount of learning is tremendous, and the style, layout, and flow have perfect timing.
It is a very accessible introduction to Particle Physics understanding for novice science want-a-bees like me, but I'm absolutely positive it would make an exemplary text for high-school and early college students.
Don Lincoln explains brilliantly our current cutting-edge knowledge, but while doing so, he adroitly describes, with much humor and anecdote, how we know it (the nuts and bolts), making the learning feel more real, and a lot more fun.
His descriptions of, and enthusiasm for, the tools of physics (the accelerators and experiments) and the excitement of discovery, are quite infectious.
I find that his down-to-earth, humorous analogies relating English and visuals to math were of the greatest benefit to me.
There’s a heck of a lot of great humor all along the way. And that makes you smile a lot. And laugh a lot. And that makes it a lot easier to learn a lot!!! Very pleasant and entertaining to read.
There is an appeal to the anti-scientific-research hecklers in the epilogue that managed to give me goose bumps (ala Sagan and Dawkins).
I had a tremendous amount of fun reading it. I do Understand the Universe much, much better now.


Thanks again for all the help.
Boris
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Postby Lincoln on January 31st, 2008, 11:44 am 

Thanks for the nice review.

Hope the next one merits a similar one.

Cheers....

Lincoln
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Postby Sparky on February 21st, 2008, 6:54 pm 

Lincoln,

I've finished reading the first three chapters of your book. I'm enjoying it very much. If it wasn't for your book, I may very well have forever given up on trying to understand the "particle zoo."

At the end of Chapter 3, you have a note that mentions the recent discovery of the . Has anyone determined yet if it is indeed made of two up quarks, two down quarks and a strange antiquark?
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Postby Lincoln on February 21st, 2008, 9:10 pm 

The evidence seems to be waning.

http://www.aapps.org/archive/bulletin/vol16/16-6/22The.pdf
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pentaquarks

The X(3872), which appears to be a "molecule" of charm-anticharm mesons, is real however.
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Postby BorisOfTerreHaute on February 22nd, 2008, 11:05 pm 

Sparky,
I'm so pleased to see someone else actually "walking the walk" instead of just "talking the talk", by reading Lincoln's book.

I see a lot of talk here without a whole lot of references to the books that have been read. By no means am I implying illiteracy (there are a lot of great readers here). But, there are a lot of "look up the most recent data on wikipedia" (I love wikipedia - this is not really a diss at those types, totally) types here who are not avid book readers.

So, it is refreshing to see, and I am proud of you.
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Postby Sparky on February 23rd, 2008, 11:47 am 

Boris,

Thank you. I also get the same impression of people not reading the relevant material. Someone here once claimed, for example, that electrons are made of quarks.

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Postby Lincoln on March 4th, 2008, 5:36 pm 

Just an update. I received a favorable review from the person in charge of reviewing the next book. The project will go forward.

Pretty soon I'll have to start a new thread. I'll wait until the book title is chosen though.

Time to start looking forward to book #3. (No, I don't know on what, so don't ask.)
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Postby BorisOfTerreHaute on March 4th, 2008, 9:56 pm 

Cool.
Wow, that is so weird about not being able to choose your own title, but I watch some of Book TV every weekend, and hear the same story over and over.
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Postby Lincoln on March 4th, 2008, 10:16 pm 

Well, you gotta figure the publisher is the one coughing up several tens of thousands of dollars to get the book published. They reserve the right to choose cover art, title and overall marketing plan. They want to maximize their chance of profit. If an author is famous enough (i.e. not me,) there may be a book tour.

I'm just happy the review period is over.
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Postby BorisOfTerreHaute on March 4th, 2008, 11:00 pm 

Lincoln wrote:Well, you gotta figure the publisher is the one coughing up several tens of thousands of dollars to get the book published. They reserve the right to choose cover art, title and overall marketing plan. They want to maximize their chance of profit. If an author is famous enough (i.e. not me,) there may be a book tour.

I'm just happy the review period is over.


Yeah, that is really cool. Congratulations. Much luck to you.

But haven't you had times where you thought, "my god, this title is so profound, and/or so ironic, and/or so double entendre, and/or so sublime, and/or so analogous to an overall point, and/or so poetic, and/or so metaphoric, and/or so emphatically literal that it cannot possibly be changed because it is so perfect, and/or so perfectly true that it would be a sin to alter it, and/or what would the benevolent aliens think if my perfect title were to be discarded, and/or so absolutely witty, and/or so extremely humorous, and/or so,...", but then you came out of your reverie, and became logical again.????? Ah Well Hell, these things cross my mind :-)
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Postby Lincoln on March 4th, 2008, 11:22 pm 

Yup. I do love my own titles. But the rules don't allow for that kind of author power unless your name is Grisham, Clancy, Rowlings, etc. But not Lincoln.

This should be resolved soon. "The Quantum Frontier" is the provisional title, although an early version was "A Window on Creation."

Who knows what it will be tomorrow.....
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Postby BorisOfTerreHaute on March 4th, 2008, 11:39 pm 

Lincoln wrote:Yup. I do love my own titles. But the rules don't allow for that kind of author power unless your name is Grisham, Clancy, Rowlings, etc. But not Lincoln.

This should be resolved soon. "The Quantum Frontier" is the provisional title, although an early version was "A Window on Creation."

Who knows what it will be tomorrow.....


Yeah, I know, not Rudisel either, hehe.
In my brand of experiment: the "essay", the title tends to want to become a somewhat large part of the content. I don't know if this is true for others. And since I have not even been published or even schooled on the subject, I probably have no idea what I am talking about. But it sometimes probably tends to take up too much of my attention. Maybe I should attend to the titles of individual essays, and not worry about the collective title so much.
Is that even open to me? I don't even know.
:-) Don't mind me, I'm just "goofin on Elvis"...:-)

Anyway, very good luck to you Lincoln. Can't wait to see what happens.
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Postby Nick on March 5th, 2008, 9:26 am 

Lincoln wrote:Yup. I do love my own titles. But the rules don't allow for that kind of author power unless your name is Grisham, Clancy, Rowlings, etc. But not Lincoln.


Unless your first name is Abe?
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Postby Lincoln on March 5th, 2008, 9:59 am 

I don't think Abe would have much to say about a new book nowadays either....
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Postby Lincoln on April 10th, 2008, 9:43 pm 

Book #2 (name still undetermined) passed its final review by the Board of Overseers (or whatever they call it.) It's off to production, schedule also still undetermined. Best guess, end of the summer, early fall.

Cheers all.
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Postby Sparky on July 13th, 2008, 8:49 am 

Lincoln,

I finally finished reading your book. Not only was it very informative, I enjoyed it immensely. I haven't read many popularizations of science, but comparatively I really liked the perspective of an experimentalist. Concurrently, I was listening on CD to The Universe in a Nutshell by Stephen Hawking, and the lack of experimental emphasis was a striking difference. Both have their place, but it's easier for me to relate to something like quarks if I understand a little bit about how they (more precisely the quark jets) can be detected.

I look forward to your new book. In the mean time, I may reread some portions that I don't think I fully understood the first time around. Much of it was completely new to me and I was still learning all the new words and acronyms. The glossary was a big help with that.

I'm truly thankful to all the physicists out there that keep pushing the limits of understanding forward. And it's a privilege for the lay person to catch just a glimpse of this amazing endeavor.

P.S. Have any of the near-term mysteries been solved yet? There was some discussion about neutrino experiments such as MINOS that were just around the corner to nail down the oscillation phenomena. Have their been any interesting results from these yet? [Sorry if this was already discussed earlier in this thread... I haven't sifted through it all.]
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Postby Sisyphus on July 13th, 2008, 1:40 pm 

Hey, Lincoln!

I finally bought your book off Amazon.com! Now you can go treat yourself to a sandwich, on me! :-D
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Postby Lincoln on July 13th, 2008, 3:15 pm 

That'd have to be a pretty cheap sandwich. I get about $1/book.

But I do appreciate the business. They make excellent Christmas and Bar Mitzvah gifts....

Cheers.
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Postby Sisyphus on July 13th, 2008, 7:29 pm 

Lincoln wrote:That'd have to be a pretty cheap sandwich. I get about $1/book.

Wow. Well, McDonald's has a dollar menu now.
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Postby rrushius on July 13th, 2008, 8:47 pm 

You can buy the ingredients at the closest deli and make one yourself at home... The ingredients are going to cost more than $1.00 but each individual sandwich may be less, I guess...
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Postby Sisyphus on July 16th, 2008, 7:47 pm 

It seems that the United States Postal Service has delivered the book to the wrong address. Doesn't look like I'll be understanding the universe anytime soon.
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Postby Lincoln on July 17th, 2008, 10:18 am 

You know...when you leave yourself that open, I trust you'll forgive my lack of restraint.

So, with that said...

Do you think the book will have any effect at all on that situation?
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Postby Lincoln on July 17th, 2008, 10:19 am 

Sparky...

MINOS has done some work, as had other neutrino factories. Further, there is a lot of relatively new CP violation work in the B-meson sector.

But no "aha" discoveries yet...just incremental knowledge.
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Postby Sisyphus on July 17th, 2008, 10:27 am 

Lincoln wrote:Do you think the book will have any effect at all on that situation?

Aww... I might have to read it a few times, but yeah.
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Postby Lincoln on July 17th, 2008, 10:41 am 

Well, that was the point after all. You'll have to let us know what you think when you're through it.

Remember....they make great (insert your non-denominational winter solstice festival here) presents. Just 60,000 more and I can get my XKS....
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Postby Sisyphus on July 17th, 2008, 11:02 am 

Maybe whoever received my copy will give it to me as a gift if they don't use it to fix the wobbly leg on their kitchen table.
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Postby MrMistery on July 18th, 2008, 2:12 pm 

Lol... That reminds me of a guy who used a 1200-page molecular biology textbook to keep his door open.
You guys make me want to understand the Universe, but i think i may wait until I go to the States to get the book: right now the shipping would cost more than the book.

@Lincoln
Last time I got a sweater. A book like yours would have been a blessing from God. It was a damned ugly sweater too.
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Postby Nick on July 18th, 2008, 11:14 pm 

I'm sure amazon.wheveryouare will give don his couple of pennies and get you his book fairly easily.
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Postby Lincoln on July 19th, 2008, 7:09 am 

Euros would be nice.... What with the $$)*%$)(*%$) exchange rate and all.....
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Postby Nick on July 19th, 2008, 7:54 am 

You guys should switch over to chf. Now would be a good time given that it's ~1chf/usd, it'd be easier than switching to the euro, and you'd know the currency was being controlled by some cunning bankers and propped up by nazi gold.
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