Wednesday, May 14, 2014

NOVA's Physics Blog: The Nature of Reality

NOVA's Physics Blog: The Nature of Reality.

 With the same high production value as the NOVA documentaries, this blog brings together writings about the edge of human understanding of the universe. Organized under six themes, Gravity, Particle Physics, Quantum Physics, The Cosmos, Thought Experiments, and Unification, it highlights the work being done on the frontiers of physics. With discussions of black holes, quantum field theories, and the Higgs boson, this is not high school physics material. Two dozen researchers/science writers, including a Nobel Prize winner and a Fulbright scholar, have contributed over 90 articles to the blog to date. Despite the impressive research credentials of the average contributor, the content is intelligible to the layperson and is mathematics-free. Posts are typically 800 to 1500 words. However, the frequency of new posts has decreased over the life of the blog to one to two per month. Visitors can browse posts chronologically or in themed groupings. Clicking on a contributor's name brings up a biography and a full listing of all his/her posts.
A search box is available to search the content of the blog; however, the relatively small size of the blog and the solid browsing options decrease its importance. A prominent link to the NOVA website, itself an excellent resource, takes visitors to a large selection of short and full-length documentaries, and the right sidebar includes links to a dozen other physics blogs. One standout feature is the Go Deeper section, listing an editor's recommendations for further reading. These resources are well chosen to complement each post and include links to related blogs, videos, books, original peer-reviewed papers, and audio files. This feature, coupled with the accessible writing, makes this a great jumping-off place for nonscientists to learn about some of the biggest questions in physics. Summing Up: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED   Lower- and upper-division undergraduates and general audiences.

Review by --C. H. Chenard, Plymouth State University

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