In recent years, the exhilarating sense of discovery in the realm of physics has almost become the exclusive right of the specialist in the field. Books on contemporary physics tend to be oversimplified or too technical for the general reader to gain a proper appreciation of the appeal that this scientific quest holds for the modern-day physicists. "Invitation to Contemporary Physics", however, seeks to offer a unique opportunity for the layman or new student to share in the fascination and excitement of seven of the most enthralling areas at the research frontiers of modernday physics: lasers, superconductivity, symmetries, chaos, the evolution of stars, elementary particles and cosmology. Organized into independent chapters, the book allows the reader to delve into each topic separately. Each chapter is also designed to commence at an elementary level, thus requiring little prior background knowledge from the reader. It is then developed in stages of increasing difficulty, but in such a way that any keen and determined reader should be able to comprehend. Emphasis is placed on understanding the basic principles behind the facts and ideas.
Part 1 Lasers and physics: applications of lasers; quantum optics. Part 2 Superconductivity: zero electrical resistance; infinite magnetic reluctance; some macroscopic quantum effects. Part 3 Symmetry of nature and nature of symmetry: space-time, reflection, and gauge symmetries; spontaneous symmetry breaking. Part 5 Chaos - chance out of necessity: fractal and strange attractors. Part 6 Bright stars and black holes: the birth of stars; the final states of stars. Part 7 The innermost secrets of the universe: quantum numbers, conservation laws and symmetry; gauge theories. Part 8 Cosmology: the Big Bang; the fate of the universe; inflationary universe; cosmology and particle physics.