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Constitutions of Matter

Mathematically Modeling the Most Everyday of Physical Phenomena

In this insightful work, Martin H. Krieger shows what physicists are really doing when they employ mathematical models as research tools. He argues that the technical details of these complex calculations serve not only as a means to an end, but also reveal key aspects of the physical properties they model.

Krieger’s lucid discussions will help readers to appreciate the larger physical issues behind the mathematical detail of modern physics and gain deeper insights into how theoretical physicists work. Constitutions of Matter is a rare, behind-the-scenes glimpse into the world of modern physics.

"[Krieger] provides students of physics and applied mathematics with a view of the physical forest behind the mathematical trees, historians and philosophers of science with insights into how theoretical physicists go about their work, and technically advanced general readers with a glimpse into the discipline."—Scitech Book News

366 pages | 54 line drawings, 2 tables | 6 x 9 | © 1996

Mathematics and Statistics

Physical Sciences: History and Philosophy of Physical Sciences

Table of Contents

List of Figures
1: Modeling the Constitutions of Matter
2: Analysis: The Stability of Bulk Matter
3: Mathematics: Infinite Volume Limits and Thermodynamics
4: Formalism: Constituting Bulk Matter: Solutions to the Ising Model, and Duality in Those Solutions
5: Analysis: Generic, Formal, Model-Independent Accounts of the Constitution of Matter as Philosophical
6: Formalism: Technical Devices Doing the Work of Physics
7: Physics and Mathematics: Finding the Right Mechanism and Choosing the Right Functions
8: The Physics and the Mathematics
Appendix: Two Papers by Lars Onsager
A: Electrostatic Interaction of Molecules (1939)
B: Crystal Statistics, Part I: A Two-Dimensional Model with an Order-Disorder Transition (1944)

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