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Thutmose wanted to attack the city, but by now most of his soldiers were plundering the enemy camp, taking whatever they could find. By the time he got his army reorganized most of the enemy, including the Prince of Kadesh, were safe in the city, which had a high, strong wall all around it.

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Thutmose could see that it would be suicidal to attack it directly, so he decided on a siege. His troops had plenty of supplies, and there were more supplies available in the surrounding area. But the people within the city were cut off, so it was only a matter of time before they ran out of food and other supplies. The siege lasted for seven months, but finally the citizens and what was left of the army surrendered.

By this time, however, the Prince of Kadesh had somehow escaped. It had taken longer than he had hoped. Nevertheless, Thutmose had soundly defeated the prince's army, and he had captured Megiddo. Like all rulers or generals going to war, Thutmose III was looking for something that would give him an advantage, and he found it. In his case it was a tactic that gave him an element of surprise. Throughout history, and even today, military leaders contemplating war, or involved in it, are still looking for some sort of advantage over their enemy.

Whereas Thutmose used a surprise tactic to his advantage, throughout most of history military leaders have searched for a new "wonder weapon"; in essence, a weapon the enemy does not have. As we'll see in this book, it is usually physics that provides a path to this new weapon. Physics and science in general has indeed been of tremendous value to military leaders.

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It has given them a better understanding of ballistics so that they can aim their guns better; it has given them radar so that they can detect the enemy before they are detected; it has given them an understanding of the electromagnetic spectrum so they can use radiation in various military applications; it has given them an understanding of rocketry and jet engines, and an understanding of the secrets deep within the atom so they are able to build super bombs.

This book gives an overview of most branches of physics, and it shows how they are used for military applications. It also gives a summary of the history of war all the way from the first bows and arrows and chariots through to the atomic and hydrogen bombs. We begin in chapter 2 with the Egyptians, Assyrians, and early Greeks.

We'll look at some of their interesting weapons, such as the ballista, the onager, and the trebuchet, all of which involve basic principles of physics. In chapter 4 we look at the rise and fall of the greatest military establishment ever seen up to that time, namely the Roman Empire. The early English-French battles are also included in this chapter; one of the most famous of these was the Battle of Agincourt, where the English used the longbow to overcome a much larger and more powerful army.

It was their secret new weapon. In chapter 5 we see the introduction of new technologies that completely changed the nature of war: gunpowder and cannons. Cannons were, in fact, so effective that they led to wars that lasted for a hundred years. At this stage, however, we can't say that physics made large contributions to the art of war because, for the most part, it didn't exist. But as we'll see in chapter 6, three men, including Galileo, made important advances and helped put physics on a much better footing.

Although doctors predicted incorrectly, as it turned out that Hawking would not survive more than two or three years, he did gradually lose the use of his arms, legs and voice, until he was almost completely paralysed and quadriplegic. Crucially, in , he attended a lecture by the English mathematician Roger Penrose, who had recently produced a ground-breaking paper on space-time singularities events in which the laws of physics seem to break down. Hawking became re-energized and engaged with renewed vigour in the study of theoretical astronomy and cosmology, particularly in the area of black holes and singularities.

He would later collaborate with Penrose on several important papers on these subjects. Another turning point in his life also occurred in , with his marriage to a language student, Jane Wilde. In , he joined the staff of the Institute of Astronomy in Cambridge, where he remained until , and began to apply the laws of thermodynamics to black holes by means of very complicated mathematics. In the late s, he and his Cambridge friend and colleague, Roger Penrose, applied a new, complex mathematical model they had created from Albert Einstein 's General Theory of Relativity which led, in , to Hawking proving the first of many singularity theorems.

This theorem provided a set of sufficient conditions for the existence of a singularity in space-time , and also implied that space and time would indeed have had a beginning in a Big Bang event, and would end in black holes. In effect, he had reversed Penrose's idea that the creation of a black hole would necessarily lead to a singularity , proving that it was a singularity that led to the creation of the universe itself. In collaboration with Brandon Carter, Werner Israel and David Robinson, he provided a mathematical proof of John Wheeler 's so-called "No-Hair Theorem", that any black hole is fully described by the three properties of mass , angular momentum and electric charge , and proposed the four laws of black hole mechanics, similar to the four classical Laws of Thermodynamics.

In , Hawking and Jacob Bekenstein showed that black holes are not actually completely black, but that they should thermally create and emit sub-atomic particles, known today as Hawking radiation , until they eventually exhaust their energy and evaporate. Hawking defended this paradox against the arguments of Leonard Susskind and others for thirty years, until famously retracting his claim in These cutting edge achievements were made despite the increasing paralysis caused by Hawking's ALS.

By , he was unable to feed himself or get out of bed, and his speech became so slurred that he could only be understood by people who knew him well. In , he caught pneumonia and had to have a tracheotomy, which left him unable to speak at all, although although a variety of friends and well-wishers collaborated in building him a device that enabled him to write onto a computer with small movements of his body, and then to speak what he had written using a voice synthesizer.

In , he left the Institute of Astronomy for the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics and, in , he was appointed Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University, a post he was to retain for 30 years until his retirement in In , at the age of 32, he was elected as one of the youngest ever Fellows of the Royal Society. He has accumulated twelve honorary degrees, as well as many other awards, medals and prizes, including the Albert Einstein Award, the most prestigious in theoretical physics.

He continued lines of research into exploding black holes , string theory , and the birth of black holes in our own galaxy. His work also increasingly indicated the necessity of unifying general relativity and quantum theory in an all-encompassing theory of quantum gravity , a so-called "theory of everything", particularly if we are explain what really happened at the moment of the Big Bang. Although I am not conventionally religious myself, I know many physicists who are.

But, far from undermining Mr. Weinberg's point, their faith confirms it: science is a reliable path to truth precisely because it transcends personal beliefs. The existence or nonexistence of God fits very naturally into a discussion of ultimate physical theories. Although Mr. Lederman covers much of the same ground as Mr. Weinberg -- the search for a unified theory and the need for the Supercollider -- his treatment is more superficial and journalistic. He explains physics in a jokey-folksy style, with much pseudobibli cal language and with personal anecdotes from his research career and his time as director of the accelerator facility known as Fermilab.

He even includes some imaginary dialogues with Democritus and a chapter titled "The Dancing Moo-Shu Masters," which pokes fun at mystics inspired by quantum physics. These literary devices may make the account more appealing, but they also undermine the credibility of the subject. Lederman's discussion focuses less on the inspiring coherence and unity of nature revealed by particle physics, and more on the search for a specific subatomic entity -- "the God particle," otherwise known as the Higgs boson -- that could play an important role in determining the properties of the fundamental forces.

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The drive toward unity in the microcosmos comes chiefly from the existence of various abstract mathematical symmetries that lie hidden among the raw data of particle processes. Some of these symmetries are masked from us because, even though they may still exist in the underlying forces, they are broken in the actual states we observe.

A key component in the theory of unification is a mechanism that explains how certain important symmetries are broken. This is known as the Higgs mechanism after the Edinburgh physicist Peter Higgs. If nature actually employs the Higgs mechanism to break its subatomic symmetries, then there will also exist associated particles -- Higgs bosons -- of a distinctive nature. To test currently fashionable ideas of unification it is crucial to discover and measure the properties of these Higgs particles. And since the lightest Higgs particle is probably too heavy to be created in existing particle accelerators, Mr.

Lederman points out, the more energetic Superconducting Supercollider must be built if we are ever going to produce that particle. For Mr. Lederman, the Higgs particle has become something of a Holy Grail of physics. Certainly its discovery would represent a great leap forward in our understanding of matter, and would also provide important clues about the very early universe.

However, the Higgs mechanism is only one part in a mosaic of processes governing the subatomic realm.

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So the God particle may not be quite the godsend that Mr. Lederman would have us believe, for in all probability it will not end the search for a final theory. Log In. View on timesmachine. TimesMachine is an exclusive benefit for home delivery and digital subscribers.

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To preserve these articles as they originally appeared, The Times does not alter, edit or update them. Occasionally the digitization process introduces transcription errors or other problems. New York: Pantheon Books. I accept that the laws of physics are more comprehensive than, say, Mendel's laws of genetics, but that is not the same as saying they are more fundamental.