Short works

Books : reviews

Neil W. Ashcroft, N. David Mermin.
Solid State Physics.
Holt, Rinehart and Winston. 1976

(read but not reviewed)

N. David Mermin, ed.
Boojums All the Way Through: communicating science in a prosaic age.
CUP. 1990

rating : 3 : worth reading

A collection of delightful essays on how science actually works, and how to write well, amongst other things.

The essays are gathered under the following headings: • Reflections of the pursuit of physics • The quantum theory • Relativity • Mathematical musings


E pluribus boojum: The physicist as neologist. Physics Today, April. 1981
How Mermin got the word "boojum" into the scientific literature, with the help of the despised 3rd edition of Webster's dictionary.
Commencement address. St. Johns College, Santa Fe, May 18. 1986
"One of the great physicists ... and great characters". Physics Today, June. 1981
My life with Landau. 1988
What's wrong with this Lagrangean?. Physics Today, April. 1988
On a consistent misspelling in Phys. Rev. Let., and why did nobody notice?
What's wrong with this library?. Physics Today, August. 1988
What's wrong with this prose?. Physics Today, May. 1989
What's wrong with these equations?. Physics Today, October. 1989
On how to punctuate mathematics.
What's wrong with these prizes?. Physics Today, January. 1989
Quantum mysteries for anyone. Journal of Philosophy, 78. 1981
Can you help your team tonight by watching on TV?. In Philosophical Consequences of Quantum. Theory: Reflections on Bell's Theorem. 1989
Spooky actions at a distance: mysteries of the quantum theory. In The Great Ideas Today. 1988
A bolt from the blue: the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paradox. In Niels Bohr, A Centenary Volume. 1985
The philosophical writings of Niels Bohr. Physics Today, February. 1989
The great quantum muddle. Philosophy of Science, 50. 1983
What's wrong with this pillow?. Physics Today, April. 1989
Cruel Nature: A relativistic tragicomedy. In Space and Time in Special Relativity. 1968
The amazing many colored Relativity Engine. Am. J. Phys, 56. 1988
Relativistic addition of velocities directly from the constancy of the velocity of light. Am. J. Phys, 51. 1983
Relativity without light. Am. J. Phys, 52. 1984
N. David Mermin, M. J. Feigenbaum. E = mc2. Am. J. Phys, 56. 1988
Logarithms!. Am. J. Phys, 46. 1978
Stirling's formula!. Am. J. Phys, 52. 1984
Pi in the sky. Am. J. Phys, 55. 1987
Variational principles in dynamics and quantum theory. Physics Today, July. 1970

N. David Mermin.
It's About Time: understanding Einstein's relativity.
Princeton University Press. 2005

N. David Mermin.
Why Quark Rhymes with Pork: and other scientific diversions.
CUP. 2016

A collection of offbeat and entertaining primarily non-technical essays on physics and those who practice it, from eminent theoretical physicist N. David Mermin. Bringing together for the first time all of his columns published in Physics Today’s Reference Frame series from 1988 to 2009, with updating commentary, this humorous and unusual volume includes thirteen other essays, many of them previously unpublished.

Mermin’s lively and penetrating writing illuminates a broad range of topics, from the implications of bad spelling in a major science journal, to the crises of science libraries and scientific periodicals, the folly of scientific prizes and honors, the agony of getting funding, and how to pronounce “quark.” His witty observations and insightful anecdotes gleaned from a lifetime in science will entertain physicists at all levels as well as to anyone else interested in science or scientists at the turn of the 21st century.

Papers/Articles : reviews

N. David Mermin. From Classical State-Swapping to Quantum Teleportation. quant-ph/0105117 v4. 2002

On deriving the quantum teleportation circuit from a classical specification, by a process of refinement.