|In this novel a team of scientists investigates a mysterious
archaeological find. It soon becomes apparent that more than just
archaelogy will be needed to understand it, and so a pair of physicists are
brought in. The American one is actually a mathematician, and at one
point he is berated by an elder for his excursions into physics. ("He then
lectured John for five minutes on the duty of mathematicians - the lovers
of the pure, the ideal, the eternal, to use their best years in nonapplied
pursuits.") Once they get in to actually discussing the bizarre properties of the
object, there's a lot of mathematical physics: discussion of
relativity and particle physics which explicitly involves geometry of
space-time and mathematical analysis of forces of attraction between
particles. Not only does Benford, a physicist by training, toss out the
word "singularity" (so commonly used on Star Trek), he also refers to solitons (a personal
favorite of mine!) and does a good job of it too.
An appendix to the book briefly describes some of the real math and physics
behind the book, but unfortunately is not referenced.
"As I recall, [the hero is] a mathematician-Ph. D. on Lie groups, I believe, it is
mentioned in the book [no, it was something with manifolds, not explicitly
described -ak]- but ends up doing physics. However, there is a lot of
mathematics in the book, and accurately portrayed at that. It's really not a
suprise, given that Benford's a physicist." (Contributed by Randall
Crist, Creighton University.)
A great science-fiction novel, throwing in a great number of mathematical terms throughout.
Good if you are interested in the unexplained, and have at least some sort of vague idea about complex mathematics and science/physics (this book is not only for professional mathematicians!!)
Try it, it is an interesting read.