Andrew Steane




Prof Andrew M. Steane
Professor of Physics (Atomic and Laser)
Fellow, Exeter College, University of Oxford.

Address
Department of Atomic and Laser Physics,
Clarendon Laboratory,
Parks Road,
Oxford OX1 3PU.


Research

Books

The Wonderful World of Relativity---A precise guide for the general reader, by Andrew M. Steane (Oxford University Press, 2011).

This book provides a lively and visual introduction to Einstein's theory of relativity. It is for a readership including young people at school (post-16) and the general public with an interest in modern science. It uses many diagrams and simple equations, guiding the reader carefully through them, in order to display the beautiful insights which the theory provides. Paradoxes and puzzles are introduced and resolved, and used to show how the ideas force us to understand time in a new way. The book culminates in a thorough unfolding of the relation between mass and energy.
Relativity made Relatively Easy, by Andrew M. Steane (Oxford University Press, 2012).

This presents an extensive study of Special Relativity and a gentle (but exact) introduction to General Relativity for undergraduate students of physics. Assuming almost no prior knowledge, it presents all the Relativity needed for a final year undergraduate university course, including some underpinning of other areas such as electromagneism. The aim is to make derivations as simple as possible and physical ideas as transparent as possible. Lorentz invariants and four-vectors are introduced early on, but tensor notation is postponed until needed. In addition to the more basic ideas such as Doppler effect and collisions, the text introduces more advanced material such as radiation from accelerating charges, Lagrangian methods, the stress-energy tensor, and introductory General Relativity, including Gaussian curvature, the Schwarzschild solution, gravitational lensing, and black holes.
Faithful to Science - the role of science in religion , by Andrew M. Steane (Oxford University Press, 2014).

This presents the role of science in a theistic outlook on the world. It is told from the point of view of a reasonably broad engagement with theism, and aims to show what science is and is not, and how it takes its place in a wider framework. It is hoped that the book will promote a better public understanding of science, and also an understanding of human life that recognizes the integrity of high-level concepts such as love and forgiveness, no matter what may be the reader's religious commitments. Here is a link to my blog on this subject.
Thermodynamics: a complete undergraduate course, by Andrew M. Steane (Oxford University Press, 2016).

This is an undergraduate textbook, designed for self-study. It starts at first year level, with explanation of basic concepts such as entropy, systems and states. It develops the basic proofs that are associated with the laws of thermodynamics, and then introduces further functions such as free energy, and associated methods. There are many examples and much care has been devoted to getting the logic as clear as possible. The book takes the reader to the end of an undergraduate course, and a little beyond in some areas.
Science and Humanity: a humane philosophy of science and religion, by Andrew Steane (Oxford University Press, 2018).

The main aim of this book is to reconfigure the public understanding of science. It is mostly about the structure of scientific explanation, and indeed the very notion of explanation, and how this fits with notions of value and meaning which science does not address. No area of science, whether particle physics or Darwinian evolution or brain chemistry or whatever, can in the least diminish or replace the discourse of human affairs that is undertaken in the subjects we call humanities, such as law, language, history and philosophy. I also want to expose the illogic of confusing physical causes with purposes, and to show that the natural world in general, and Darwinian evolution in particular, is not altogether unguided, because it can only explore the space of what is possible, and this is a highly structured space. Finally, I give an introduction to how theological language works when it is used carefully, and provide an answer to Hume and Dawkins.

 

Teaching

Software

Graph theory, Shannon game and Hex

Short biography