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Spin Glasses and Complexity by Charles M. Newman, Daniel L. Stein

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ORDER, SYMMETRY, AND THE ORGANIZATION OF MATTER

Quarks, strings, and black holes receive much of the attention that the popular press devotes to physics, and for good reason: they’re exciting, exotic, and almost mystical in their appeal. They’re also comfortably removed from the everyday world around us. We may be ultimately composed of vibrating stringlike excitations, and black holes may govern the history and future of the universe we live in, but for most of us, their impact on our daily lives is nil.

Does that mean that these subjects are of no real value, aside from providing intellectual entertainment for some (and for a very few, the source of their monthly paycheck)? At the moment, perhaps it does; but it’s good to remember that a ...

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