Fearful Symmetry: The Search for Beauty in Modern Physics. Anthony Zee. Macmillan, New York, 1987. 384 pp. $25.

For once I agree with the dust-jacket testimonials: this is an excellent book. Were a review not required I would let it go at that.

Anthony Zee is a distinguished particle physicist who presently holds joint appointments at the University of California and the Institute for Theoretical Physics at Santa Barbara. In Fearful Symmetry he has written a sprightly, partisan history of 20th century physics that bright students will enjoy immensely. Zee does not deal with all of 20th century physics. He is concerned solely with the physicist's search for beauty, which, to his eyes, means one and only one thing—the quest for symmetry in nature.

Throughout the book, Zee takes the point of view of an artist: "Let us worry about beauty first, and truth will take care of itself."...

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