Today physicists and mathematicians throughout the world are feverishly working on one of the most ambitious theories ever proposed: superstring theory. String theory, as it is often called, is the key to the Unified Field Theory that eluded Einstein for more than thirty years. Finally, the century-old antagonism between the large and the small-General Relativity and Quantum Theory-is resolved. String theory proclaims that all of the wondrous happenings in the universe, from the frantic dancing of subatomic quarks to the majestic swirling of heavenly galaxies, are reflections of one grand physical principle and manifestations of one single entity: microscopically tiny vibrating loops of energy, a billionth of a billionth the size of an atom. In this brilliantly articulated and refreshingly clear book, Greene relates the scientific story and the human struggle behind twentieth-century physics' search for a theory of everything.
Through the masterful use of metaphor and analogy, The Elegant Universe makes some of the most sophisticated concepts ever contemplated viscerally accessible and thoroughly entertaining, bringing us closer than ever to understanding how the universe works.
Parallel universes are a staple of science fiction, and it's no wonder. They allow us to explore the question, "what if?" in a way that lets us step completely outside of the world we know, rather than question how that world might have turned out differently. For cosmologists, the question isn't "what if the South won the Civil War?" but "what if the constants that make up the fundamental building blocks of physics were different?" Physicists argue that any slight change to the laws of physics would mean a disruption in the evolution of the universe, and thus our existence. Take gravity, for example: too strong and stars would burn through their fuel far more quickly. If the universe expanded too fast, matter would spread out too thin for galaxies to form. The list of examples goes on – to the point where the laws of physics might seem finely tuned to make our existence possible. Short of a supernatural or divine explanation, one possibility is that our universe isn't the only one. That's the idea explored in this eBook, Possibilities in Parallel: Seeking the Multiverse. In Section 1, we explore why scientists think other universes could exist. After that, we get a look at the implications. Is it possible to have life in a universe with different physical laws? It would seem so. In "Cracking Open a Window," George Musser discusses the possibility that our universe has more than three spatial dimensions – the others happen to be very small. Other articles, including "The Universe's Unseen Dimensions," analyze the idea that our universe is one of many "branes" – three-dimensional structures stretched out over a higher-dimensional space. The concept of a parallel universe also touches time travel, and then there's the question of what the term "parallel universe" actually means. It's a triumph of the sciences that the very question of why the universe looks as it does can be asked at all. There are currently several possibilities for a multiverse, if it exists. Time and a lot of scientific spadework will reveal which one is right – and get us closer to answering those metaphysical questions: what if, why us, why now?
The authors outline how their positions have further diverged on a number of key issues, including the spatial geometry of the universe, inflationary versus cyclic theories of the cosmos, and the black-hole information-loss paradox. Though much progress has been made, Hawking and Penrose stress that physicists still have further to go in their quest for a quantum theory of gravity.
In concise, high-def videos, various skills and techniques are demonstrated and explained. These cover topics for the novice, such as mounting and cleaning of optics, as well as for the more advanced learner, such as balanced detection, and lock-in amplifiers.
Various interactive widgets let you simulate the experience of aligning a laser beam to an optical system, aligning an interferometer to get fringes, or adjust a Fabry-Perot cavity while observing the mode spectrum. Other tools help you quickly find the Gaussian beam parameters of your laser from measured beam radii, and to calculate the position of a lens or pair of lenses to mode match a laser to a cavity.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
“An important book that provides insight into key new developments in our understanding of the nature of space, time and the universe. It will repay careful study.” —John Gribbin, The Wall Street Journal
“An endlessly surprising foray into the current mother of physics' many knotty mysteries, the solving of which may unveil the weirdness of quantum particles, black holes, and the essential unity of nature.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
What is space? It isn't a question that most of us normally ask. Space is the venue of physics; it's where things exist, where they move and take shape. Yet over the past few decades, physicists have discovered a phenomenon that operates outside the confines of space and time: nonlocality-the ability of two particles to act in harmony no matter how far apart they may be. It appears to be almost magical. Einstein grappled with this oddity and couldn't come to terms with it, describing it as "spooky action at a distance." More recently, the mystery has deepened as other forms of nonlocality have been uncovered. This strange occurrence, which has direct connections to black holes, particle collisions, and even the workings of gravity, holds the potential to undermine our most basic understandings of physical reality. If space isn't what we thought it was, then what is it?
In Spooky Action at a Distance, George Musser sets out to answer that question, offering a provocative exploration of nonlocality and a celebration of the scientists who are trying to explain it. Musser guides us on an epic journey into the lives of experimental physicists observing particles acting in tandem, astronomers finding galaxies that look statistically identical, and cosmologists hoping to unravel the paradoxes surrounding the big bang. He traces the often contentious debates over nonlocality through major discoveries and disruptions of the twentieth century and shows how scientists faced with the same undisputed experimental evidence develop wildly different explanations for that evidence. Their conclusions challenge our understanding of not only space and time but also the origins of the universe-and they suggest a new grand unified theory of physics. Delightfully readable, Spooky Action at a Distance is a mind-bending voyage to the frontiers of modern physics that will change the way we think about reality.
The Future of the Mind brings a topic that once belonged solely to the province of science fiction into a startling new reality. This scientific tour de force unveils the astonishing research being done in top laboratories around the world—all based on the latest advancements in neuroscience and physics—including recent experiments in telepathy, mind control, avatars, telekinesis, and recording memories and dreams. The Future of the Mind is an extraordinary, mind-boggling exploration of the frontiers of neuroscience. Dr. Kaku looks toward the day when we may achieve the ability to upload the human brain to a computer, neuron for neuron; project thoughts and emotions around the world on a brain-net; take a “smart pill” to enhance cognition; send our consciousness across the universe; and push the very limits of immortality.
The subatomic realm has a reputation for weirdness, spawning any number of profound misunderstandings, journeys into Eastern mysticism, and woolly pronouncements on the interconnectedness of all things. Cox and Forshaw's contention? There is no need for quantum mechanics to be viewed this way. There is a lot of mileage in the “weirdness” of the quantum world, and it often leads to confusion and, frankly, bad science. The Quantum Universe cuts through the Wu Li and asks what observations of the natural world made it necessary, how it was constructed, and why we are confident that, for all its apparent strangeness, it is a good theory.
The quantum mechanics of The Quantum Universe provide a concrete model of nature that is comparable in its essence to Newton's laws of motion, Maxwell's theory of electricity and magnetism, and Einstein's theory of relativity.
Time moves forward, not backward—everyone knows you can’t unscramble an egg. In the hands of one of today’s hottest young physicists, that simple fact of breakfast becomes a doorway to understanding the Big Bang, the universe, and other universes, too. In From Eternity to Here, Sean Carroll argues that the arrow of time, pointing resolutely from the past to the future, owes its existence to conditions before the Big Bang itself—a period modern cosmology of which Einstein never dreamed. Increasingly, though, physicists are going out into realms that make the theory of relativity seem like child’s play. Carroll’s scenario is not only elegant, it’s laid out in the same easy-to- understand language that has made his group blog, Cosmic Variance, the most popular physics blog on the Net.
From Eternity to Here uses ideas at the cutting edge of theoretical physics to explore how properties of spacetime before the Big Bang can explain the flow of time we experience in our everyday lives. Carroll suggests that we live in a baby universe, part of a large family of universes in which many of our siblings experience an arrow of time running in the opposite direction. It’s an ambitious, fascinating picture of the universe on an ultra-large scale, one that will captivate fans of popular physics blockbusters like Elegant Universe and A Brief History of Time.
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His explanation of quantum physics for lay readers, called "a model of clarity" by Kirkus Reviews, sets the stage for a voyage of discovery through the common ground of science and religion, the entwined nature of mind and body, and our interconnectedness with all of creation.
In The Intention Experiment, internationally bestselling author Lynne McTaggart, an award-winning science journalist and leading figure in the human consciousness studies community, presents a gripping scientific detective story and takes you on a mind-blowing journey to the farthest reaches of consciousness. She profiles the colorful pioneers in intention science and works with a team of renowned scientists from around the world, including physicist Fritz-Albert Popp of the International Institute of Biophysics and Dr. Gary Schwartz, professor of psychology, medicine, and neurology at the University of Arizona, to determine the effects of focused group intention on scientifically quantifiable targets -- animal, plant, and human.
The Intention Experiment builds on the discoveries of McTaggart's first book, international bestseller The Field: The Quest for the Secret Force of the Universe, which documented discoveries that point to the existence of a quantum energy field. The Field created a picture of an interconnected universe and a scientific explanation for many of the most profound human mysteries, from alternative medicine and spiritual healing to extrasensory perception and the collective unconscious. The Intention Experiment shows you myriad ways that all this information can be incorporated into your life.
After narrating the exciting developments in the science of intention, McTaggart offers a practical program to get in touch with your own thoughts, to increase the activity and strength of your intentions, and to begin achieving real change in your life. After you've begun to realize the amazing potential of focused intention, and the times when it is most powerful, McTaggart invites you to participate in an unprecedented experiment: Using The Intention Experiment website to coordinate your involvement and track results, you and other participants around the world will focus your power of intention on specific targets, giving you the opportunity to become a part of scientific history.
The Intention Experiment redefines what a book does. It is the first "living" book in three dimensions. The book's text and website are inextricably linked, forming the hub of an entirely self-funded research program, the ultimate aim of which is philanthropic. An original piece of scientific investigation that involves the reader in its quest, The Intention Experiment explores human thought and intention as a tangible energy -- an inexhaustible but simple resource with an awesome potential to focus our lives, heal our illnesses, clean up our communities, and improve the planet.
The Intention Experiment also forces you to rethink what it is to be human. As it proves, we're connected to everyone and everything, and that discovery demands that we pay better attention to our thoughts, intentions, and actions. Here's how you can.
From the New York Times–bestselling author of Seven Brief Lessons on Physics, a closer look at the mind-bending nature of the universe.
What are the elementary ingredients of the world? Do time and space exist? And what exactly is reality? Theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli has spent his life exploring these questions. He tells us how our understanding of reality has changed over the centuries and how physicists think about the structure of the universe today.
In elegant and accessible prose, Rovelli takes us on a wondrous journey from Democritus to Albert Einstein, from Michael Faraday to gravitational waves, and from classical physics to his own work in quantum gravity. As he shows us how the idea of reality has evolved over time, Rovelli offers deeper explanations of the theories he introduced so concisely in Seven Brief Lessons on Physics.
This book culminates in a lucid overview of quantum gravity, the field of research that explores the quantum nature of space and time, seeking to unify quantum mechanics and general relativity. Rovelli invites us to imagine a marvelous world where space breaks up into tiny grains, time disappears at the smallest scales, and black holes are waiting to explode—a vast universe still largely undiscovered.
Raised in Depression-era Rockaway Beach, physicist Richard Feynman was irreverent, eccentric, and childishly enthusiastic—a new kind of scientist in a field that was in its infancy. His quick mastery of quantum mechanics earned him a place at Los Alamos working on the Manhattan Project under J. Robert Oppenheimer, where the giddy young man held his own among the nation’s greatest minds. There, Feynman turned theory into practice, culminating in the Trinity test, on July 16, 1945, when the Atomic Age was born. He was only twenty-seven. And he was just getting started. In this sweeping biography, James Gleick captures the forceful personality of a great man, integrating Feynman’s work and life in a way that is accessible to laymen and fascinating for the scientists who follow in his footsteps.
For most people, quantum theory is a byword for mysterious, impenetrable science. And yet for many years it was equally baffling for scientists themselves.
In this magisterial book, Manjit Kumar gives a dramatic and superbly-written history of this fundamental scientific revolution, and the divisive debate at its core. Quantum theory looks at the very building blocks of our world, the particles and processes without which it could not exist.
Yet for 60 years most physicists believed that quantum theory denied the very existence of reality itself. In this tour de force of science history, Manjit Kumar shows how the golden age of physics ignited the greatest intellectual debate of the twentieth century.
Quantum theory is weird. In 1905, Albert Einstein suggested that light was a particle, not a wave, defying a century of experiments. Werner Heisenberg's uncertainty principle and Erwin Schrodinger's famous dead-and-alive cat are similarly strange. As Niels Bohr said, if you weren't shocked by quantum theory, you didn't really understand it.
While "Quantum" sets the science in the context of the great upheavals of the modern age, Kumar's centrepiece is the conflict between Einstein and Bohr over the nature of reality and the soul of science. 'Bohr brainwashed a whole generation of physicists into believing that the problem had been solved', lamented the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Murray Gell-Mann. But in "Quantum", Kumar brings Einstein back to the centre of the quantum debate. "Quantum" is the essential read for anyone fascinated by this complex and thrilling story and by the band of brilliant men at its heart.
Artists as well as scientists throughout human history have pondered this “beautiful question.” With Nobel laureate Frank Wilczek as your guide, embark on a voyage of related discoveries, from Plato and Pythagoras up to the present. Wilczek’s groundbreaking work in quantum physics was inspired by his intuition to look for a deeper order of beauty in nature. In fact, every major advance in his career came from this intuition: to assume that the universe embodies beautiful forms, forms whose hallmarks are symmetry—harmony, balance, proportion—and economy. There are other meanings of “beauty,” but this is the deep logic of the universe—and it is no accident that it is also at the heart of what we find aesthetically pleasing and inspiring.
Wilczek is hardly alone among great scientists in charting his course using beauty as his compass. As he reveals in A Beautiful Question, this has been the heart of scientific pursuit from Pythagoras, the ancient Greek who was the first to argue that “all things are number,” to Galileo, Newton, Maxwell, Einstein, and into the deep waters of twentiethcentury physics. Though the ancients weren’t right about everything, their ardent belief in the music of the spheres has proved true down to the quantum level. Indeed, Wilczek explores just how intertwined our ideas about beauty and art are with our scientific understanding of the cosmos.
Wilczek brings us right to the edge of knowledge today, where the core insights of even the craziest quantum ideas apply principles we all understand. The equations for atoms and light are almost literally the same equations that govern musical instruments and sound; the subatomic particles that are responsible for most of our mass are determined by simple geometric symmetries. The universe itself, suggests Wilczek, seems to want to embody beautiful and elegant forms. Perhaps this force is the pure elegance of numbers, perhaps the work of a higher being, or somewhere between. Either way, we don’t depart from the infinite and infinitesimal after all; we’re profoundly connected to them, and we connect them. When we find that our sense of beauty is realized in the physical world, we are discovering something about the world, but also something about ourselves.
Gorgeously illustrated, A Beautiful Question is a mind-shifting book that braids the age-old quest for beauty and the age-old quest for truth into a thrilling synthesis. It is a dazzling and important work from one of our best thinkers, whose humor and infectious sense of wonder animate every page. Yes: The world is a work of art, and its deepest truths are ones we already feel, as if they were somehow written in our souls.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
This is one of the most powerful books you shall ever read. With research from quantum physics, psychology, biology and behavioral epigenetics, as well as many great spiritual teachings, 'Moving Through Parallel Worlds' will guide you on a path to achieving your grandest ambitions.
The title, 'Moving Through Parallel Worlds To Achieve Your Dreams,' is literal - based on the 'Many Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics,' and it is also a metaphor suggesting positive life transformation. This very night, you shall be reading and then applying the concepts in this book, and that moment will be the starting point of your mastery of wealth, romance, creation, and mastery of all things in the physical world.
'Moving Through Parallel Worlds' draws on science and timeless wisdom, to guide you on a path to unlimited power and enlightenment. 'Moving Through Parallel Worlds To Achieve Your Dreams' will allow you to bridge the discontinuity in your life from the point where you are at right now, to the point where you dream that you can be. This book shall put you into alignment with all that you have imagined possible for yourself and shall show you a path even to that which you may have considered impossible. This book has emerged so that you may be lifted up, and that you may come to realize the power you have to exist in a world that is exactly as you imagine it should be. This is your moment and this book is here, just for you. Enjoy the journey!
There was a time when "universe" meant all there is. Everything. Yet, a number of theories are converging on the possibility that our universe may be but one among many parallel universes populating a vast multiverse. Here, Briane Greene, one of our foremost physicists and science writers, takes us on a breathtaking journey to a multiverse comprising an endless series of big bangs, a multiverse with duplicates of every one of us, a multiverse populated by vast sheets of spacetime, a multiverse in which all we consider real are holographic illusions, and even a multiverse made purely of math--and reveals the reality hidden within each.
Using his trademark wit and precision, Greene presents a thrilling survey of cutting-edge physics and confronts the inevitable question: How can fundamental science progress if great swaths of reality lie beyond our reach? The Hidden Reality is a remarkable adventure through a world more vast and strange than anything we could have imagined.
In Three Roads to Quantum Gravity, Lee Smolin provides an accessible overview of the attempts to build a final "theory of everything." He explains in simple terms what scientists are talking about when they say the world is made from exotic entities such as loops, strings, and black holes and tells the fascinating stories behind these discoveries: the rivalries, epiphanies, and intrigues he witnessed firsthand.
"Provocative, original, and unsettling." --New York Review of Books
"An excellent writer, a creative thinker."--Nature
First he taught you classical mechanics. Now, physicist Leonard Susskind has teamed up with data engineer Art Friedman to present the theory and associated mathematics of the strange world of quantum mechanics.
In this follow-up to the New York Times best-selling The Theoretical Minimum, Susskind and Friedman provide a lively introduction to this famously difficult field, which attempts to understand the behavior of sub-atomic objects through mathematical abstractions. Unlike other popularizations that shy away from quantum mechanics' weirdness, Quantum Mechanics embraces the utter strangeness of quantum logic. The authors offer crystal-clear explanations of the principles of quantum states, uncertainty and time dependence, entanglement, and particle and wave states, among other topics, and each chapter includes exercises to ensure mastery of each area. Like The Theoretical Minimum, this volume runs parallel to Susskind's eponymous Stanford University-hosted continuing education course.
An approachable yet rigorous introduction to a famously difficult topic, Quantum Mechanics provides a tool kit for amateur scientists to learn physics at their own pace.
Your plain-English guide to understanding and working with the micro world
Quantum physics — also called quantum mechanics or quantum field theory — can be daunting for even the most dedicated student or enthusiast of science, math, or physics. This friendly, concise guide makes this challenging subject understandable and accessible, from atoms to particles to gases and beyond. Plus, it's packed with fully explained examples to help you tackle the tricky equations like a pro!Compatible with any classroom course — study at your own pace and prepare for graduate or professional exams Your journey begins here — understand what quantum physics is and what kinds of problems it can solve Know the basic math — from state vectors to quantum matrix manipulations, get the foundation you need to proceed Put quantum physics to work — make sense of Schrödinger's equation and handle particles bound in square wells and harmonic oscillators Solve problems in three dimensions — use the full operators to handle wave functions and eigenvectors to find the natural wave functions of a system Discover the latest research — learn the cutting-edge quantum physics theories that aim to explain the universe itself
The book begins at the simplest level, develops the basics, and reinforces fundamentals, ensuring a solid foundation in the principles and methods of physics. It provides an ideal introduction for college-level students of physics, chemistry, and engineering; for motivated AP Physics students; and for general readers interested in advances in the sciences.
But as other researchers tried to recreate Schön's experiments, the scientific community learned that it had been duped. Why did so many top experts, including Nobel prize-winners, support Schön? What led the major scientific journals to publish his work, and promote it with press releases? And what drove Schön, by all accounts a mild-mannered, modest and obliging young man, to tell such outrageous lies?
Some things are both waves and particles. . .at the same time.
Electrons simply disappear . . . all the time.
If the universe is this wild and unpredictable, so full of possibility, why are your thoughts about your own life so limited?
Hundreds of years ago, science and religion split apart; they became antagonists in the great game of explanation and discovery. But science and religion are two sides of the same coin. They both help explain the universe, our place in the great plan and the meaning of our lives. In fact, they can only begin to do that adequately when they work together.
What the Bleep Do We Know?!TM is a book of amazing science. With the help of more than a dozen research and theoretical scientists, it takes you through the looking glass of quantum physics into a universe that is more bizarre and alive than ever imagined. Then it takes you beyond, into the outer-inner edges of our scientific knowledge of consciousness, perception, body chemistry and brain structure. What is a thought made of? What is reality made of? And most importantly, how does a thought change the nature of reality?
This science leads not just to the material world, but deep into the realm of spirituality. If observation affects the outcome, we aren’t merely part of the universe, but participants in it. If thoughts are more than random neural firings, than consciousness is more than an anatomical accident. A higher power exists, but is it truly out there? Where is the dividing line between out there and in here?
This is not a book of definitive answers. This is a book of mind stretching questions. It is a book that shows you not the path, but the endless possibilities. Do you think you have to go to the same job every day, do the same errands, think the same thoughts, feel the same way? Well, think again.
Physicist Dave Goldberg speeds across space, time and everything in between showing that our elegant universe—from the Higgs boson to antimatter to the most massive group of galaxies—is shaped by hidden symmetries that have driven all our recent discoveries about the universe and all the ones to come.
Why is the sky dark at night? If there is anti-matter, can there be anti-people? Why are past, present, and future our only options? Saluting the brilliant but unsung female mathematician Emmy Noether as well as other giants of physics, Goldberg answers these questions and more, exuberantly demonstrating that symmetry is the big idea—and the key to what lies ahead.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Kaku skillfully guides us through the latest innovations in string theory and its latest iteration, M-theory, which posits that our universe may be just one in an endless multiverse, a singular bubble floating in a sea of infinite bubble universes. If M-theory is proven correct, we may perhaps finally find answer to the question, “What happened before the big bang?” This is an exciting and unforgettable introduction into the new cutting-edge theories of physics and cosmology from one of the pre-eminent voices in the field.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Suitable for advanced undergraduates and graduate students of physics, this third edition was edited by Dirk ter Haar, a Fellow of Magdalen College and Reader in Theoretical Physics at the University of Oxford. This enlarged and revised edition includes additional problems from Oxford University Examination papers. The book can be used either in conjunction with another text or as advanced reading for anyone familiar with the basic ideas of quantum mechanics. 1975 edition.
Richard Feynman, winner of the Nobel Prize in physics, thrived on outrageous adventures. Here he recounts in his inimitable voice his experience trading ideas on atomic physics with Einstein and Bohr and ideas on gambling with Nick the Greek; cracking the uncrackable safes guarding the most deeply held nuclear secrets; accompanying a ballet on his bongo drums; painting a naked female toreador. In short, here is Feynman's life in all its eccentric—a combustible mixture of high intelligence, unlimited curiosity, and raging chutzpah.
Relativity and Quantum Physics For Beginners is an entertaining and accessible introduction to the bizarre concepts that fueled the scientific revolution of the 20th century and led to amazing advances in our understanding of the universe.
Train Wreck details 17 crashes in which more than 200 people were killed. Readers follow investigators as they sift through the rubble and work with computerized event recorders to figure out what happened. Using a mix of eyewitness accounts and scientific explanations, Bibel draws us into a world of forensics and human drama.
Train Wreck is a fascinating exploration of• runaway trains• bearing failures• metal fatigue• crash testing • collision dynamics• bad rails
Finding a perfect analogy in the situation of the geometrical characters in Flatland, Professor Rucker continues the adventures of the two-dimensional world visited by a three-dimensional being to explain our three-dimensional world in terms of the fourth dimension. Following this adventure into the fourth dimension, the author discusses non-Euclidean geometry, curved space, time as a higher dimension, special relativity, time travel, and the shape of space-time. The mathematics is sound throughout, but the casual reader may skip those few sections that seem too purely mathematical and still follow the line of argument. Readable and interesting in itself, the annotated bibliography is a valuable guide to further study.
Professor Rucker teaches mathematics at the State University of New York in Geneseo. Students and laymen will find his discussion to be unusually stimulating. Experienced mathematicians and physicists will find a great deal of original material here and many unexpected novelties. Annotated bibliography. 44 problems.
Starting with an introduction that ventures beyond classical physics, the first part examines the physical content of the wave function; general principles; physics in one dimension; hermitian operators, symmetry, and angular momentum; and systems in two and three dimensions. Additional topics include approximate methods of calculation; the theory of scattering; spin and isospin; questions of physical meaning; electromagnetic radiation; systems containing identical particles; and classical dynamics and Feynman's construction.
Focusing on applications, the second part explores the theory of alpha decay; electrons in a periodic lattice; the hydrogen spectrum; the helium atom; interatomic forces; the neutron-proton interaction; and the quark model of baryons.
Previously the domain of philosophers and linguists, information theory has now moved beyond the province of code breakers to become the crucial science of our time. In Decoding the Universe, Charles Seife draws on his gift for making cutting-edge science accessible to explain how this new tool is deciphering everything from the purpose of our DNA to the parallel universes of our Byzantine cosmos. The result is an exhilarating adventure that deftly combines cryptology, physics, biology, and mathematics to cast light on the new understanding of the laws that govern life and the universe.
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"Vivid . . . impressive. . . . Splendidly informative."—The New York Times
"A tour de force."—Salon
Already internationally acclaimed for his elegant, lucid writing on the most challenging notions in modern physics, Sean Carroll is emerging as one of the greatest humanist thinkers of his generation as he brings his extraordinary intellect to bear not only on Higgs bosons and extra dimensions but now also on our deepest personal questions: Where are we? Who are we? Are our emotions, our beliefs, and our hopes and dreams ultimately meaningless out there in the void? Do human purpose and meaning fit into a scientific worldview?
In short chapters filled with intriguing historical anecdotes, personal asides, and rigorous exposition, readers learn the difference between how the world works at the quantum level, the cosmic level, and the human level—and then how each connects to the other. Carroll's presentation of the principles that have guided the scientific revolution from Darwin and Einstein to the origins of life, consciousness, and the universe is dazzlingly unique.
Carroll shows how an avalanche of discoveries in the past few hundred years has changed our world and what really matters to us. Our lives are dwarfed like never before by the immensity of space and time, but they are redeemed by our capacity to comprehend it and give it meaning.
The Big Picture is an unprecedented scientific worldview, a tour de force that will sit on shelves alongside the works of Stephen Hawking, Carl Sagan, Daniel Dennett, and E. O. Wilson for years to come.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
For more than thirty years as a beloved professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Lewin honed his singular craft of making physics not only accessible but truly fun, whether putting his head in the path of a wrecking ball, supercharging himself with three hundred thousand volts of electricity, or demonstrating why the sky is blue and why clouds are white. Now, as Carl Sagan did for astronomy and Brian Green did for cosmology, Lewin takes readers on a marvelous journey in For the Love of Physics, opening our eyes as never before to the amazing beauty and power with which physics can reveal the hidden workings of the world all around us. “I introduce people to their own world,” writes Lewin, “the world they live in and are familiar with but don’t approach like a physicist—yet.”
Could it be true that we are shorter standing up than lying down? Why can we snorkel no deeper than about one foot below the surface? Why are the colors of a rainbow always in the same order, and would it be possible to put our hand out and touch one? Whether introducing why the air smells so fresh after a lightning storm, why we briefly lose (and gain) weight when we ride in an elevator, or what the big bang would have sounded like had anyone existed to hear it, Lewin never ceases to surprise and delight with the extraordinary ability of physics to answer even the most elusive questions.
Recounting his own exciting discoveries as a pioneer in the field of X-ray astronomy—arriving at MIT right at the start of an astonishing revolution in astronomy—he also brings to life the power of physics to reach into the vastness of space and unveil exotic uncharted territories, from the marvels of a supernova explosion in the Large Magellanic Cloud to the unseeable depths of black holes.
“For me,” Lewin writes, “physics is a way of seeing—the spectacular and the mundane, the immense and the minute—as a beautiful, thrillingly interwoven whole.” His wonderfully inventive and vivid ways of introducing us to the revelations of physics impart to us a new appreciation of the remarkable beauty and intricate harmonies of the forces that govern our lives.