Featuring leading scientists acting as consultants on the stories, and writing scientific afterwords, bringing the theory featured in the stories to life, including Prof. Sarah Bridle (Jodrell Bank), Prof. Jonathan Wolff and Prof. Frank Jackson (the inventor of the 'Mary's Room' thought experiment).

Science is always telling stories. Whether in the creation myths of evolution or the Big Bang, or in the eureka moments of science history, narrative – just as much as metaphor – is a key tool in the scientist’s surprisingly literary toolkit. Perhaps the most interesting use of story is the thought experiment, the intuition pump, that draws on the most instinctive parts of the imagination to crack otherwise perplexing problems.

From Newton's Bucket, to Maxwell’s Demon, from Einstein's Lift to Schrödinger’s Cat – all are examples of 'fiction' being used at the highest level, not just to explain, but to deduce, to prove. In this unique anthology, authors have collaborated with leading scientists, to bounce literary, human narratives against purely theoretical ones, alloying together real stories with abstract ones, to produce truly extraordinary results.

Full list of thought experiments: The Twin Paradox, The Grandfather Paradox, Maxwell's Demon, Laplace's Demon, Mary's Room, The Chinese Room, Schrödinger's Cat, Galileo's Boat, The Infinite Monkey Typing Pool, Einstein in a LIft, Einstein Chasing a Beam of Light, Newton's Bucket, Olber's Paradox.

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About the author

 Ra is the founder and Editorial Manager of Comma Press. He’s the editor of numerous anthologies, including The City Life Book of Manchester Short Stories (Penguin, 1999), co-editor of The New Uncanny (winner of the Shirley Jackson Award, 2008) and Litmus, voted one of 2011’s books of the year by The Observer. Between 2004 and 2013 he was also the coordinator of Literature Northwest, a support agency for independent publishers in the region (until it formally merged with Comma). He also coordinates Comma Film, an on-going film adaptation project which regularly commissions filmmakers and animators to adapt short literary texts (poems and short stories). He is a former journalist, having been Deputy Editor for City Life magazine, and a former Director of Manchester Poetry Festival. His critical work has been published in The Journal of the Short Story in English, and he’s been a producer, co-writer and co-director on a number of short film projects. He read Physics and Philosophy at Balliol College, Oxford and has an MA in English from the University of Manchester.

Dr Rob Appleby is a Reader of physics at the University of Manchester, a member of the Accelerator Physics group and of the Cockcroft Institute. His primary research interest is the physics of particle accelerators, including the motion of particles and new accelerator concepts, and he has worked for many years on the Large Hadron Collider and particle accelerators for cancer treatment. He holds a PhD in theoretical physics from the University of Manchester and a Masters degree in theoretical physics from the University of York. He has previously been a consultant on Comma’s Litmus and When It Changed anthologies.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Comma Press
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Published on
Apr 20, 2017
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Pages
272
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ISBN
9781905583607
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Anthologies (multiple authors)
Fiction / Science Fiction / Collections & Anthologies
Fiction / Science Fiction / General
Fiction / Short Stories (single author)
Science / General
Science / Philosophy & Social Aspects
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Deborah Levy
The relationship between sleep and storytelling is an ancient one. For centuries, sleep has provided writers with a magical ingredient – a passage of time during which great changes miraculously occur, an Orpheus-like voyage through the subconscious daubed with the fantastic. But over the last ten years, our scientific understanding of sleep has been revolutionised. No longer is sleep viewed as a time of simple rest and recuperation. Instead, it is proving to be an intensely dynamic period of brain activity: a vital stage in the re-wiring of memories, the learning of new skills, and the processing of problems and emotions.

How will storytelling respond to this new and emerging science of sleep? Here, 14 authors have been invited to work with key scientists to explore various aspects of sleep research: from the possibilities of ‘sleep engineering’ and ‘overnight therapies’, to future-tech ways of harnessing sleep’s problem-solving powers, to the challenges posed by our increasingly 24-hour lifestyles. Just as new hypotheses are being put forward, old hunches are also being confirmed (there’s now a scientific basis for the time-worn advice ‘to sleep on a problem’). As these responses show, sleep and the spinning of stories are still very much entwined.

Featuring scientific contributions from: Prof Russell G. Foster, Isabel Hutchison, Dr. Simon Kyle, Dr. Penny Lewis, Dr. Paul Reading, Stephanie Romiszewski, Prof Robert Stickgold, Prof Manuel Schabus, Prof Ed Watkins, Prof Adam Zeman, Dr. Thomas Wehr.

This project was supported by the Wellcome Trust.

Martyn Bedford
 Computers are changing. Soon the silicon chip will seem like a clunky antique amid the bounty of more exotic processes on offer. Robots are changing too; material evolution and swarm intelligence are creating a new generation of devices that will diverge and disperse into a balanced ecosystem of humans and ‘robjects’ (robotic objects). Somewhere in between, we humans will have to change also… in the way we interact with technology, the roles we adopt in an increasingly ‘intelligent’ environment, and how we interface with each other.

The driving motors behind many of these changes will be artificial life (A-Life) and unconventional computing. How exactly they will impact on our world is still an open question. But in the spirit of collective intelligence, this anthology brings together 38 scientists and authors, working in pairs, to imagine what life (and A-Life) will look like in the year 2070. Every kind of technology is imagined: from lie-detection glasses to military swarmbots, brain-interfacing implants to synthetically ‘grown’ skyscrapers, revolution-inciting computer games to synthetically engineered haute cuisine. All artificial life is here.

Featuring scientific contributions from: Martyn Amos, J. Mark Bishop, Seth Bullock, Stephen Dunne, James Dyke, Christian Jantzen, Francesco Mondada, James D. O'Shea, Andrew Philippides, Lenka Pitonakova, Steen Rasmussen, Thomas S. Ray, Micah Rosenkind, James Snowdon, Susan Stepney, Germán Terrazas, Andrew Vardy and Alan Winfield.

Supported by TRUCE (Training and Research in Unconventional Computation in Europe).

Deborah Levy
The relationship between sleep and storytelling is an ancient one. For centuries, sleep has provided writers with a magical ingredient – a passage of time during which great changes miraculously occur, an Orpheus-like voyage through the subconscious daubed with the fantastic. But over the last ten years, our scientific understanding of sleep has been revolutionised. No longer is sleep viewed as a time of simple rest and recuperation. Instead, it is proving to be an intensely dynamic period of brain activity: a vital stage in the re-wiring of memories, the learning of new skills, and the processing of problems and emotions.

How will storytelling respond to this new and emerging science of sleep? Here, 14 authors have been invited to work with key scientists to explore various aspects of sleep research: from the possibilities of ‘sleep engineering’ and ‘overnight therapies’, to future-tech ways of harnessing sleep’s problem-solving powers, to the challenges posed by our increasingly 24-hour lifestyles. Just as new hypotheses are being put forward, old hunches are also being confirmed (there’s now a scientific basis for the time-worn advice ‘to sleep on a problem’). As these responses show, sleep and the spinning of stories are still very much entwined.

Featuring scientific contributions from: Prof Russell G. Foster, Isabel Hutchison, Dr. Simon Kyle, Dr. Penny Lewis, Dr. Paul Reading, Stephanie Romiszewski, Prof Robert Stickgold, Prof Manuel Schabus, Prof Ed Watkins, Prof Adam Zeman, Dr. Thomas Wehr.

This project was supported by the Wellcome Trust.

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