Arguing that string theory has veered away from physical reality by positing six extra hidden dimensions, Penrose cautions that the fashionable nature of a theory can cloud our judgment of its plausibility. In the case of quantum mechanics, its stunning success in explaining the atomic universe has led to an uncritical faith that it must also apply to reasonably massive objects, and Penrose responds by suggesting possible changes in quantum theory. Turning to cosmology, he argues that most of the current fantastical ideas about the origins of the universe cannot be true, but that an even wilder reality may lie behind them. Finally, Penrose describes how fashion, faith, and fantasy have ironically also shaped his own work, from twistor theory, a possible alternative to string theory that is beginning to acquire a fashionable status, to "conformal cyclic cosmology," an idea so fantastic that it could be called "conformal crazy cosmology."
The result is an important critique of some of the most significant developments in physics today from one of its most eminent figures.
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.
Every animal, whether human, squid, or wasp, is home to millions of bacteria and other microbes. Ed Yong, whose humor is as evident as his erudition, prompts us to look at ourselves and our animal companions in a new light—less as individuals and more as the interconnected, interdependent multitudes we assuredly are.
The microbes in our bodies are part of our immune systems and protect us from disease. In the deep oceans, mysterious creatures without mouths or guts depend on microbes for all their energy. Bacteria provide squid with invisibility cloaks, help beetles to bring down forests, and allow worms to cause diseases that afflict millions of people.
Many people think of microbes as germs to be eradicated, but those that live with us—the microbiome—build our bodies, protect our health, shape our identities, and grant us incredible abilities. In this astonishing book, Ed Yong takes us on a grand tour through our microbial partners, and introduces us to the scientists on the front lines of discovery. It will change both our view of nature and our sense of where we belong in it.
Reinventing Discovery tells the exciting story of an unprecedented new era of networked science. We learn, for example, how mathematicians in the Polymath Project are spontaneously coming together to collaborate online, tackling and rapidly demolishing previously unsolved problems. We learn how 250,000 amateur astronomers are working together in a project called Galaxy Zoo to understand the large-scale structure of the Universe, and how they are making astonishing discoveries, including an entirely new kind of galaxy. These efforts are just a small part of the larger story told in this book--the story of how scientists are using the internet to dramatically expand our problem-solving ability and increase our combined brainpower.
This is a book for anyone who wants to understand how the online world is revolutionizing scientific discovery today--and why the revolution is just beginning.
Figures of Merit Common Symbols Used in Gas and Liquid Chromatographic Schematic Diagrams Varieties of Hyphenated Gas Chromatography with Mass Spectrometry Section 15: Practical Laboratory Data Standard Fittings for Compressed Gas Cylinders Plug and Outlet Configurations for Common Laboratory Devices
Section 16: Health and Safety InformationAbbreviations Used in the Assessment and Presentation of Laboratory Hazards Incompatible Chemicals Explosion (Shock) Hazards Water-Reactive Chemicals Testing Requirements for Peroxidizable Compounds Tests for the Presence of Peroxides Pyrophoric Compounds - Compounds That Are Reactive with Air Flammability Hazards of Common Solvents Selection of Laboratory Gloves Selection of Respirator Cartridges and Filters Selection of Protective Laboratory Garments Protective Clothing Levels Chemical Fume Hoods and Biological Safety Cabinets Gas Cylinder Safety and Stamped Markings Laser Hazards in the Laboratory General Characteristics of Ionizing Radiation for the Purpose of Practical Application of Radiation Protection Radiation Safety Units
Update of Standard Atomic Weights (2013) Update of Atomic Masses and Abundances
Significantly updated and expanded tables:
Section 1: Basic Constants, Units, and Conversion Factors
Section 8: Analytical ChemistryExpansion of Abbreviations and Symbols Used in Analytical Chemistry
Section 9: Molecular Structure and SpectroscopyUpdate of Bond Dissociation Energies
Section 12: Properties of SolidsMajor update and Expansion of Electron Stopping Powers
Section 14: Geophysics, Astronomy, and AcousticsMajor Update of Interstellar Molecules Update of Atmospheric Concentration of Carbon Dioxide, 1958-2013 Update of Global Temperature Trend, 1880-2013
Section 15: Practical Laboratory DataMajor update of Reference Points on the ITS-90 Temperature Scale Update of Laboratory Solvents and Other Liquid Reagents
Section 16: Health and Safety InformationUpdate of Flammability of Chemical Substances Update of Threshold Limits for Airborne Contaminants to 2013 values
Appendix B:Update of Sources of Physical and Chemical Data