The two towering achievements of modern physics are quantum theory and Einstein's general theory of relativity. Together, they explain virtually everything about the world we live in. But, almost a century after their advent, most people haven't the slightest clue what either is about. Did you know that there's so much empty space inside matter that the entire human race could be squeezed into the volume of a sugar cube? Or that you grow old more quickly on the top floor of a building than on the ground floor? And did you realize that 1% of the static on a TV tuned between stations is the relic of the Big Bang? Marcus Chown, the bestselling author of What A Wonderful World and the Solar System app, explains all with characteristic wit, colour and clarity, from the Big Bang and Einstein's general theory of relativity to probability, gravity and quantum theory. 'Chown discusses special and general relativity, probablity waves, quantum entanglement, gravity and the Big Bang, with humour and beautiful clarity, always searching for the most vivid imagery.' Steven Poole, Guardian
With wit, colour and clarity, What A Wonderful World quickly and painlessly brings us up to speed on how the world of the 21st century works. From economics to physics and biology to philosophy, Marcus Chown explains the complex forces that shape our universe. Why do we breathe? What is money? How does the brain work? Why did life invent sex? Does time really exist? How does capitalism work - or not, as the case may be? Where do mountains come from? How do computers work? How did humans get to dominate the Earth? Why is there something rather than nothing? In What a Wonderful World, Marcus Chown, bestselling author of Quantum Theory Cannot Hurt You and the Solar System app, uses his vast scientific knowledge and deep understanding of extremely complex processes to answer simple questions about the workings of our everyday lives. Lucid, witty and hugely entertaining, it explains the basics of our essential existence, stopping along the way to show us why the Atlantic is widening by a thumbs' length each year, how money permits trade to time travel why the crucial advantage humans had over Neanderthals was sewing and why we are all living in a giant hologram.
Why the force that keeps our feet on the ground holds the key to understanding the nature of time and the origin of the universe. Gravity is the weakest force in the everyday world yet it is the strongest force in the universe. It was the first force to be recognized and described yet it is the least understood. It is a "force" that keeps your feet on the ground yet no such force actually exists. Gravity, to steal the words of Winston Churchill, is "a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma." And penetrating that enigma promises to answer the biggest questions in science: what is space? What is time? What is the universe? And where did it all come from? Award-winning writer Marcus Chown takes us on an unforgettable journey from the recognition of the "force" of gravity in 1666 to the discovery of gravitational waves in 2015. And, as we stand on the brink of a seismic revolution in our worldview, he brings us up to speed on the greatest challenge ever to confront physics.
Max Tegmark leads us on an astonishing journey through past, present and future, and through the physics, astronomy and mathematics that are the foundation of his work, most particularly his hypothesis that our physical reality is a mathematical structure and his theory of the ultimate multiverse. In a dazzling combination of both popular and groundbreaking science, he not only helps us grasp his often mind-boggling theories, but he also shares with us some of the often surprising triumphs and disappointments that have shaped his life as a scientist. Fascinating from first to last—this is a book that has already prompted the attention and admiration of some of the most prominent scientists and mathematicians.
Imagining the World Through the Language of Mathematics
Author: Robyn Arianrhod
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Category: Biography & Autobiography
Blending science, history, and biography, this book reveals the mysteries of mathematics, focusing on the life and work of three of Albert Einstein's heroes: Isaac Newton, Michael Faraday, and James Clerk Maxwell.
As physics has progressed through the ages it has succeeded in explaining more and more diverse phenomena with fewer and fewer underlying principles. This lucid and wide-ranging book explains how this understanding has developed by periodically uncovering unexpected 'hidden unities' in nature. The author deftly steers the reader on a fascinating path which goes to the heart of physics - the search and discovery of elegant laws which unify and simplify our understanding of the intricate Universe in which we live. Starting with the Ancient Greeks, the author traces the development of major concepts in physics right up to the present day. Throughout, the presentation is crisp and informative and only a minimum of mathematics is used. Any reader with a background in mathematics or physics will find this book a fascinating insight into the development of our fundamental understanding of the world, and the apparent simplicity underlying it.
One of the most famous science books of our time, the phenomenal national bestseller that "buzzes with energy, anecdote and life. It almost makes you want to become a physicist" (Science Digest). Richard P. Feynman, winner of the Nobel Prize in physics, thrived on outrageous adventures. In this lively work that “can shatter the stereotype of the stuffy scientist” (Detroit Free Press), Feynman recounts his experiences trading ideas on atomic physics with Einstein and cracking the uncrackable safes guarding the most deeply held nuclear secrets—and much more of an eyebrow-raising nature. In his stories, Feynman’s life shines through in all its eccentric glory—a combustible mixture of high intelligence, unlimited curiosity, and raging chutzpah. Included for this edition is a new introduction by Bill Gates.
From what actually happened in the Big Bang to the accidental discovery of post-it notes, the history of science is packed with surprising discoveries. Did you know, for instance, that if you were to get too close to a black hole it would suck you up like a noodle (it's called spaghettification), why your keyboard is laid out in QWERTY (it's not to make it easier to type) or why animals never evolved wheels? New Scientist does. And now they and award-winning illustrator Jennifer Daniel want to take you on a colorful, whistle-stop journey from the start of our universe (through the history of stars, galaxies, meteorites, the Moon and dark energy) to our planet (through oceans and weather and oil) and life (through dinosaurs to emotions and sex) to civilization (from cities to alcohol and cooking), knowledge (from alphabets to alchemy) ending up with technology (computers to rocket science). Witty essays explore the concepts alongside enlightening infographics that zoom from how many people have ever lived, to showing you how a left-wing brain differs from a right-wing one...
From the Fireball to the Discovery of Cosmic Ripples
Author: Marcus Chown
Publisher: University Science Books
This is the story of the cosmic background radiation, the "afterglow" of the Big Bang in which the Universe was born. Fifteen billion years after the event, the afterglow still permeates all of space, making it the oldest relic in creation and providing an imprint of the Universe as it was in its infancy. But the most astonishing thing about the afterglow of creation is that it wasn't discovered until 1965, and then only by accident - despite the fact that it had been predicted in 1948 and the technology to detect it existed during World War II. Chown brilliantly weaves a tale of the search for the origins of the Universe. Beginning in the 1920s and culminating with the flight of the COBE satellite and what it found, this book uncovers the secrets of the Universe.
THE DIVINE MATRIX Are the miracles that we see in the quantum world actually showing us our greatest possibilities rather than our scientific limits? Could the spontaneous healing of disease, an instant connection with everyone and everything, and even time travel, be our true heritage in the universe? There is a place where all things begin, the place of pure energy that simply ''is.'' In this quantum incubator for reality, everything is possible. In 1944, Max Planck, the father of quantum theory, shocked the world by saying that this ''matrix'' is where the birth of stars, the DNA of life, and everything between originates. Recent discoveries reveal dramatic evidence that Planck's matrix - The Divine Matrix - is real. It is this missing link in our understanding that provides the container for the universe, the bridge between our imagination and our reality, and the mirror in our world for what we create in our beliefs. To unleash the power of this matrix in our lives, we must understand how it works and speak the language that it recognizes. For more than 20 years, Gregg Braden, a former senior aerospace computer systems designer, has searched for the understanding to do just that. From the remote monasteries of Egypt, Peru, and Tibet to the forgotten texts that were edited by the early Christian church, the secret of the Divine Matrix was left in the coded language of our most cherished traditions. It is verified in today's science. In this paradigm-shattering book, Gregg shares what he's found. Through 20 keys of conscious creation, we're shown how to translate the miracles of our imagination into what is real in our lives. With easy-to-understand science and real-life stories, Gregg shows us that we're limited only by our beliefs, and what we once believed is about to change!
Stephen Hawking described it as 'the discovery of the century, if not of all time', yet the scientists who first detected the cosmic radiation that was identified as the afterglow of the big bang had to admit that it was more by accident than intention. At first its discoverers mistook the readings for the disruption caused by the droppings of pigeons that had nested in their telescope, and yet they went on to win the Nobel prize. In the mid-1990s New Scientist writer Marcus Chown drove across America to interview the key scientists who had made this astonishing discovery. Their account and Chown's description of their achievement was published to much acclaim. But now, over a decade later, in this new and fully revised edition he goes behind the hype and the hysteria to provide a clear and lively explanation of one of the biggest discoveries in modern science - and a brilliant picture of what happened next.
The child of an alcoholic father and an eccentric artist mother discusses her family's nomadic upbringing, during which she and her siblings fended for themselves while their parents outmaneuvered bill collectors and the authorities.
In The Interpretation of Cultures, the most original anthropologist of his generation moved far beyond the traditional confines of his discipline to develop an important new concept of culture. This groundbreaking book, winner of the 1974 Sorokin Award of the American Sociological Association, helped define for an entire generation of anthropologists what their field is ultimately about.
'Brilliant and fascinating. No one is better at making the recondite accessible and exciting' Bill Bryson Britain's most famous mathematician takes us to the edge of knowledge to show us what we cannot know. Is the universe infinite? Do we know what happened before the Big Bang? Where is human consciousness located in the brain? And are there more undiscovered particles out there, beyond the Higgs boson? In the modern world, science is king: weekly headlines proclaim the latest scientific breakthroughs and numerous mathematical problems, once indecipherable, have now been solved. But are there limits to what we can discover about our physical universe? In this very personal journey to the edges of knowledge, Marcus du Sautoy investigates how leading experts in fields from quantum physics and cosmology, to sensory perception and neuroscience, have articulated the current lie of the land. In doing so, he travels to the very boundaries of understanding, questioning contradictory stories and consulting cutting edge data. Is it possible that we will one day know everything? Or are there fields of research that will always lie beyond the bounds of human comprehension? And if so, how do we cope with living in a universe where there are things that will forever transcend our understanding? In What We Cannot Know, Marcus du Sautoy leads us on a thought-provoking expedition to the furthest reaches of modern science. Prepare to be taken to the edge of knowledge to find out if there's anything we truly cannot know.
The Little Book of String Theory offers a short, accessible, and entertaining introduction to one of the most talked-about areas of physics today. String theory has been called the "theory of everything." It seeks to describe all the fundamental forces of nature. It encompasses gravity and quantum mechanics in one unifying theory. But it is unproven and fraught with controversy. After reading this book, you'll be able to draw your own conclusions about string theory. Steve Gubser begins by explaining Einstein's famous equation E = mc2 , quantum mechanics, and black holes. He then gives readers a crash course in string theory and the core ideas behind it. In plain English and with a minimum of mathematics, Gubser covers strings, branes, string dualities, extra dimensions, curved spacetime, quantum fluctuations, symmetry, and supersymmetry. He describes efforts to link string theory to experimental physics and uses analogies that nonscientists can understand. How does Chopin's Fantasie-Impromptu relate to quantum mechanics? What would it be like to fall into a black hole? Why is dancing a waltz similar to contemplating a string duality? Find out in the pages of this book. The Little Book of String Theory is the essential, most up-to-date beginner's guide to this elegant, multidimensional field of physics.
A Journey Through Creation, Higher Dimensions, And the Future of the Cosmos
Author: Michio Kaku
Sheds new light on discoveries that have revolutionized the field of cosmology and transformed understanding of the universe, offering an explanation of the multiverse M-theory and its implications in terms of the fate of our own universe.
Good game design happens when you view your game from as many perspectives as possible. Written by one of the world's top game designers, The Art of Game Design presents 100+ sets of questions, or different lenses, for viewing a game’s design, encompassing diverse fields such as psychology, architecture, music, visual design, film, software engineering, theme park design, mathematics, puzzle design, and anthropology. This Second Edition of a Game Developer Front Line Award winner: Describes the deepest and most fundamental principles of game design Demonstrates how tactics used in board, card, and athletic games also work in top-quality video games Contains valuable insight from Jesse Schell, the former chair of the International Game Developers Association and award-winning designer of Disney online games The Art of Game Design, Second Edition gives readers useful perspectives on how to make better game designs faster. It provides practical instruction on creating world-class games that will be played again and again.
In 1942, the logician Kurt Godel and Albert Einstein became close friends; they walked to and from their offices every day, exchanging ideas about science, philosophy, politics, and the lost world of German science. By 1949, Godel had produced a remarkable proof: In any universe described by the Theory of Relativity, time cannot exist. Einstein endorsed this result reluctantly but he could find no way to refute it, since then, neither has anyone else. Yet cosmologists and philosophers alike have proceeded as if this discovery was never made. In A World Without Time, Palle Yourgrau sets out to restore Godel to his rightful place in history, telling the story of two magnificent minds put on the shelf by the scientific fashions of their day, and attempts to rescue the brilliant work they did together.
Our Cosmic Significance in a Universe of Planets and Probabilities
Author: Caleb Scharf
Publisher: Scientific American / Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Longlisted for the 2015 PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award Short-listed for Physics World's Book of the Year The Sunday Times (UK) Best Science Book of 2014 A Publishers Weekly Top 10 Science Book of Fall 2014 An NBC News Top Science and Tech Book of 2014 A Politics & Prose 2014 Staff Pick In the sixteenth century, Nicolaus Copernicus dared to go against the establishment by proposing that Earth rotates around the Sun. Having demoted Earth from its unique position in the cosmos to one of mediocrity, Copernicus set in motion a revolution in scientific thought. This perspective has influenced our thinking for centuries. However, recent evidence challenges the Copernican Principle, hinting that we do in fact live in a special place, at a special time, as the product of a chain of unlikely events. But can we be significant if the Sun is still just one of a billion trillion stars in the observable universe? And what if our universe is just one of a multitude of others-a single slice of an infinity of parallel realities? In The Copernicus Complex, the renowned astrophysicist Caleb Scharf takes us on a scientific adventure, from tiny microbes within the Earth to distant exoplanets, probability theory, and beyond, arguing that there is a solution to this contradiction, a third way of viewing our place in the cosmos, if we weigh the evidence properly. As Scharf explains, we do occupy an unusual time in a 14-billion-year-old universe, in a somewhat unusual type of solar system surrounded by an ocean of unimaginable planetary diversity: hot Jupiters with orbits of less than a day, planet-size rocks spinning around dead stars, and a wealth of alien super-Earths. Yet life here is built from the most common chemistry in the universe, and we are a snapshot taken from billions of years of biological evolution. Bringing us to the cutting edge of scientific discovery, Scharf shows how the answers to fundamental questions of existence will come from embracing the peculiarity of our circumstance without denying the Copernican vision. With characteristic verve, Scharf uses the latest scientific findings to reconsider where we stand in the balance between cosmic significance and mediocrity, order and chaos. Presenting a compelling and bold view of our true status, The Copernicus Complex proposes a way forward in the ultimate quest: determining life's abundance, not just across this universe but across all realities.
Schrodinger's Gat is a quantum physics noir thriller. Paul Bayes has begun to feel like all of his actions are dictated by forces beyond his control. But when his suicide attempt is foiled by a mysterious young woman named Tali, Paul begins to wonder if the future is really as bleak as it seems. Tali possesses a strange power: the ability to predict tragedies and prevent them from happening. The possibility of breaking free from the grip of fate gives Paul hope. But when Tali disappears, Paul begins to realize that altering the future isn't as easy as it seems: you can fight the future, but the future fights back. "Schrodinger's Gat has done for quantum mechanics what Eliyahu Goldratt's The Goal did for my understanding of Operations Management... [I]t takes the main character, and thus the reader, on a journey of discovery through a complex subject, in plain English. Well worth reading!" - Dr. Lucy Rogers, Director of Space Safety Research Limited and author of It's Only Rocket Science "Rob Kroese's Schrodinger's Gat is a science-mystery thrill ride. It's got everything we look for in a Kroese novel: humor damped by melancholy and an unforgettable plot in a book that we don't so much read as dive into and exchange banter with characters that are so familiar that it feels like we've known them for years. The story moves, the characters are witty, fun and real, and, rest assured, Kroese got the science right." -Ransom Stephens, Ph.D., physicist and author of The Sensory Deception "A wild mashup of physics, philosophy and catastrophe served up, Kroese style!" - Greg Smith, author of Legacy of the Dragon "Most of what I know of quantum physics I learned by getting high and watching NOVA so I may not be the target audience for this book, but I never felt overwhelmed by the science or bogged down in it. Kroese's writing is whip smart and funnier than hell. I loved it." -S.G. Redling, author of Damocles