The New York Times bestseller from the author of The Order of Time and Reality Is Not What It Seems “One of the year’s most entrancing books about science.”—The Wall Street Journal “Clear, elegant...a whirlwind tour of some of the biggest ideas in physics.”—The New York Times Book Review This playful, entertaining, and mind-bending introduction to modern physics briskly explains Einstein's general relativity, quantum mechanics, elementary particles, gravity, black holes, the complex architecture of the universe, and the role humans play in this weird and wonderful world. Carlo Rovelli, a renowned theoretical physicist, is a delightfully poetic and philosophical scientific guide. He takes us to the frontiers of our knowledge: to the most minute reaches of the fabric of space, back to the origins of the cosmos, and into the workings of our minds. The book celebrates the joy of discovery. “Here, on the edge of what we know, in contact with the ocean of the unknown, shines the mystery and the beauty of the world,” Rovelli writes. “And it’s breathtaking.”
seven brief lessons on physics
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These seven 'short lessons' guide us, with admirable clarity, through the scientific revolution that shook physics in the twentieth century and still continues to shake us today. In this short, playful, entertaining and mind-bending introduction to modern physics, Rovelli explains Einstein's theory of general relativity, quantum mechanics, black holes, the complex architecture of the universe, elementary particles, gravity, and the nature of the mind. In under one hundred pages, readers will understand the most transformative scientific discoveries of the twentieth century. Not since Richard Feynman's celebrated best-seller Six Easy Pieceshas physics been so vividly, intelligently and entertainingly revealed. Carlo Rovelli is an eminent physicist with an extraordinary ability to write about complex topics in a lucid, clear prose. His book was top of the bestseller charts in Italy for months and has sold over 200,000 copies since publication in November. He is the head of the Équipe de Gravité Quantiqueat the Theoretical Physics Department of Aix-Marseille University. It has sold in over a dozen languages. Here, on the edge of what we know, in contact with the ocean of the unknown, shines the mystery and the beauty of the world. And it's breathtaking.
'A dazzling book ... the new Stephen Hawking' Sunday Times The bestselling author of Seven Brief Lessons on Physics takes us on an enchanting, consoling journey to discover the meaning of time 'We are time. We are this space, this clearing opened by the traces of memory inside the connections between our neurons. We are memory. We are nostalgia. We are longing for a future that will not come.' Time is a mystery that does not cease to puzzle us. Philosophers, artists and poets have long explored its meaning while scientists have found that its structure is different from the simple intuition we have of it. From Boltzmann to quantum theory, from Einstein to loop quantum gravity, our understanding of time has been undergoing radical transformations. Time flows at a different speed in different places, the past and the future differ far less than we might think, and the very notion of the present evaporates in the vast universe. With his extraordinary charm and sense of wonder, bringing together science, philosophy and art, Carlo Rovelli unravels this mystery. Enlightening and consoling, The Order of Time shows that to understand ourselves we need to reflect on time -- and to understand time we need to reflect on ourselves. Translated by Simon Carnell and Erica Segre
Is magic real? Could anything be real that can't be quantified or scientifically investigated? Are qualities like love, beauty, and goodness really just about hormones and survival? Are strangely immaterial things, like thought and personhood, fully explainable in scientific terms? Does nature itself have any intrinsic value, mysterious presence, or transcendent horizon? Once we ask these questions, the answer is pretty obvious: of course science can't give us a complete picture of reality. Science is very good at what it is good at, but highly important aspects of human meaning are simply outside of science's knowledge range. So how might we better relate scientific facts to qualitative mysteries? How might we integrate our powerful factual knowledge with wisdom about the higher meaning of things? This book defines magic as the real qualities and mysteries of the world that science just can't grasp. It looks at how we came to put magic in the box of subjective make-believe. It explores how we might get it out of that box and back into our understanding of reality.
“The man who makes physics sexy . . . the scientist they’re calling the next Stephen Hawking.” —The Times Magazine From the New York Times–bestselling author of Seven Brief Lessons on Physics and The Order of Time, 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.
A delightful intellectual feast from the bestselling author of Seven Brief Lessons on Physics and The Order of Time One of the world’s most prominent physicists and fearless free spirit, Carlo Rovelli is also a masterful storyteller. His bestselling books have introduced millions of readers to the wonders of modern physics and his singular perspective on the cosmos. This new collection of essays reveals a curious intellect always on the move. Rovelli invites us on an accessible and enlightening voyage through science, literature, philosophy and politics. Written with his usual clarity and wit, this journey ranges widely across time and space: from Newton's alchemy to Einstein's mistakes, from Nabokov’s epidopterology to Dante’s cosmology, from mind-altering psychedelic substances to the meaning of atheism, from the future of physics to the power of uncertainty. Charming, pithy and elegant, this book is the perfect gateway to the universe of one of the most influential minds of our age.
'A gem of a book' Carlo Rovelli, author of Seven Brief Lessons on Physics Could there be a civilization on a mote of dust? How much of your fate have you made? Who cleans the universe? Through more than fifty Koans - pleasingly paradoxical vignettes following the ancient Zen tradition - leading physicist Anthony Aguirre takes us across the world from Japan to Italy, and through ideas spanning the age, breadth and depth of the Universe. Using these beguiling stories and a flair for explaining complex science, he covers cosmic questions that giants from Aristotle to Galileo to Heisenberg have grappled with - from the nature of time to the origin of multiple universes to the meaning of quantum theory. Playful and enlightening, Cosmological Koans invites the reader into an intellectual adventure of the highest order, giving us what Einstein called 'the most beautiful and deepest experience' anyone can have - a sense of the mysterious.
Scientifica Historica is an illustrated, essay-based review of those books that marked the development of science from ancient civilizations to the new millennium. The book is divided into five eras and explores the leading scientific pioneers, discoveries and books within them: Ancient World – looks at the beginnings of language, plus the first ever scientific documents produced and translated Renaissance in Print – explores the effects of the invention of the printing press and the exploration of the seas and skies Modern Classical – surveys the nineteenth century and the development of science as a profession Post-Classical – dissects the twentieth century and the introduction of relativity, quantum theory and genetics The Next Generation – reviews the period from 1980 to the modern day, showing how science has become accessible to the general public Plus an introduction to the history and development of writing and books in general, and a list of the 150 greatest science books published. From carvings and scrolls to glossy bound tomes, this book beautifully illustrates the evolution of scientific communication to the world. By recounting the history of science via its key works—those books written by the keenest minds our world has known—this book reflects the physical results of brilliant thought manifested in titles that literally changed the course of knowledge.
'This witty book reveals the humbling vastness of our ignorance about the universe, along with charming insights into what we actually do understand' Carlo Rovelli, author of Seven Brief Lessons on Physics and Reality Is Not What It Seems In our small corner of the universe, we know how some matter behaves most of the time and what even less of it looks like, and we have some good guesses about where it all came from. But we really have no clue what's going on. In fact, we don't know what about 95% of the universe is made of. So what happens when a cartoonist and a physicist walk into this strange, mostly unknown universe? Jorge Cham and Daniel Whiteson gleefully explore the biggest unknowns, why these things are still mysteries, and what a lot of smart people are doing to figure out the answers (or at least ask the right questions). While they're at it, they helpfully demystify many complicated things we do know about, from quarks and neutrinos to gravitational waves and exploding black holes. With equal doses of humour and delight, they invite us to see the universe as a vast expanse of mostly uncharted territory that's still ours to explore. This is a book for fans of Brian Cox and What If. This highly entertaining highly illustrated book is perfect for anyone who's curious about all the great mysteries physicists are going to solve next.
From the author of How Emotions Are Made, a myth-busting primer on the brain in the tradition of Seven Brief Lessons on Physics and Astrophysics for People in a Hurry. Have you ever wondered why you have a brain? Let renowned neuroscientist Lisa Feldman Barrett demystify that big gray blob between your ears. In seven short essays (plus a bite-sized story about how brains evolved), this slim, entertaining, and accessible collection reveals mind-expanding lessons from the front lines of neuroscience research. You'll learn where brains came from, how they're structured (and why it matters), and how yours works in tandem with other brains to create everything you experience. Along the way, you'll also learn to dismiss popular myths such as the idea of a "lizard brain" and the alleged battle between thoughts and emotions, or even between nature and nurture, to determine your behavior. Sure to intrigue casual readers and scientific veterans alike, Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain is full of surprises, humor, and important implications for human nature--a gift of a book that you will want to savor again and again.