The Universe Speaks in Numbers

ISBN
9780571321803
Published
02/05/2019
9780571321803
Format
Hardback
Price
£20.00
Paperback
336

About the Book

A groundbreaking exploration of how the interplay of physics and mathematics has enriched our understanding of the universe - essential reading for anyone who wants to grasp how physicists are attempting, in Stephen Hawking's words, to 'know the mind of God'.

One of the great mysteries of science is that underlying all the complexities of the universe is a harmonious order, whose existence Einstein described as ‘a miracle’. No less miraculous, the fundamental laws of the universe can be written in the language of advanced mathematics.

Searching for these laws, physicists have found themselves developing ambitious mathematical ideas without experiment as their guide. In The Universe Speaks in Numbers, Graham Farmelo demonstrates how today’s greatest scientific minds are working in a tradition that dates back to Newton. He takes us on an adventure from the Enlightenment, through the breakthroughs of Einstein and Dirac, to the contemporary physicists and mathematicians who are shedding fascinating light on each other's disciplines. As Farmelo shows, this blossoming relationship between mathematics and physics is responsible for huge, redefining advances in our understanding of reality, space and time.

Always lively, vivid and authoritative, Farmelo guides the reader through the most thrilling and controversial developments in contemporary thought.

LISTEN TO THE ACCOMPANYING PODCAST featuring interviews with leading scientists at www.grahamfarmelo.com

'A superbly written, riveting book. In elegant prose, and using virtually no equations, Farmelo describes the ongoing quest of great thinkers to understand the bedrock nature of reality' Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal, Emeritus Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics at the University of Cambridge

'I am overcome with admiration for this book's range and profundity ... An amazing achievement' Michael Frayn, award-winning writer of Copenhagen

'Masterful ... a riveting account of one of the greatest stories of our time' Nima Arkani-Hamed, Professor at the Institute of Advanced Study, Princeton

A groundbreaking exploration of how the interplay of physics and mathematics has enriched our understanding of the universe - essential reading for anyone who wants to grasp how physicists are attempting, in Stephen Hawking's words, to 'know the mind of God'.One of the great mysteries of science is that underlying all the complexities of the universe is a harmonious order, whose existence Einstein described as ‘a miracle’. No less miraculous, the fundamental laws of the universe can be written in the language of advanced mathematics.Searching for these laws, physicists have found themselves developing ambitious mathematical ideas without experiment as their guide. In The Universe Speaks in Numbers, Graham Farmelo demonstrates how today’s greatest scientific minds are working in a tradition that dates back to Newton. He takes us on an adventure from the Enlightenment, through the breakthroughs of Einstein and Dirac, to the contemporary physicists and mathematicians who are shedding fascinating light on each other's disciplines. As Farmelo shows, this blossoming relationship between mathematics and physics is responsible for huge, redefining advances in our understanding of reality, space and time.Always lively, vivid and authoritative, Farmelo guides the reader through the most thrilling and controversial developments in contemporary thought. LISTEN TO THE ACCOMPANYING PODCAST featuring interviews with leading scientists at www.grahamfarmelo.com'A superbly written, riveting book. In elegant prose, and using virtually no equations, Farmelo describes the ongoing quest of great thinkers to understand the bedrock nature of reality' Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal, Emeritus Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics at the University of Cambridge'I am overcome with admiration for this book's range and profundity ... An amazing achievement' Michael Frayn, award-winning writer of Copenhagen 'Masterful ... a riveting account of one of the greatest stories of our time' Nima Arkani-Hamed, Professor at the Institute of Advanced Study, Princeton
  • Graham Farmelo

    Graham Farmelo is a By-Fellow at Churchill College, Cambridge, and an Adjunct Professor of Physics at Northeastern University, Boston, USA. He edited the best-selling It Must be Beautiful: Great Equations of Modern Science in 2002. His biography of Paul Dirac, The Strangest Man, won the 2009 Costa Biography Award and the 2010 Los Angeles Times Science Book Prize.

“A superb history ... Fascinating and elegantly written ... Unsurprisingly from the author of The Strangest Man, an award-winning biography of Dirac, Farmelo has offered a thoughtful, well-informed reply to those who believe the quest for mathematical beauty has led theoretical physicists into adopting sterile, ultra-mathematical approaches divorced from reality. He makes a persuasive case ...”
- Manjit Kumar, Guardian
“ I am overcome with admiration for its range and profundity ... An amazing achievement. ”
- Michael Frayn

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