Published in 1991, John Barrow's Theories of Everything was hailed as "a mind-boggling intellectual adventure" by Publishers Weekly and as "an exhilarating journey...important, engaging, and highly literate" by New Scientist. Now, in New Theories of Everything, Barrow completely updates his classic account of one of the hottest fields in all of science--the search for a cosmic key that will unlock the secrets of the Universe.
Will we ever discover a single scientific theory of everything? How can one theory ever explain a world full of chaos and complexity? In thisstimulating volume, Barrow sheds light on these questions as he presents the reader with the very latest ideas and predictions, ranging from the speculations of Stephen Wolfram about the world as a computer program to recent developments in string theory and M theory, new varieties of complexity, new ideas about the nature of mathematics, and much more. He reveals that the field has changed dramatically. Fifteen years ago, scientists sought a single theory uniquely specifying the constants and forces of nature, but today they envision a vast landscape of different logically possible laws and constants in many dimensions, of which our own world is but a tiny facet of a higher dimensional reality. Equally important, Barrow reflects on the philosophical and cultural consequences of those remarkable new ideas, highlighting their implications for our own place in the universe.
The Theory of Everything has in recent years become the focus of some of the most exciting and imaginative thinking in science. Now fully revised, New Theories of Everything brings the story of this exhilarating quest completely up to date.
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From Publishers Weekly:
John D. Barrow is Professor of Mathematical Sciences and Director of the Millennium Mathematics Project at Cambridge University, Gresham Professor of Astronomy and a Fellow of the Royal Society. He is the author of many highly acclaimed books about modern developments in physics, astronomy, and mathematics, including The Left Hand of Creation, The Anthropic Cosmological Principle, Theories of Everything: The Quest for Ultimate Explanation, Pi in the Sky: Counting, Thinking, and Being, among others.
In 1991, mathematician and astronomer Barrow released Theories of Everything, a look at science's search for a single model that explains the mechanics of the entire universe. Even though science is not much closer to attaining its Holy Grail, the intervening 16 years have seen enough developments to warrant a thorough revision. Dubious that one formula can ever "deliver all truth"-or that such a theory would even be desirable-Barrow demonstrates that the quest itself is what's important, providing a framework for probing the deepest questions of science, including the role of mankind in the universe; each of these questions is looked at in turn under broad chapters on "Laws," "Initial conditions," "Constants of nature," "Broken symmetries" and others. Each topic yields surprises; for instance, Barrow executes a startling reversal of Copernicus's fundamental principle, that the Earth is not the center of the universe, by pointing out that the physical laws governing our universe are necessarily bound to the conditions that account "for the living observers within it." Though Barrow succeeds in making the scope and wealth of his knowledge accessible and relevant, his book proves more demanding than other "popular" science titles; fortunately, this one is worth the effort. 25 line illustrations.
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