137: Jung, Pauli, and the Pursuit of a Scientific Obsession

Overview

“The history is fascinating, as are the insights into the personalities of these great thinkers.”—New Scientist
Is there a number at the root of the universe? A primal number that everything in the world hinges on? This question exercised many great minds of the twentieth century, among them the groundbreaking physicist Wolfgang Pauli and the famous psychoanalyst Carl Jung. Their obsession with the power of certain numbers—including 137, which describes the atom’s fine-structure constant and has great Kabbalistic...

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137: Jung, Pauli, and the Pursuit of a Scientific Obsession

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Overview

“The history is fascinating, as are the insights into the personalities of these great thinkers.”—New Scientist
Is there a number at the root of the universe? A primal number that everything in the world hinges on? This question exercised many great minds of the twentieth century, among them the groundbreaking physicist Wolfgang Pauli and the famous psychoanalyst Carl Jung. Their obsession with the power of certain numbers—including 137, which describes the atom’s fine-structure constant and has great Kabbalistic significance—led them to develop an unlikely friendship and to embark on a joint mystical quest reaching deep into medieval alchemy, dream interpretation, and the Chinese Book of Changes. 137 explores the profound intersection of modern science with the occult, but above all it is the tale of an extraordinary, fruitful friendship between two of the greatest thinkers of our times. Originally published in hardcover as Deciphering the Cosmic Number.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393338645
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/17/2010
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 988,889
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Arthur I. Miller is a professor emeritus at University College London. He has published many critically acclaimed books, including Einstein, Picasso; Empire of the Stars; and 137. He lives in London.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Prologue xv

1 Dangerously Famous 3

2 Early Successes, Early Failures 18

3 The Philosopher's Stone 44

4 Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde 51

5 Intermezzo-Three versus Four: Alchemy, Mysticism, and the Dawn of Modern Science 64

6 Pauli, Heisenberg, and the Great Quantum Breakthrough 89

7 Mephistopheles 107

8 The Dark Hunting Ground of the Mind 124

9 Mandalas 148

10 The Superior Man Sets His Life in Order 158

11 Synchronicity 183

12 Dreams of Primal Numbers 208

13 Second Intermezzo-Road to Yesterday 227

14 Through the Looking Glass 233

15 The Mysterious Number 137 247

Epilogue: The Legacy of Pauli and Jung 273

Notes 277

Bibliography 311

Illustration Credits 321

Index 325

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