Between Inner Space and Outer Space: Essays on Science, Art and Philosophy

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The origins of life on earth, the workings of the human mind, the mysteries of the Universe itself--profound questions such as these were once the province of philosophy and theology alone. Today they have become the staple--and indeed the hallmark--of the finest writing about science. And few science writers have tackled the big questions as persistently and as insightfully as astronomer John Barrow.
Now, in Between Inner Space and Outer Space, Barrow brings together dozens ...
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Overview


The origins of life on earth, the workings of the human mind, the mysteries of the Universe itself--profound questions such as these were once the province of philosophy and theology alone. Today they have become the staple--and indeed the hallmark--of the finest writing about science. And few science writers have tackled the big questions as persistently and as insightfully as astronomer John Barrow.
Now, in Between Inner Space and Outer Space, Barrow brings together dozens of essays that offer a sweeping account of his explorations along the boundary lines of science, philosophy, and religion. Here is an invigorating tour of topics such as cosmology, evolution, Grand Unified Theories, complexity and chaos, the nature of time, super string theory, quantum mechanics, particle physics, Big Bang theory, and much more. Barrow's range is remarkable. He examines, for instance, what science can tell us about our love of music or why certain paintings appeal to us. He recounts the dramatic discoveries made by the satellite COBE (Cosmic Background Explorer) and reveals what these findings tell us about the origins of the Cosmos. He discusses the debate over the nature of the universe waged by Stephen Hawking and Roger Penrose. And he offers a thoughtful review of E.O. Wilson's Consilience, seconding Wilson's criticism of social scientists who remain quite ignorant of the key insights made by the life sciences.
Leavened with a sprightly sense of humor, Between Inner Space and Outer Space illuminates modern science as it provides much food for thought about life's ultimate questions.
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Editorial Reviews

Science News Books
Barrow offers a "gentle introduction" to some of the key problems he and his colleagues face in determining the origins of the universe; the utility of mathematics, complexity and chaos; and an ultimate theory of everything.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780192880413
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 6/22/2000
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.70 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

John D. Barrow is Professor of Astronomy at the University of Sussex. Among his many popular books on science are Impossibility, Pi in the Sky, Theories of Everything, and The Origin of the Universe. He lives in Sussex, England.

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Table of Contents

Pt. 1 The popularisation of science 1
1 As well as science what do you know? 3
2 In the world's image 6
3 Falling between two cultures 11
Pt. 2 Life in the Universe 15
4 Anthropic principles in cosmology 19
5 Sizing up the Universe 31
6 Are there any laws of physics? 42
7 Long-distance calls 47
8 The truth is in the choosing 50
Pt. 3 Theories of everything - even gravity 55
9 Theories of everything 57
10 Limits of science 66
11 Of the utmost gravity 76
12 Getting it together 78
Pt. 4 Mathematics 83
13 Why is the Universe mathematical? 85
14 It's all Platonic pi in the sky 99
15 Counter culture 102
16 Rational vote doomed 106
Pt. 5 Simplicity and complexity 109
17 Complexity 111
18 Where the wild things are 114
19 Patterns emerging from a complex world 117
20 Chance and determinism 120
21 Outlook moderate to fair; winds, changeable 126
22 Why is the world comprehensible? 128
Pt. 6 Aesthetics 139
23 Survival of the artiest 142
24 Musical cheers and the beautiful noise 147
25 Stars in their ancient eyes 152
Pt. 7 Time 157
26 Cosmological time 161
27 Universe began in no time at all 176
28 Arrows and some banana skins 179
Pt. 8 Quantum reality 183
29 In the best of all possible worlds 187
30 Great Dane 193
31 Complementary concepts 199
32 Much ado about nothing 202
Pt. 9 Religion and science 207
33 Doubting castles in the air 211
34 Immortal, invisible ... not really there? 216
35 Accepting Pascal's wager 219
36 Getting something from nothing 222
Pt. 10 Cosmology 227
37 An explosion into time and space 231
38 What COBE saw 237
39 Is the Universe open or closed? 241
40 The origin of the Universe 248
41 Battle of the giants 260
42 They came from inner space 263
Index 269
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