Decoding the Universe: How the New Science of Information Is Explaining Everythingin the Cosmos, fromOur Brains to Black Holes [NOOK Book]

Overview

The author of Zero explains the scientific revolution that is transforming the way we understand our world Previously the domain of philosophers and linguists, information theory has now moved beyond the province of code breakers to become the crucial science of our time. In Decoding the Universe, Charles Seife draws on his gift for making cutting-edge science accessible to explain how this new tool is deciphering everything from the purpose of our DNA to the parallel universes of our Byzantine cosmos. The result...
See more details below
Decoding the Universe: How the New Science of Information Is Explaining Everythingin the Cosmos, fromOur Brains to Black Holes

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$13.99
BN.com price

Overview

The author of Zero explains the scientific revolution that is transforming the way we understand our world Previously the domain of philosophers and linguists, information theory has now moved beyond the province of code breakers to become the crucial science of our time. In Decoding the Universe, Charles Seife draws on his gift for making cutting-edge science accessible to explain how this new tool is deciphering everything from the purpose of our DNA to the parallel universes of our Byzantine cosmos. The result is an exhilarating adventure that deftly combines cryptology, physics, biology, and mathematics to cast light on the new understanding of the laws that govern life and the universe.



Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Once the sole province of linguists and philosophers, information theory has become a central generative science. Charles Seife's Decoding the Universe describes how theorists came to understand that information is not simply a mental construct but also a fundamental element of the physical world. With engaging clarity, Seife explains the implications of this discovery for advanced physics and, indeed, the nature of time and space.
Publishers Weekly
In a book that's all but impossible to put down, science journalist Seife (Alpha & Omega) explains how the concepts of information theory have begun to unlock many of the mysteries of the universe, from quantum mechanics to black holes and the likely end of the universe. Seife presents a compelling case that information is the one constant that ties all of science, indeed all of the universe, together. His skill with language permits him to do what many have tried and few have accomplished-making complicated concepts of quantum mechanics accessible to the average reader. Seife demonstrates how quantum oddities so alien to classical physics actually are consistent with the same physical laws that govern the world we see. For example, the fact that entangled particles half a universe away can instantaneously communicate with one another (what Einstein called "spooky action" at a distance), apparently violating the law that nothing can exceed the speed of light, can be understood through information theory. Seife takes all of this to a most bizarre, but logical, conclusion reached by many cosmologists: the universe as we know it is but one of an infinite number of universes, all brought into being through information transfer. (Feb. 6) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
"Civilization is doomed," science journalist Seife (Alpha & Omega) begins, in large part blaming a bad case of information overload. This is not just the kind of information on a printed page or transmitted over the Internet, though-it is also a physical reality that can be studied, expressed, and applied mathematically and the subject of this book. Information theory is a late 20th-century breakthrough in science, with origins in cryptography and Boolean logic, that is rapidly being extended to explore phenomena in both the natural and the physical sciences, up to cosmology and its ultimate calculation of the inevitable demise of intelligent life in the universe. Seife devotes much of the content to reviewing the history of modern thermodynamics, relativity theory, and quantum physics but with a new twist that shows how understanding the nature of information can solve problems and paradoxes. Seife, who holds advanced degrees in probability theory and artificial intelligence, packs a lot of intellectual depth into accessible language, and he keeps the narrative conversational. Recommended for academic and larger public libraries. Also, librarians who justifiably consider themselves to be information experts can benefit from the perspectives and possibilities of this book.-Gregg Sapp, Science Lib., SUNY at Albany Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101201275
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 1/30/2007
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 913,887
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Charles Seife, a journalist with Science magazine, has also written for New Scientist, Scientific American, The Economist, Wired UK, and The Sciences, among many other publications. His previous titles include Alpha & Omega and Zero. He received an MS in Probability Theory and Artificial Intelligence from Yale.



Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Ch. 1 Redundancy 5
Ch. 2 Demons 21
Ch. 3 Information 56
Ch. 4 Life 88
Ch. 5 Faster than light 119
Ch. 6 Paradox 153
Ch. 7 Quantum information 180
Ch. 8 Conflict 217
Ch. 9 Cosmos 241
App. A The logarithm 267
App. B Entropy and information 269
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 – 5 of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 29, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Charles Seife as Interpreter of Physics and Information Science

    Were it not for the sloppy and poorly thought out ninth chapter this book would have been a masterpiece of science writing. Charles Seife is able to explain confusing concepts such a entropy, quantum mechanics, qubits, and black holes with a clarity, understanding, and skill which is, to say the least, extremely rare. This young man is a powerful writer with an unobtrusive style and a deep understanding of science-- a marriage of abilities made in heaven.

    If "Decoding the Universe" had ended with chapter eight things might have been different. The reader had already been taken for a tour of thermodynamics (illustrated by the idea of randomly rowing marbles into a box and calculating bell curve distributions), the information theory of Claude Shannon and Rolf Landauer and Charles Bennett, the role of information in special relativity, the meaning of superposition and discoherence in quantum mechanics, and the nature of entanglement and the EPR thought experiment. But once we pass the opening pages of the chapter nine, we are launched into a discussion of how the universe is infinite and then, later, we are told that the universe is dying (even though it is infinite and can't die). Then we are told about the many worlds theory which Seife seems to confuse with Vilikin's infinite inflation bublle theory.

    How can a text that is so good fall into such incoherence (as opposed to discoherence)? It is almost as if the book had to be finished in ten minutes or an hour and the author threw some notes together to make a final chapter.

    Also, chapter eight ends with a confession that entanglement cannot be explained by physics. Then in the last chapter he throws in an undigested mass of notes on Everett and David Deutsch and proposes that superposition and entanglement can be understood if we allow that the universe splits in half each time nature (or man) takes a measurement of multistate particles.

    Earlier in the book there is an interesting discussion of whether the brain is a quantum computer, an idea entertained by Sir Roger Penrose in a trilogy of books. But no, says Seife, quoting Max Tegmark, the neurons in the brain are orders of magnitude slower than the rate of discoherence which is nothing more than the rate that photons and other particles strike the neuro-chemicals. They could never sustain a state of superposition long enough to function as qubits-- the brain must be a classical computing device.

    I would like to hear what Sir Roger has to say about this.

    All in all I admire Mr Seife's work. His weakness is that he is poorly trained in philosophy and theology. But he will learn and grow and one day I expect to see a magnum opus from his hand.

    **Stephen Zaddikmann

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 – 5 of 6 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)