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Just as Henry David Thoreau ?traveled a great deal in Concord,? Nobel Prize?winning physicist Steven Weinberg sees much of the world from the window of his study overlooking Lake Austin. In Lake Views Weinberg, considered by many to be the preeminent theoretical physicist alive today, continues the wide-ranging reflections that have also earned him a reputation as, in the words of New York Times reporter James Glanz, ?a powerful writer of prose that can illuminate?and sting.?
Just as Henry David Thoreau “traveled a great deal in Concord,” Nobel Prize–winning physicist Steven Weinberg sees much of the world from the window of his study overlooking Lake Austin. In Lake Views Weinberg, considered by many to be the preeminent theoretical physicist alive today, continues the wide-ranging reflections that have also earned him a reputation as, in the words of New York Times reporter James Glanz, “a powerful writer of prose that can illuminate—and sting.”
This collection presents Weinberg’s views on topics ranging from problems of cosmology to assorted world issues—military, political, and religious. Even as he moves beyond the bounds of science, each essay reflects his experience as a theoretical physicist. And as in the celebrated Facing Up, the essays express a viewpoint that is rationalist, reductionist, realist, and secular. A new introduction precedes each essay, explaining how it came to be written and bringing it up to date where necessary.
As an essayist, Weinberg insists on seeing things as they are, without despair and with good humor. Sure to provoke his readers—postmodern cultural critics, enthusiasts for manned space flight or missile defense, economic conservatives, sociologists of science, anti-Zionists, and religious zealots—this book nonetheless offers the pleasure of a sustained encounter with one of the most interesting scientific minds of our time.
Many of the themes in Weinberg's work remain timeless. He is in his element at the interface between science and philosophy, such as musing what will happen when science reaches a "final theory" that explains all knowable phenomena. The answer? Well, it involves an extended riff including both nuclear-particle decay and Shakespeare, but Weinberg brilliantly illuminates why he thinks humanity can still find purpose in studying the universe through scientific methods...Weinberg can, within several eloquent pages, distill the essence of why science is important...Unlike nearly any writer living today, Weinberg interpolates science, philosophy and history into a rich and meaningful tapestry of our world.
— Alexandra Witze
Of all top-class theoretical physicists no one, apart from Freeman Dyson, writes with the same combination of authority and grace...The overwhelming impression one has when reading Weinberg is that we are seeing the world through the eyes of someone who not only loves physics but regards the physicist's way of looking at the world as uniquely valuable...All physicists will take pleasure from this book. Many others will enjoy it, too...Dawkins' admirers [should] read Weinberg if they are in the least bit curious about modern physics and how a great physicist thinks about science policy. Lake Views is an excellent place to start.
— Graham Farmelo
This collection of essays proves once again that Weinberg is more than just a top—tier physicist. He is also one of the few scientists brave enough—and knowledgeable enough—to successfully take on the role of public intellectual...It's essential reading.
— Dan Falk
Steven Weinberg is famous as a scientist, but he thinks deeply and writes elegantly about many other things besides science. This collection of his writings is concerned with history, politics, and science in roughly equal measure.
— Freeman Dyson
1 Waiting for a Final Theory 1
2 Can Science Explain Everything? Anything? 6
3 Peace at Last in the Science Wars 24
4 The Future of Science, and the Universe 28
5 Dark Energy 47
6 How Great Equations Survive 52
7 On Missile Defense 59
8 The Growing Nuclear Danger 80
9 Is the Universe a Computer? 96
10 Foreword to A Century of Nature 113
11 Ambling toward Apocalypse 116
12 What Price Glory? 123
13 Four Golden Lessons 146
14 The Wrong Stuff 150
15 A Turning Point? 168
16 About Oppenheimer 172
17 Einstein's Search for Unification 178
18 Einstein's Mistakes 186
19 Living in the Multiverse 196
20 Against the Boycott 205
21 A Deadly Certitude 210
22 To the Postdocs 218
23 Science or Spacemen 222
24 Israel and the Liberals 226
25 Without God 229