The Lightness of Being: Mass, Ether, and the Unification of Forces [NOOK Book]

Overview

Our understanding of nature’s deepest reality has changed radically, but almost without our noticing, over the past twenty-five years. Transcending the clash of older ideas about matter and space, acclaimed physicist Frank Wilczek explains a remarkable new discovery: matter is built from almost weightless units, and pure energy is the ultimate source of mass. He calls it “The Lightness of Being.” Space is no mere container, empty and passive. It is a dynamic Grid—a modern ether— and its spontaneous activity ...
See more details below
The Lightness of Being: Mass, Ether, and the Unification of Forces

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • 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 for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$10.49
BN.com price
(Save 38%)$16.95 List Price

Overview

Our understanding of nature’s deepest reality has changed radically, but almost without our noticing, over the past twenty-five years. Transcending the clash of older ideas about matter and space, acclaimed physicist Frank Wilczek explains a remarkable new discovery: matter is built from almost weightless units, and pure energy is the ultimate source of mass. He calls it “The Lightness of Being.” Space is no mere container, empty and passive. It is a dynamic Grid—a modern ether— and its spontaneous activity creates and destroys particles. This new understanding of mass explains the puzzling feebleness of gravity, and a gorgeous unification of all the forces comes sharply into focus.

The Lightness of Being is the first book to explore the implications of these revolutionary ideas about mass, energy, and the nature of “empty space.” In it, Wilczek masterfully presents new perspectives on our incredible universe and envisions a new golden age of fundamental physics.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Grand unification theories have long been a holy grail in science. Nobel Prize-winning physicist Wilczek, who has himself made notable contributions in this field, offers a survey of everything in the universe from quarks to black holes, elucidating the current scientific thinking on how matter and energy interact. The two main concepts are the "Grid" and the "Core." Wilczek says the grid is a conceptual descendant of ether, that mysterious substance scientists once believed filled empty space. Now some physicists theorize that space is highly structured by the grid, which is the "primary ingredient of physical reality" and the substance from which all physical matter is formed. Core theory, on the other hand, provides a "theory of everything," reconciling gravity with electromagnetism and the strong and weak nuclear forces. Wilczek reports a couple of problems with core theory: it's not very elegant (scientists love elegance in their equations), and it hasn't been reconciled with string theory. This book is not for most general readers, but will be a hit with hard-core science buffs. Photos, illus. (Sept.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

Wilczek (physics, MIT), the author of several recreational and theoretical physics books (Fantastic Realities) and a 2004 Nobel laureate in physics, here writes on the physics and cosmology of empty space, mass, gravity, and the fundamental forces that shape our world. Drawing on a series of refined lectures he gave to audiences interested in exploring profound ideas and equally bigger questions on the nature of the universe, Wilczek successfully documents the great discoveries, ideas, and mysteries of our universe. Chapters include commentaries on symmetry, simplicity, unification, and computing matter, and the author uses nontechnical language that is devoid of mathematics and theoretical proofs and that is rich in personal reflection and historical context. Unfortunately, the book lacks editorial direction, fails to define its audience, and is a quantum leap from time-tested classics in this field (e.g. Brian Greene's The Elegant Universe) This is a book destined for leisure reading by general audiences with an appreciation for physics. For the science collections of larger public libraries.
—Ian D. Gordon

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786731688
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 3/25/2009
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 292
  • Sales rank: 431,994
  • File size: 4 MB

Meet the Author

Currently the Herman Feshbach Professor of Physics at MIT, Frank Wilczek won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2004. His 1989 book, Longing for the Harmonies, was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. Wilczek’s work has been anthologized in Best American Science Writing and The Norton Anthology of Light Verse. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

About the Title ix

Reader's Guide xi

Part I The Origin of Mass

1 Getting to It 3

2 Newton's Zeroth Law 11

3 Einstein's Second Law 18

4 What Matters for Matter 22

5 The Hydra Within 26

6 The Bits Within the Its 32

7 Symmetry Incarnate 58

8 The Grid (Persistence of Ether) 73

9 Computing Matter 112

10 The Origin of Mass 128

11 Music of the Grid: A Poem in Two Equations 133

12 Profound Simplicity 135

Part II The Feebleness of Gravity

13 Is Gravity Feeble? Yes, in Practice 145

14 Is Gravity Feeble? No, in Theory 148

15 The Right Question 151

16 A Beautiful Answer 152

Part III Is Beauty Truth?

17 Unification: The Siren's Song 163

18 Unification: Through a Glass, Darkly 177

19 Truthification 182

20 Unification SUSY 185

21 Anticipating a New Golden Age 192

Epilogue: A Smooth Pebble, a Pretty Shell 199

Acknowledgments 205

Appendix A Particles Have Mass, the World Has Energy 207

Appendix B The Multilayered, Multicolored Cosmic Superconductor 211

Appendix C From "Not Wrong" to (Maybe) Right 217

Glossary 221

Notes 243

Illustration Credits 259

Index 261

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 – 7 of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 25, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A primer on modern understanding of matter

    One of the most important scientific stories of 2008 has been the calculation of the heavy particle masses ("hadrons") using some of the most elaborate computational methods yet. This has been yet another vindication of Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD), a strange theory that governs the interactions of particles that make up atomic nuclei. This theory is a cousin of electromagnetism, and like the theory of electromagnetism it is deceptively easy to formulate (at least with the aid of some higher mathematics), but the real-world predictions have been devilishly hard to extract. One of the earliest people to show that QCD does in fact correspond to physical reality was Frank Wilczek, who remarkably did this important work while still in his early twenties. Since then he has gone onto an illustrious career in theoretical Physics that culminated in his winning a Noble Prize for his work. To people in the Physics community he has been known for many years for his lucid expository articles, and we are all fortunate that he has written a book about some of the topics that he is the foremost authority on. The basic premise of this book, as suggested by the title itself, is that most of the stuff that we are surrounded with is in fact trapped energy. Wilckek turns the famous Einstein's equation E =m c^2 around, and in the form m = E/c^2 shows the rationale for why we can have mass as a form of energy. His writing is clear and accessible, and the book is not burdened with the technical details. Even so, many places could potentially be obscure to people who are not familiar with the basic ideas of modern Physics. Overall, however, this is one enjoyable and interesting book and a worthwhile read for anyone who is interested in the latest developments in advanced Physics.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted May 9, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 – 7 of 5 Customer Reviews

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