The Comprehensible Cosmos: Where Do the Laws of Physics Come From?

Hardcover (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $9.27
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 68%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (7) from $9.27   
  • New (1) from $37.86   
  • Used (6) from $9.27   

Overview

For those fascinated by how physics explains the universe and affects philosophy, this in-depth presentation of the cosmos, complete with an appendix of mathematical formulas, makes accessible to lay readers findings normally available only to professional scientists. In a series of remarkable developments in the 20th century and continuing into the 21st, elementary particle physicists, astronomers, and cosmologists have removed much of the mystery that surrounds our understanding of the physical universe. We now have mathematical models that are consistent with all observational data, including measurements of incredible precision, and we have a good understanding of why those models take the form they do. But the question arises: Where do the "laws" revealed by the mathematical models come from? Some conjecture that they represent a set of restraints on the behavior of matter that are built into the structure of the universe, either by God or some other ubiquitous governing principle. In this challenging, stimulating discussion of physics and its implications, the author disputes this notion. Instead, he argues that physical laws are simply restrictions on the ways physicists may draw the models they use to represent the behavior of matter if they wish to do so objectively. Since mathematical descriptions of data must be independent of any specific point of view, that is, they must possess "point-of-view invariance" (maximum objectivity), they naturally conform to certain fundamental laws that insure that objectivity, such as the great conservation principles of energy and momentum. The laws of physics, however, are not simply an arbitrary set of rules since the observed data beautifully demonstrate their accuracy.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for the New York Times bestseller God: The Failed Hypothesis:

"I learned an enormous amount from this splendid book."
-Richard Dawkins, author of the New York Times best-seller The God Delusion

"Marshalling converging arguments from physics, astronomy, biology, and philosophy, Stenger has delivered a masterful blow in defense of reason. God: The Failed Hypothesis is a potent, readable, and well-timed assault upon religious delusion. It should be widely read."
-Sam Harris, author of the New York Times bestsellers, The End of Faith and Letter to a Christian Nation

"Extremely tough and impressive...a great book...a huge addition to the arsenal of argument."
-Christopher Hitchens, author of the New York Times bestseller God Is Not Great

Publishers Weekly
Stenger (Has Science Found God?), emeritus professor of physics at the University of Hawaii, goes to great lengths to explain that, although he is not completely convinced that the laws of physics as we know them have objective reality, he doesn't subscribe to the postmodernist notion that there is no such thing as objective reality. Stenger explains that the power of currently accepted models of physics arises from what he calls "point-of-view invariance," i.e., they have the ability to make the same predictions regardless of where or when an observer is taking measurements. While this point is well made and important, Stenger's descriptions of the models of physics and his discussion of cosmology will be largely incomprehensible to the average reader. A third of the book consists of eight mathematical supplements designed for "anyone who has taken the major courses in a four-year curriculum of undergraduate physics, chemistry, engineering, or mathematics." B&w illus. (July) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781591024248
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books
  • Publication date: 11/28/2006
  • Pages: 275
  • Sales rank: 1,201,150
  • Product dimensions: 5.59 (w) x 8.44 (h) x 0.98 (d)

Meet the Author

Victor J. Stenger (1935 - 2014) was an adjunct professor of philosophy at the University of Colorado and emeritus professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Hawaii. He was the author of the New York Times bestseller God: The Failed Hypothesis, God and the Atom, God and the Folly of Faith, The Comprehensible Cosmos, and many other books.
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 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 23, 2006

    Physics Demystified

    Professor Stenger's book draws a map for the non-scientist through the otherwise intimidating terrain of physics. His survey bypasses the winding streets and cul-de-sacs that bewilder strangers, thus emphasizing the major avenues and boulevards that carry visitors from Democritus past Galilei, Newton, Einstein, Feynman, Hawking, and other physics landmarks. These luminaries light Professor Stenger's path from the nothing that preceded everything to the universes on each side of the first moment. 'Nothing' includes neither matter nor energy. He walks us from that nothing void to the everything that includes us, everything from the tiniest strange quark to the greatest discernable distance. He does this by introducing the idea of point of view invariance, the idea that the laws of physics should apply in all reference frames. That simplest of keys opens the way for comprehending the cosmos, even for us who once knew but no longer remember much of calculus and trigonometry. He writes simply and clearly, without requiring the reader to re-read sentences over and over to glean an arcane point. Finally, for those who want meatier explanations in the language of mathematics, he includes several addenda in which he derives with undergraduate mathematics the points he makes earlier in simpler English.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

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