The Life of the Cosmos

The Life of the Cosmos

5.0 4
by Lee Smolin
     
 

ISBN-10: 0195126645

ISBN-13: 9780195126648

Pub. Date: 03/28/1999

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

Cosmologist Lee Smolin offers a startling new theory of the universe that is at once elegant, comprehensive, and radically different from anything proposed before. In The Life of the Cosmos, Smolin cuts the Gordian knot of cosmology with a simple, powerful idea: "The underlying structure of our world," he writes, "is to be found in the logic of evolution." Today's…  See more details below

Overview

Cosmologist Lee Smolin offers a startling new theory of the universe that is at once elegant, comprehensive, and radically different from anything proposed before. In The Life of the Cosmos, Smolin cuts the Gordian knot of cosmology with a simple, powerful idea: "The underlying structure of our world," he writes, "is to be found in the logic of evolution." Today's physicists have overturned Newton's view of the universe, yet they continue to cling to an understanding of reality not unlike Newton's own - as a clock, an intricate mechanism, governed by laws which are mathematical and eternally true. Smolin argues that the laws of nature we observe may be in part the result of a process of natural selection which took place before the big bang. Smolin's ideas are based on recent developments in cosmology, quantum theory, relativity and string theory, yet they offer, at the same time, an unprecedented view of how these developments may fit together to form a new theory of cosmology. From this perspective, the lines between the simple and the complex, the fundamental and the emergent, and even between the biological and the physical are redrawn. The result is a framework that illuminates many intractable problems, from the paradoxes of quantum theory and the nature of space and time to the problem of constructing a final theory of physics. As he argues for this new view, Smolin introduces the reader to recent developments in a wide range of fields, from string theory and quantum gravity to evolutionary theory the structure of galaxies. He examines the philosophical roots of controversies in the foundations of physics, and shows how they may be transformed as science moves toward understanding the universe as an interrelated, self-constructed entity, within which life and complexity have a natural place, and in which "the occurrence of novelty, indeed the perpetual birth of novelty, can be understood."

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195126648
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
03/28/1999
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
368
Sales rank:
774,405
Product dimensions:
9.10(w) x 6.00(h) x 1.10(d)

Related Subjects

Table of Contents

Prologue/Revolutions1
Introduction11
1Light and Life23
2The Logic of Atomism30
3The Miracle of the Stars36
4The Dream of Unification47
5The Lessons of String Theory58
6Are the Laws of Physics Universal?75
7Did the Universe Evolve?90
8Detective Work107
9The Ecology of the Galaxy116
10Games and Galaxies129
11What is Life?141
12The Cosmology of an Interesting Universe161
13The Flower and the Dodecahedron177
14Philosophy, Religion, and Cosmology192
15Beyond the Anthropic Principle202
16Space and Time in the New Cosmology213
17The Road from Newton to Einstein222
18The Meaning of Einstein's Theory of Relativity233
19The Meaning of the Quantum240
20Cosmology and the Quantum257
21A Pluralistic Universe267
22The World as a Network of Relations276
23The Evolution of Time285
Epilogue/Evolutions294
AppTesting Cosmological Natural Selection301
Notes and Acknowledgments324
Selected Bibliography337
Glossary342
Index347

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The Life of the Cosmos 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
PerryStroika More than 1 year ago
I don't think you could find a better explication of the issues that confront 21st century physics, the unification of quantum physics and relativity, the fine tuning problem,  and scores of other issues.  The book is crisp, unpretentious, and  finely written.  Smolin is an excellent teacher, and has an unusually broad range of reference among physicists; he refers to literature, philosophy and biology frequently for inspiration.   I can't imagine a book that covers this sort of stuff any better than this.
Guest More than 1 year ago
An additional comment: Chapters 8 an 9 describe how stars are made in the cosmos and may well be the most exciting chapters in all literature dealing with the cosmos, entropy and mega-physical processes
Guest More than 1 year ago
Smolin introduces a whole new set of ways to examine and study the Cosmos. He lifts the reader from the standard texts and descriptions to a new level of thought and insights into the interrealtionship that may have evolved over the life of the Universe. (Yes, evolved)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago