From the New York Times–bestselling author of Seven Brief Lessons on Physics and The Order of Time, a closer look at the mind-bending nature of the universe.
What are the elementary ingredients of the world? Do time and space exist? And what exactly is reality? Theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli has spent his life exploring these questions. He tells us how our understanding of reality has changed over the centuries and how physicists think about the structure of the universe today.
In elegant and accessible prose, Rovelli takes us on a wondrous journey from Democritus to Albert Einstein, from Michael Faraday to gravitational waves, and from classical physics to his own work in quantum gravity. As he shows us how the idea of reality has evolved over time, Rovelli offers deeper explanations of the theories he introduced so concisely in Seven Brief Lessons on Physics.
This book culminates in a lucid overview of quantum gravity, the field of research that explores the quantum nature of space and time, seeking to unify quantum mechanics and general relativity. Rovelli invites us to imagine a marvelous world where space breaks up into tiny grains, time disappears at the smallest scales, and black holes are waiting to explode—a vast universe still largely undiscovered.
|Publisher:||Penguin Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.90(d)|
About the Author
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INTRODUCTION Walking Along the Shore
Excerpted from "Reality Is Not What It Seems"
Copyright © 2018 Carlo Rovelli.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Introduction: Walking Along the Shore 5
Part 1 Roots
1 Grains 15
Is there a Limit to Divisibility? 23
The Nature of Things 32
2 The Classics 41
ISAAC and the Little Moon 41
Michael: Fields and Light 53
Part 2 The Beginning of the Revolution
3 Albert 67
The Extended Present 69
The Most Beautiful of Theories 77
Mathematics or Physics? 91
The Cosmos 94
4 Quanta 109
Albert Again 110
Niels, Werner, and Paul 114
Fields and Particles are the Same Thing 126
Quanta 1 Information is Finite 130
Quanta 2 Indeterminacy 132
Quanta 3 Reality is Relational 134
But do we Really Understand? 137
Part 3 Quantum Space and Relational Time
5 Spacetime Is Quantum 147
The Loops' First Steps 159
6 Quanta of Space 161
Spectra of Volume and Area 163
Atoms of Space 169
Spin Networks 171
7 Time Does Not Exist 175
Time is not What we Think it is 177
The Candle Chandelier and the Pulse 179
Spacetime Sushi 183
What is the World Made of? 192
Part 4 Beyond Space and Time
8 Beyond the Big Bang 201
The Master 201
Quantum Cosmology 206
9 Empirical Confirmations? 210
Signs from Nature 214
A Window onto Quantum Gravity 218
10 Quantum Black Holes 222
11 The End of Infinity 230
12 Information 238
Thermal Time 249
Reality and Information 253
13 Mystery 258
Annotated Bibliography 270
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Excellent intro to "Loop Quantum Gravity" theory. What's that, you ask? Well, I'm not a science guy, but I must say that the author does a wonderful job of relating the history of physics - beginning with the ancient Greeks, culminating in discussions about space/time quantas. Just a handful of equations, but with references to more technical publications. Highly recommended.
My first introduction to all things quantum. Clearly presented. Glad I took the time to read it slowly. Recommended.