Void: The Strange Physics of Nothing

Void: The Strange Physics of Nothing

by James Owen Weatherall


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Void: The Strange Physics of Nothing by James Owen Weatherall

The rising star author of The Physics of Wall Street explores why “nothing” may hold the key to the next era of theoretical physics

James Owen Weatherall’s previous book, The Physics of Wall Street, was a New York Times best-seller and named one of Physics Today’s five most intriguing books of 2013. In his newest volume, he takes on a fundamental concept of modern physics: nothing. The physics of stuff—protons, neutrons, electrons, and even quarks and gluons—is at least somewhat familiar to most of us. But what about the physics of nothing? Isaac Newton thought of empty space as nothingness extended in all directions, a kind of theater in which physics could unfold. But both quantum theory and relativity tell us that Newton’s picture can’t be right. Nothing, it turns out, is an awful lot like something, with a structure and properties every bit as complex and mysterious as matter. In his signature lively prose, Weatherall explores the very nature of empty space—and solidifies his reputation as a science writer to watch.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780300209983
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication date: 11/22/2016
Series: Foundational Questions in Science
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 551,670
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

James Owen Weatherall is professor of logic and philosophy of science at the University of California, Irvine. He lives in Irvine, CA.

Table of Contents

Prologue: Much Ado about Nothing 3

1 The Plenum and the Void 13

2 Waves of Space Itself 45

3 The Nothing Nothings 85

Epilogue: Why Nothing Really Matters: Quantum Gravity and Beyond 123

Acknowledgments 137

Notes 139

Bibliography 165

Index 189

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