It is now more than a century since Einstein's theories of Special and General Relativity began to revolutionize our view of the universe. Beginning near the speed of light and proceeding to explorations of space-time and curved spaces, "Introducing Relativity" plots a visually accessible course through the thought experiments that have given shape to contemporary physics. Scientists from Newton to Hawking add their unique contributions to this story, as we encounter Einstein's astounding vision of gravity as the curvature of space-time and arrive at the breathtakingly beautiful field equations. Einstein's legacy is reviewed in the most advanced frontiers of physics today - black holes, gravitational waves, the accelerating universe and string theory. This is a superlative, fascinating graphic account of Einstein's strange world and how his legacy has been built upon since.
"A bracing swim in the waters of science, technology and fiction." --Washington Post
"A thrilling journey of ideas." --Boston Globe From the acclaimed author of The Information and Chaos, here is a mind-bending exploration of time travel: its subversive origins, its evolution in literature and science, and its influence on our understanding of time itself. The story begins at the turn of the previous century, with the young H. G. Wells writing and rewriting the fantastic tale that became his first book and an international sensation: The Time Machine. It was an era when a host of forces was converging to transmute the human understanding of time, some philosophical and some technological: the electric telegraph, the steam railroad, the discovery of buried civilizations, and the perfection of clocks. James Gleick tracks the evolution of time travel as an idea that becomes part of contemporary culture--from Marcel Proust to Doctor Who, from Jorge Luis Borges to Woody Allen. He investigates the inevitable looping paradoxes and examines the porous boundary between pulp fiction and modern physics. Finally, he delves into a temporal shift that is unsettling our own moment: the instantaneous wired world, with its all-consuming present and vanishing future. (With a color frontispiece and black-and-white illustrations throughout)
Weaving together the great ideas of science, The Reality Frame takes us on a thrilling journey from empty space all the way to the human mind.
Acclaimed science writer Brian Clegg builds up reality piece by piece, from space, to time, to matter, movement, the fundamental forces, life, and the massive transformation that life itself has wrought on the natural world. He reveals that underlying it all is not, as we might believe, a system of immovable absolutes, but the ever-shifting, amorphous world of relativity.
From religion to philosophy, humanity has traditionally sought out absolutes to explain the world around us, but as science has developed, relativity has swept away many of these certainties, leaving only a handful of unchangeable essentials- such as absolute zero, nothingness, light- leading to better science and a new understanding of the essence of being human.
This is an Ascent of Man for the 21st century, the gripping story of modern science that will fill you with wonder and give you a new insight into our place in the universe.
The definitive, internationally bestselling biography of Albert Einstein. Now the basis of Genius, the ten-part National Geographic series on the life of Albert Einstein, starring the Oscar, Emmy, and Tony Award--winning actor Geoffrey Rush as Einstein.How did his mind work? What made him a genius? Isaacson's biography shows how Einstein's scientific imagination sprang from the rebellious nature of his personality. His fascinating story is a testament to the connection between creativity and freedom. Einstein explores how an imaginative, impertinent patent clerk--a struggling father in a difficult marriage who couldn't get a teaching job or a doctorate--became the mind reader of the creator of the cosmos, the locksmith of the mysteries of the atom, and the universe. His success came from questioning conventional wisdom and marveling at mysteries that struck others as mundane. This led him to embrace a morality and politics based on respect for free minds, free spirits, and free individuals. Einstein, the classic #1 New York Times bestseller, is a brilliantly acclaimed account of the most influential scientist of the twentieth century, "an illuminating delight" (The New York Times). The basis for the National Geographic series Genius, by the author of The Innovators, Steve Jobs, and Benjamin Franklin, this is the definitive biography of Albert Einstein.
A half century ago, a shocking Washington Post headline claimed that the world began in five cataclysmic minutes rather than having existed for all time; a skeptical scientist dubbed the maverick theory the Big Bang. In this amazingly comprehensible history of the universe, Simon Singh decodes the mystery behind the Big Bang theory, lading us through the development of one of the most extraordinary, important, and awe-inspiring theories in science.--Wall Street Journal on The Code Book
Every physicist agrees quantum mechanics is among humanity's finest scientific achievements. But ask what it means, and the result will be a brawl. For a century, most physicists have followed Niels Bohr's solipsistic and poorly reasoned Copenhagen interpretation. Indeed, questioning it has long meant professional ruin, yet some daring physicists, such as John Bell, David Bohm, and Hugh Everett, persisted in seeking the true meaning of quantum mechanics. What Is Real? is the gripping story of this battle of ideas and the courageous scientists who dared to stand up for truth.
"An excellent, accessible account." --Wall Street Journal
"Splendid. . . . Deeply detailed research, accompanied by charming anecdotes about the scientists." --Washington Post
Einstein said that the most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible. But was he right? Can the quantum theory of fields and Einstein's general theory of relativity, the two most accurate and successful theories in all of physics, be united in a single quantum theory of gravity? Can quantum and cosmos ever be combined? On this issue, two of the world's most famous physicists--Stephen Hawking (A Brief History of Time) and Roger Penrose (The Emperor's New Mind and Shadows of the Mind)--disagree. Here they explain their positions in a work based on six lectures with a final debate, all originally presented at the Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences at the University of Cambridge.
How could quantum gravity, a theory that could explain the earlier moments of the big bang and the physics of the enigmatic objects known as black holes, be constructed? Why does our patch of the universe look just as Einstein predicted, with no hint of quantum effects in sight? What strange quantum processes can cause black holes to evaporate, and what happens to all the information that they swallow? Why does time go forward, not backward?
In this book, the two opponents touch on all these questions. Penrose, like Einstein, refuses to believe that quantum mechanics is a final theory. Hawking thinks otherwise, and argues that general relativity simply cannot account for how the universe began. Only a quantum theory of gravity, coupled with the no-boundary hypothesis, can ever hope to explain adequately what little we can observe about our universe. Penrose, playing the realist to Hawking's positivist, thinks that the universe is unbounded and will expand forever. The universe can be understood, he argues, in terms of the geometry of light cones, the compression and distortion of spacetime, and by the use of twistor theory. With the final debate, the reader will come to realize how much Hawking and Penrose diverge in their opinions of the ultimate quest to combine quantum mechanics and relativity, and how differently they have tried to comprehend the incomprehensible.
The philosophy of religion and the quest for spiritual truth preoccupied Albert Einstein--so much that it has been said "one might suspect he was a disguised theologian." Nevertheless, the literature on the life and work of Einstein, extensive as it is, does not provide an adequate account of his religious conception and sentiments. Only fragmentarily known, Einstein's ideas about religion have been often distorted both by atheists and by religious groups eager to claim him as one of their own. But what exactly was Einstein's religious credo? In this fascinating book, the distinguished physicist and philosopher Max Jammer offers an unbiased and well-documented answer to this question.
The book begins with a discussion of Einstein's childhood religious education and the religious atmosphere--or its absence--among his family and friends. It then reconstructs, step by step, the intellectual development that led Einstein to the conceptions of a cosmic religion and an impersonal God, akin to "the God of Spinoza." Jammer explores Einstein's writings and lectures on religion and its role in society, and how far they have been accepted by the general public and by professional theologians like Paul Tillich or Frederick Ferr . He also analyzes the precise meaning of Einstein's famous dictum "Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind," and why this statement can serve as an epitome of Einstein's philosophy of religion.
The last chapter deals with the controversial question of whether Einstein's scientific work, and in particular his theory of relativity, has theologically significant implications, a problem important for those who are interested in the relation between science and religion. Both thought-provoking and engaging, this book aims to introduce readers, without proselytizing, to Einstein's religion.
Ronald W. Clark's definitive biography of Einstein, the Promethean figure of our age, goes behind the phenomenal intellect to reveal the human side of the legendary absent-minded professor who confidently claimed that space and time were not what they seemed.
Here is the classic portrait of the scientist and the man: the boy growing up in the Swiss Alps, the young man caught in an unhappy first marriage, the passionate pacifist who agonized over making The Bomb, the indifferent Zionist asked to head the Israeli state, the physicist who believed in God.