Three Roads To Quantum Gravity (Science Masters)

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9780465078356: Three Roads To Quantum Gravity (Science Masters)

"It would be hard to imagine a better guide to this difficult subject."--Scientific American
In Three Roads to Quantum Gravity, Lee Smolin provides an accessible overview of the attempts to build a final "theory of everything." He explains in simple terms what scientists are talking about when they say the world is made from exotic entities such as loops, strings, and black holes and tells the fascinating stories behind these discoveries: the rivalries, epiphanies, and intrigues he witnessed firsthand.

"A mix of science, philosophy and science fiction, [this] is at once entertaining, thought-provoking, fabulously ambitious and fabulously speculative." -The New York Times

"Provocative, original, and unsettling." -The New York Review of Books

"An excellent writer, a creative thinker."-Nature

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Review:

It's difficult, writes Lee Smolin in this lucid overview of modern physics, to talk meaningfully about the big questions of space and time, given the limitations of our technology and perceptions.

It's more difficult still given some of the contradictions and inconsistencies that obtain between quantum theory, which "was invented to explain why atoms are stable and do not instantly fall apart" but has little to say about space and time, and general relatively theory, which has everything to say about the big picture but tends to collapse when describing the behavior of atoms and their even smaller constituents. Whence the hero of Smolin's tale, the as-yet-incomplete quantum theory of gravity, which seeks to unify relativity and quantum theory--and, in the bargain, to move toward a "grand theory of everything." Smolin ably explains concepts that underlie quantum gravity, such as background independence, the superposition principle, and the notion of causal structure, and he traces the development of allied theories that have shaped modern physics and led to this new view of the universe.

Although he allows that "it has not been possible to test any of our new theories of quantum gravity experimentally," Smolin predicts that a solid framework will be established by 2015 at the outside. If he's correct, the years in between promise to be an exciting time for students of the physical sciences, and Smolin's book makes an engaging introduction to some of the big questions they'll be asking. --Gregory McNamee

About the Author:

Lee Smolin, Professor of Physics at the Center for Gravitational Physics and Geometry at Pennsylvania State University, is a visiting professor at the Imperial College, London, through spring 2001. A leading contributor to the search for a unification of quantum theory, cosmology, and relativity, he is the author of The Life of the Cosmos.

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Lee Smolin
Editore: Basic Books (2001)
ISBN 10: 0465078354 ISBN 13: 9780465078356
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Descrizione libro Basic Books, 2001. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. Codice libro della libreria DADAX0465078354

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