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Fashion, Faith, and Fantasy in the New Physics of the Universe
Author: Roger Penrose
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400880289
Pages: 520
Year: 2016-09-13
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What can fashionable ideas, blind faith, or pure fantasy possibly have to do with the scientific quest to understand the universe? Surely, theoretical physicists are immune to mere trends, dogmatic beliefs, or flights of fancy? In fact, acclaimed physicist and bestselling author Roger Penrose argues that researchers working at the extreme frontiers of physics are just as susceptible to these forces as anyone else. In this provocative book, he argues that fashion, faith, and fantasy, while sometimes productive and even essential in physics, may be leading today's researchers astray in three of the field's most important areas—string theory, quantum mechanics, and cosmology. Arguing that string theory has veered away from physical reality by positing six extra hidden dimensions, Penrose cautions that the fashionable nature of a theory can cloud our judgment of its plausibility. In the case of quantum mechanics, its stunning success in explaining the atomic universe has led to an uncritical faith that it must also apply to reasonably massive objects, and Penrose responds by suggesting possible changes in quantum theory. Turning to cosmology, he argues that most of the current fantastical ideas about the origins of the universe cannot be true, but that an even wilder reality may lie behind them. Finally, Penrose describes how fashion, faith, and fantasy have ironically also shaped his own work, from twistor theory, a possible alternative to string theory that is beginning to acquire a fashionable status, to "conformal cyclic cosmology," an idea so fantastic that it could be called "conformal crazy cosmology." The result is an important critique of some of the most significant developments in physics today from one of its most eminent figures.
Time Reborn
Author: Lee Smolin
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN: 0547511728
Pages: 319
Year: 2013
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A theoretical physicist and author of the controversial best-seller The Trouble with Physics describes his new approach for thinking about the reality of time and explains his theory about the laws of physics not being timeless but rather capable of evolving.
Cycles of Time
Author: Roger Penrose
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 0307596745
Pages: 304
Year: 2011-09-06
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This groundbreaking book presents a new perspective on three of cosmology’s essential questions: What came before the Big Bang? What is the source of order in our universe? And what cosmic future awaits us? Penrose shows how the expected fate of our ever-accelerating and expanding universe—heat death or ultimate entropy—can actually be reinterpreted as the conditions that will begin a new “Big Bang.” He details the basic principles beneath our universe, explaining various standard and non-standard cosmological models, the fundamental role of the cosmic microwave background, the paramount significance of black holes, and other basic building blocks of contemporary physics. Intellectually thrilling and widely accessible, Cycles of Time is a welcome new contribution to our understanding of the universe from one of our greatest mathematicians and thinkers.
Shadows of the Mind
Author: Roger Penrose
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
ISBN: 0195106466
Pages: 457
Year: 1994
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Presenting a look at the human mind's capacity while criticizing artificial intelligence, the author makes suggestions about classical and quantum physics and the role of microtubules
The Emperor's New Mind
Author: Roger Penrose
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0198784929
Pages: 602
Year: 2016
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For many decades, the proponents of `artificial intelligence' have maintained that computers will soon be able to do everything that a human can do. In his bestselling work of popular science, Sir Roger Penrose takes us on a fascinating tour through the basic principles of physics, cosmology, mathematics, and philosophy to show that human thinking can never be emulated by a machine. Oxford Landmark Science books are 'must-read' classics of modern science writing which have crystallized big ideas, and shaped the way we think.
The Willpower Instinct
Author: Kelly McGonigal
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 1101553731
Pages: 272
Year: 2011-12-29
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Based on Stanford University psychologist Kelly McGonigal's wildly popular course "The Science of Willpower," The Willpower Instinct is the first book to explain the new science of self-control and how it can be harnessed to improve our health, happiness, and productivity. Informed by the latest research and combining cutting-edge insights from psychology, economics, neuroscience, and medicine, The Willpower Instinct explains exactly what willpower is, how it works, and why it matters. For example, readers will learn: Willpower is a mind-body response, not a virtue. It is a biological function that can be improved through mindfulness, exercise, nutrition, and sleep. Willpower is not an unlimited resource. Too much self-control can actually be bad for your health. Temptation and stress hijack the brain's systems of self-control, but the brain can be trained for greater willpower Guilt and shame over your setbacks lead to giving in again, but self-forgiveness and self-compassion boost self-control. Giving up control is sometimes the only way to gain self-control. Willpower failures are contagious—you can catch the desire to overspend or overeat from your friends­­—but you can also catch self-control from the right role models. In the groundbreaking tradition of Getting Things Done, The Willpower Instinct combines life-changing prescriptive advice and complementary exercises to help readers with goals ranging from losing weight to more patient parenting, less procrastination, better health, and greater productivity at work.
Schrodinger's Cat Trilogy
Author: Robert A. Wilson
Publisher: Dell
ISBN: 0307573931
Pages: 560
Year: 2009-10-21
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The sequel to the cult classic The Illuminatus! Trilogy, this is an epic fantasy that offers a twisted look at our modern-day world--a reality that exists in another dimension of time and space that may be closer than we think.
A Beautiful Question
Author: Frank Wilczek
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 0143109367
Pages: 448
Year: 2016
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A respected physicist presents a survey of related discoveries, from Plato and Pythagoras up to the present, that explore how intertwined ideas about beauty and art are with scientific understandings of the cosmos.
The Lucifer Principle
Author: Howard Bloom
Publisher: Open Road + Grove/Atlantic
ISBN: 0802192181
Pages: 466
Year: 2013-11-01
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The Lucifer Priciple is a revolutionary work that explores the intricate relationships among genetics, human behavior, and culture to put forth the thesis that “evil” is a by-product of nature’s strategies for creation and that it is woven into our most basic biological fabric. In a sweeping narrative that moves lucidly among sophisticated scientific disciplines and covers the entire span of the earth’s, as well as mankind’s, history, Howard Bloom challenges some of our most popular scientific assumptions. Drawing on evidence from studies of the most primitive organisms to those on ants, apes, and humankind, the author makes a persuasive case that it is the group, or “superorganism,” rather than the lone individual that really matters in the evolutionary struggle. But, Bloom asserts, the prominence of society and culture does not necessarily mitigate against our most violent, aggressive instincts. In fact, under the right circumstances the mentality of the group will only amplify our most primitive and deadly urges. In Bloom’s most daring contention he draws an analogy between the biological material whose primordial multiplication began life on earth and the ideas, or “memes,” that define, give cohesion to, and justify human superorganisms. Some of the most familiar memes are utopian in nature—Christianity or Marxism; nonetheless, these are fueled by the biological impulse to climb to the top of the heirarchy. With the meme’s insatiable hunger to enlarge itself, we have a precise prescription for war. Biology is not destiny; but human culture is not always the buffer to our most primitive instincts we would like to think it is. In these complex threads of thought lies the Lucifer Principle, and only through understanding its mandates will we able to avoid the nuclear crusades that await us in the twenty-first century.
The Power of Music
Author: Elena Mannes
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA
ISBN: 0802719961
Pages: 263
Year: 2011-05-24
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The award-winning creator of the documentary The Music Instinct traces the efforts of visionary researchers and musicians to understand the biological foundations of music and its relationship to the brain and the physical world. 35,000 first printing.
The Physics of Christianity
Author: Frank J. Tipler
Publisher: Image
ISBN: 0385521847
Pages: 352
Year: 2007-03-20
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A highly respected physicist demonstrates that the essential beliefs of Christianity are wholly consistent with the laws of physics. Frank Tipler takes an exciting new approach to the age-old dispute about the relationship between science and religion in The Physics of Christianity. In reviewing centuries of writings and discussions, Tipler realized that in all the debate about science versus religion, there was no serious scientific research into central Christian claims and beliefs. So Tipler embarked on just such a scientific inquiry. The Physics of Christianity presents the fascinating results of his pioneering study. Tipler begins by outlining the basic concepts of physics for the lay reader and brings to light the underlying connections between physics and theology. In a compelling example, he illustrates how the God depicted by Jews and Christians, the Uncaused First Cause, is completely consistent with the Cosmological Singularity, an entity whose existence is required by physical law. His discussion of the scientific possibility of miracles provides an impressive, credible scientific foundation for many of Christianity’s most astonishing claims, including the Virgin Birth, the Resurrection, and the Incarnation. He even includes specific outlines for practical experiments that can help prove the validity of the “miracles” at the heart of Christianity. Tipler’s thoroughly rational approach and fully accessible style sets The Physics of Christianity apart from other books dealing with conflicts between science and religion. It will appeal not only to Christian readers, but also to anyone interested in an issue that triggers heated and divisive intellectual and cultural debates.
Now: The Physics of Time
Author: Richard A. Muller
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 0393285243
Pages: 352
Year: 2016-09-20
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From the celebrated author of the best-selling Physics for Future Presidents comes “a provocative, strongly argued book on the fundamental nature of time” (Lee Smolin). You are reading the word “now” right now. But what does that mean? What makes the ephemeral moment “now” so special? Its enigmatic character has bedeviled philosophers, priests, and modern-day physicists from Augustine to Einstein and beyond. Einstein showed that the flow of time is affected by both velocity and gravity, yet he despaired at his failure to explain the meaning of “now.” Equally puzzling: why does time flow? Some physicists have given up trying to understand, and call the flow of time an illusion, but the eminent experimentalist physicist Richard A. Muller protests. He says physics should explain reality, not deny it. In Now, Muller does more than poke holes in past ideas; he crafts his own revolutionary theory, one that makes testable predictions. He begins by laying out—with the refreshing clarity that made Physics for Future Presidents so successful—a firm and remarkably clear explanation of the physics building blocks of his theory: relativity, entropy, entanglement, antimatter, and the Big Bang. With the stage then set, he reveals a startling way forward. Muller’s monumental work will spark major debate about the most fundamental assumptions of our universe, and may crack one of physics’s longest-standing enigmas.
A Random Walk in Science,
Author: Robert L. Weber
Publisher: CRC Press
ISBN: 085498027X
Pages: 206
Year: 1973-01-01
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This anthology provides an insight into the wit and intellect of the scientific mind through a blend of amusing and serious contributions written by and about scientists. The contributions record changing attitudes within science and mirror the interactions of science with society.
Haunted Universe
Author: Steven Norquist
Publisher:
ISBN: 1439253080
Pages: 415
Year: 2009-10-29
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"FIRST EDITION" This is the original release of "Haunted Universe." This edition is not published anymore and has been replaced by the "Newly Revised Edition."
State, Space, World
Author: Henri Lefebvre
Publisher: U of Minnesota Press
ISBN: 081665316X
Pages: 330
Year: 2009
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Making the political aspect of Lefebvre's work available in English for the first time, this book contains essays on philosophy, political theory, state formation, spatial planning, and globalization, as well as provocative reflections on the possibilities and limits of grassroots democracy under advanced capitalism.