DREAM UNIVERSE: How Fundamental Physics Lost Its Way

Book number: 91676 Product format: Hardback Author: DAVID LINDLEY

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Bibliophile price £3.00
Published price £22.50

Editor at Nature, Science and Science News and the author of Uncertainty, David Lindley holds a PhD in Astro-Physics from Sussex University and in his book provides vivid and captivating narrative about the emergence of modern science and how fundamental physics is regressing to its pre-scientific roots. In the early 17th century, Galileo broke free from the hold of ancient Platonic and Aristotelian philosophy. When he asserted that we should base our understanding of reality on what we can observe rather than on pure thought, he drastically changed the way we view the natural world. In the process he invented what came to be called science. This set the stage for Kepler, Newton, and Einstein, but in the early 20th century science began to change course. As quantum physics opened up realms increasingly far removed from what could be observed directly, theorists were forced to trust in the elegance and aesthetics of mathematics to develop their conception of physical reality. This process rendered theories more and more resistant to experimental and observational scrutiny and as a result, much of theoretical physics today is once again more akin to the philosophy of Plato than to the centuries-long model of science from which it springs. Lindley asks whether science that has become completely untethered from measurable phenomena is really science at all. He looks at the rise of particle physics and modern cosmology and argues that while the power of mathematics has been essential in delivering deep theoretical understanding, it has also widened the gulf between theory and observation and at times led astray scientists who put too much faith in what mathematics tells them. Fundamental physics has evolved into a highly mathematical form of philosophy and the book asks deep questions and has an impressive ability to attempt to answer them. 224pp, diagrams.

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ISBN 9780385543859

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