Reality Is Not What It Seems
The Journey to Quantum Gravity
'The physicist transforming how we see the universe' Financial Times
'An utter joy' Adam Rutherford
Do space and time truly exist? What is reality made of? Can we understand its deep texture? Scientist Carlo Rovelli has spent his whole life exploring these questions and pushing the boundaries of what we know. In this mind-expanding book, he shows how our understanding of reality has changed throughout centuries, from Democritus to loop quantum gravity. Taking us on a wondrous journey, he invites us to imagine a whole new world where black holes are waiting to explode, spacetime is made up of grains, and infinity does not exist -- a vast universe still largely undiscovered.
'A hugely engaging book... Rovelli is a charming, thought-provoking tour guide' Manjit Kumar, Prospect
Translated by Simon Carnell and Erica Segre
In his latest explanatory work, Rovelli (Seven Brief Lessons on Physics), a theoretical physicist and proponent of loop quantum gravity, sets himself the difficult task of attempting to clarify for laypeople the most recent scientific theories about the nature of the universe. He begins with historical lessons, going back to philosophical questions posed in Western antiquity. Rovelli races forward through the work of Newton, Faraday, and Maxwell to get to how Einstein refined and added to the field theories of electromagnetism. One of the book's strengths is the picture Rovelli develops of how scientists build on the work of others. But the bulk of the book focuses on evaluating the perplexing nature of space and time, which, as they are commonly understood, appear to be little more than convenient constructs. "Space is created by the interaction of individual quanta of gravity," Rovelli writes, while "the world is made entirely made from quantum fields." The difficulty of understanding this aside, Rovelli smoothly conveys the differences between belief and proof, and concludes with a lovely chapter on being ignorant and eager for the next discovery. Rovelli's work is challenging, but his excitement is contagious and he delights in the possibilities of human understanding.
Hard core physics meets poetry and humanity. Worthy read for everyone.