“Fundamentals might be the perfect book for the winter of this plague year. . . . Wilczek writes with breathtaking economy and clarity, and his pleasure in his subject is palpable.” —The New York Times Book Review
One of our great contemporary scientists reveals the ten profound insights that illuminate what everyone should know about the physical world
In Fundamentals, Nobel laureate Frank Wilczek offers the reader a simple yet profound exploration of reality based on the deep revelations of modern science. With clarity and an infectious sense of joy, he guides us through the essential concepts that form our understanding of what the world is and how it works. Through these pages, we come to see our reality in a new way--bigger, fuller, and stranger than it looked before.
Synthesizing basic questions, facts, and dazzling speculations, Wilczek investigates the ideas that form our understanding of the universe: time, space, matter, energy, complexity, and complementarity. He excavates the history of fundamental science, exploring what we know and how we know it, while journeying to the horizons of the scientific world to give us a glimpse of what we may soon discover. Brilliant, lucid, and accessible, this celebration of human ingenuity and imagination will expand your world and your mind.
The universe at its grandest and most minuscule is explored in this beguiling meditation on physics. Nobel Prize winning physicist Wilczek (A Beautiful Question) elaborates on wide-ranging themes, including the vast size of the universe and minute yet spacious dimensions of subatomic structures; the simplicity of the elementary forces underlying theoretical physics; the delicate interplay between dynamic change and environmental stability that allowed life to arise on Earth; and the deeper unities between the seeming contradictions of quantum mechanics. Wilczek manages to convey advanced physics without overtaxing lay readers with complexities and knotty concepts, and does so by sticking closely to lucid accounts of the experiments and calculations scientists perform to establish how the world works, and by using straightforward but evocative descriptions of natural phenomena. ("Once the temperature gets low enough, the photons in the fireball cease to interact significantly with the other matter," he writes of the early universe after the Big Bang, adding, "in plain English, the sky clears up, so that light travels more or less freely from one end of the universe to another, as it does today.") The result is a stimulating and very readable scientific tour of the cosmos.