‘Brilliant and fascinating. No one is better at making the recondite accessible and exciting’ Bill Bryson
Britain’s most famous mathematician takes us to the edge of knowledge to show us what we cannot know.
Is the universe infinite?
Do we know what happened before the Big Bang?
Where is human consciousness located in the brain?
And are there more undiscovered particles out there, beyond the Higgs boson?
In the modern world, science is king: weekly headlines proclaim the latest scientific breakthroughs and numerous mathematical problems, once indecipherable, have now been solved. But are there limits to what we can discover about our physical universe?
In this very personal journey to the edges of knowledge, Marcus du Sautoy investigates how leading experts in fields from quantum physics and cosmology, to sensory perception and neuroscience, have articulated the current lie of the land. In doing so, he travels to the very boundaries of understanding, questioning contradictory stories and consulting cutting edge data.
Is it possible that we will one day know everything? Or are there fields of research that will always lie beyond the bounds of human comprehension? And if so, how do we cope with living in a universe where there are things that will forever transcend our understanding?
In What We Cannot Know, Marcus du Sautoy leads us on a thought-provoking expedition to the furthest reaches of modern science. Prepare to be taken to the edge of knowledge to find out if there’s anything we truly cannot know.
‘I felt I was being carried off on a wonderful journey, a thrilling research expedition to the teasing and mysterious boundaries of scientific knowledge, and I never wanted to turn back. Du Sautoy is a masterful and friendly guide to these remotest regions … It is absolutely fascinating throughout, and I really loved it’ Richard Holmes
‘I admire and envy the clarity and authority with which Marcus du Sautoy addresses a range of profound issues. His book deserves a wide readership’ Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal
‘Du Sautoy makes a lucid and beguiling companion as he guides us along the byways of contemporary science’ Jonathan Ree, Guardian
About the author
Marcus du Sautoy is Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford. In 2008 he was appointed to the University’s prestigious professorship as the Simonyi Chair for the Public Understanding of Science, a post previously held by Richard Dawkins. In 2009 The Royal Society awarded him the Faraday Prize for excellence in communicating science to the public, and in 2010 he received an OBE from the Queen for his services to science.
He is the author of The Music of the Primes, Finding Moonshine and The Number Mysteries. He has presented numerous programmes on television and radio, including the internationally acclaimed BBC series The Story of Maths and the comedy maths show The School of Hard Sums with Dara Ó Briain. He lives in London with his wife and three children.
Customer ReviewsSee All
A masterpiece of its kind
I very much enjoyed reading this book, and it exceeded my expectations. I am grateful to Marcus for writing it.. Its scope is incredible and the essence of the topics addressed is expressed with care to accuracy and with respect to the reader’s intelligence. Marcus conveys the boldness of the human curiosity and spirit of enquiry that he shares, and displays some of the intensity with which some people explore the unknown. Althaough one may not concur with all of Marcus’ lines of argument, or agree with all of his starting assumptions, he does try to the best of his ability to keep open in a way that keeps the reader engaged.