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THE PHENOMENAL BESTSELLER
'There's a book I've been carrying around like a small Bible, Seven Brief Lessons on Physics' - Benedict Cumberbatch
Everything you need to know about modern physics, the universe and your place in the world in seven enlightening lessons
These seven short lessons guide us, with simplicity and clarity, through the scientific revolution that shook physics in the twentieth century and still continues to shake us today. In this beautiful and mind-bending introduction to modern physics, Carlo Rovelli explains Einstein's theory of general relativity, quantum mechanics, black holes, the complex architecture of the universe, elementary particles, gravity, and the nature of the mind. In under eighty pages, readers will understand the most transformative scientific discoveries of the twentieth century and what they mean for us. Not since Richard Feynman's celebrated best-seller Six Easy Pieces has physics been so vividly, intelligently and entertainingly revealed.
This enchanting book from Rovelli, an Italian theoretical physicist, looks at physics as a continually changing quest for understanding of our universe, instead of as immutable laws of nature. These pieces, expanded from a series of articles written for a general audience that knows "little or nothing about modern science," are not true lessons, though there are some conceptual explanations. Rather, the essays are a joyous celebration of scientific wonder. Rovelli compares Einstein's general theory of relativity to Mozart's Requiem or the Sistine Chapel: "To fully appreciate their brilliance may require a long apprenticeship, but the reward is sheer beauty." Exploring that beauty and mystery, he notes the "paradox at the heart of our understanding of the physical world." When Rovelli arrives at the edges of certainty, his writing turns lyrical, even mystical, as science becomes "incandescent in the forge of nascent ideas." Discussing thermodynamics and statistical mechanics, he poses a Zen-like question "What is a vibrating time?" that leads to the book's heart: he asserts that the study of infinitesimal particles and black holes is part of being human, and that the divide between science and the rest of learning is artificial. "The border is porous," Rovelli writes. "Myths nourish science, and science nourishes myth."