The writers behind New Scientist explore the baffling concept of nothingness from the fringes of the universe to our minds’ inner workings.
It turns out that nothing is as curious or as enlightening as nothingness itself. What is nothing? Where can it be found? The writers of the world’s top-selling science magazine investigate—from the big bang, dark energy, and the void, to superconductors, vestigial organs, hypnosis, and the placebo effect. And they discover that understanding nothing may be the key to understanding everything: What came before the big bang—and will our universe end?How might cooling matter down almost to absolute zero help solve our energy crisis?How can someone suffer from a false diagnosis as though it were true?Does nothingness even exist if squeezing a perfect vacuum somehow creates light?Why is it unfair to accuse sloths—animals who do nothing—of being lazy?And more!
Contributors Paul Davies, Jo Marchant, and Ian Stewart, along with two former editors of Nature and sixteen other leading writers and scientists, marshal up-to-the-minute research to make one of the most perplexing realms in science dazzlingly clear. Prepare to be amazed at how much more there is to nothing than you ever realized.
There's a lot about nothing in this fun assortment of pop science essays culled from New Scientist. The essays aren't all about nothing necessarily. Sometimes they're about the appearance or feel of nothing, such as Linda Geddes's "Banishing Consciousness" which explores the effects of anaesthetics; Stephen Battersby's "Pathways to Cosmic Oblivion" describes fours ways the universe might end its days. An essay by Douglas Fox reveals a once unexplored network in the brain and the benefits of daydreaming. The collection on a whole takes a fun and accessible tone with easily digestable insights and discoveries, like the history and differences between zero as a number and zero as a symbol (which surprisingly people didn't always use it or even have it to represent nothing) or the critical benefits of doing nothing for certain animals. The topics may seem dense but the reading is breezy, proving it doesn't take a scientist to know about nothing.