A delightful intellectual feast from the bestselling author of Seven Brief Lessons on Physics, The Order of Time, and Anaximander
One of the world’s most prominent physicists and fearless free spirit, Carlo Rovelli is also a masterful storyteller. His bestselling books have introduced millions of readers to the wonders of modern physics and his singular perspective on the cosmos. This new collection of essays reveals a curious intellect always on the move. Rovelli invites us on an accessible and enlightening voyage through science, literature, philosophy, and politics.
Written with his usual clarity and wit, this journey ranges widely across time and space: from Newton's alchemy to Einstein's mistakes, from Nabokov’s lepidopterology to Dante’s cosmology, from mind-altering psychedelic substances to the meaning of atheism, from the future of physics to the power of uncertainty. Charming, pithy, and elegant, this book is the perfect gateway to the universe of one of the most influential minds of our age.
Theoretical physicist Rovelli (The Order of Time) considers politics, art, philosophy, and science in this provocative collection of 46 previously published essays. In "Dante, Einstein and the Three-Sphere" he muses on how Dante anticipated Einstein's theory on the shape of the universe, noting that "poetry and science are both manifestations of the spirit that creates new ways of thinking the world." In "Which Science Is Closer to Faith" he encourages readers to set "aside the traditional conflict between science and religion and to focus on what they have in common, rather than on their differences," while in the powerful "A Day in Africa" Rovelli reflects on a day spent exploring rural Senegal after having visited a mosque: "Perhaps I have actually learned something, one small additional thing, about the complexity of being human." Some of the pieces haven't aged well, as when he writes in an essay about Covid that "the reality is that this disaster has no culprits" and that "the number is far lower than the deaths each year from cancer." Still, Rovelli's fans will enjoy having this on their shelves.