In this scientific tour de force, world-class physicist Frank Wilczek argues that beauty is at the heart of the logic of the universe, a principle that has guided his pioneering work in quantum physics. As this book demonstrates, the human quest to find the beauty embodied in the universe connects all scientific pursuit from Pythagoras and Plato on to Galileo and Newton, Maxwell and Einstein. Indeed, Wilczek shows us just how deeply intertwined our ideas about beauty and art are with our scientific understanding of the cosmos. Gorgeously illustrated, A Beautiful Question is the culmination of Wilczek's life work and a mind-expanding book that combines the age-old human quest for beauty and the age-old human quest for truth.
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Number of pages: 448
Weight: 808 g
Dimensions: 238 x 164 x 42 mm
In Steven Weinberg's To Explain the World: The Discovery of Modern Science and Frank Wilczek's A Beautiful Question: Finding Nature's Deep Design, two Nobel physicists give two astonishingly different accounts of the history of science, from antiquity to their own discoveries. Weinberg takes an unapologetically hard-headed stance, where philosophy, beauty and so forth are denounced as misleading. Wilczek sketches a dreamy vision, where beauty and harmony are essential ingredients of the quest for knowledge. Who is right? Both: this is the magic of science, which coherently combines wildly diverse skills. Weinberg is a father of electroweak theory, Wilczek of strong interaction. Still unsolved is gravity: what are the skills we need to solve it? We do not know yet -- Carlo Rovelli, Financial Times 'Books of the Year' Shocking and invigorating -- Nicholas Blincoe, 'Books of the Year' Telegraph It's rare that scientists as brilliant as Wilczek give us a glimpse of what goes on inside their heads. Anyone taking up this opportunity should expect to come away pretty dazzled BBC Focus Frank Wilczek's A Beautiful Question is the first book I've read in which I've felt that almost vertiginous sensation of peering through layers of theories down to the true nature of the universe ... At times this is a challenging text, but it is well worth the effort. Wilczek is admirably clear in his explanations. -- Lewis Dartnell Telegraph One of the pleasures of reading a book like this is to be in the company of a top-drawer thinker who has strained every sinew to find new ways of describing the patterns in nature's underlying fabric ... A fresh perspective on modern scientific thinking from an expert with a flair for jargon-free exposition ... Wilczek writes with bracing pizzazz ... This handsomely produced book contains more beef than many a finely written scientific potboiler -- Graham Farmelo Guardian Wilczek's sheer pleasure in the beauty of mathematics is the engine and joy of this book ... [A] rewarding read ... There is a lot of food for the mind here, but also some for the eye. -- Andrea Wulf Financial Times [A] searching and earnest book ... All 448 pages are buoyed by a singular, fervent enthusiasm. This is the book of a love-struck physicist -- Amy X. Wang Slate For a century, science has invalidated 'soft' questions about truth, beauty, and transcendence. It took considerable courage therefore for Frank Wilczek to declare that such questions are within the framework of 'hard' science. Anyone who wants to see how science and transcendence can be compatible must read this book. Wilczek has caught the winds of change, and his thinking breaks through some sacred boundaries with curiosity, insight, and intellectual power. -- Deepak Chopra, M.D. A Beautiful Question is both a brilliant exploration of largely uncharted territories and a refreshingly idiosyncratic guide to developments in particle physics. Nature [An] eccentrically brilliant book ... A potent antidote to those many whiggish histories of science that castigate previous generations for their error. -- Steven Poole Spectator A truly beautiful book, in design, in content, in the insights that Frank Wilczek shares. This book helps me see how one of the world's leading thinkers thinks, using beauty as a tool, as a guide in finding not only the right problems but the right solutions. In Wilczek's mind, there is no clear separation between physics, art, poetry, and music. Why do physicists call their theories beautiful? Immerse yourself in this book, wallow in it, sit back and relax as you wander through it, and you'll soon understand. -- Richard Muller, author of Physics for Future Presidents Inspiring and remarkably accessible ... An ode to Nature's beauty, as seen by a physicist's mathematical eye ... Wilczek's language is lyrical -- Marcelo Gleiser Chronicle Review