Physicist Frank Close takes the reader to the frontiers of science in a vividly told investigation of revolutionary science and enterprise from the seventeenth century to the present. He looks at what has been meant by theories of everything, explores the scientific breakthroughs they have allowed, and shows the far-reaching effects they have had on crucial aspects of life and belief. Theories of everything, he argues, can be described as those which draw on all relevant branches of knowledge to explain everything known about the universe. Such accounts may reign supreme for centuries. Then, often as a result of the advances they themselves have enabled, a new discovery is made which the current theory cannot explain. A new theory is needed which inspiration, sometimes, supplies.
Moving from Isaac Newton's work on gravity and motion in the seventeenth century to thermodynamics and James Clerk Maxwell's laws of electromagnetism in the nineteenth to Max Planck's and Paul Dirac's quantum physics in the twentieth, Professor Close turns finally to contemporary physics and the power and limitations of the current theory of everything. The cycle in which one theory of everything is first challenged and then replaced by another is continuing right now.
Publisher: Profile Books Ltd
Number of pages: 176
Weight: 205 g
Dimensions: 198 x 133 x 15 mm
Praise for The Infinity Puzzle:
'A thoroughly researched and well-crafted narrative. * New Scientist *
A masterpiece ... essential reading. * BBC Focus *
Mr Close's magisterial work is sure to become the definitive account of the story. * Economist *
A compelling history and sociology of modern particle theory. We discover the motivations and achievements of a rich cast of brilliant individuals, and get enough of the science to grasp what they were trying to do. * Nature *
The reader witnesses scientific progress in all its real-world messiness. It's a comedy of errors at times, full of dead ends, missed opportunities and ideas that lie dormant for years, unproven or unnoticed. * Science News *
A wonderfully written book that is valuable for all readers. Highly recommended. * Choice *