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In Significant Figures, acclaimed mathematician Ian Stewart introduces the visionaries of mathematics throughout history. Delving into the lives of twenty-five great mathematicians, Stewart examines the roles they played in creating, inventing, and discovering the mathematics we use today. Through these short biographies, we get acquainted with the history of mathematics.
Does time exist? What is infinity? Why do mirrors reverse left and right but not up and down? In this scintillating collection, Holt explores the human mind, the cosmos, and the thinkers who’ve tried to encompass the latter with the former. With his trademark clarity and humor, Holt probes the mysteries of quantum mechanics, the quest for the foundations of mathematics, and the nature of logic and truth. Along the way, he offers intimate biographical sketches of celebrated and neglected thinkers, from the physicist Emmy Noether to the computing pioneer Alan Turing and the discoverer of fractals, Benoit Mandelbrot.
In 1939, Richard Feynman, a brilliant graduate of MIT, arrived in John Wheeler's Princeton office to report for duty as his teaching assistant. A lifelong friendship and enormously productive collaboration was born, despite sharp differences in personality. The soft-spoken Wheeler, though conservative in appearance, was a raging nonconformist full of wild ideas about the universe. The boisterous Feynman was a cautious physicist who believed only what could be tested. Yet they were complementary spirits.
How did we get here? All cultures have a creation story, but a little over 150 years ago, Charles Darwin introduced a revolutionary new one. We, and all living things, exist because of the action of evolution on the first simple life form and its descendants. In How Evolution Explains Everything About Life, leading biologists and New Scientist take you on a journey of a lifetime, exploring the questions of whether life is inevitable or a one-off fluke and how it got kick-started.
Every physicist agrees quantum mechanics is among humanity's finest scientific achievements. But ask what it means, and the result will be a brawl. For a century, most physicists have followed Niels Bohr's Copenhagen interpretation and dismissed questions about the reality underlying quantum physics as meaningless. A mishmash of solipsism and poor reasoning, Copenhagen endured, as Bohr's students vigorously protected his legacy, and the physics community favored practical experiments over philosophical arguments.
In Calculating the Cosmos, Ian Stewart presents an exhilarating guide to the cosmos, from our solar system to the entire universe. He describes the architecture of space and time, dark matter and dark energy, how galaxies form, why stars implode, how everything began, and how it's all going to end. He considers parallel universes, the fine-tuning of the cosmos for life, what forms extraterrestrial life might take, and the likelihood of life on Earth being snuffed out by an asteroid.
In Significant Figures, acclaimed mathematician Ian Stewart introduces the visionaries of mathematics throughout history. Delving into the lives of twenty-five great mathematicians, Stewart examines the roles they played in creating, inventing, and discovering the mathematics we use today. Through these short biographies, we get acquainted with the history of mathematics.
Does time exist? What is infinity? Why do mirrors reverse left and right but not up and down? In this scintillating collection, Holt explores the human mind, the cosmos, and the thinkers who’ve tried to encompass the latter with the former. With his trademark clarity and humor, Holt probes the mysteries of quantum mechanics, the quest for the foundations of mathematics, and the nature of logic and truth. Along the way, he offers intimate biographical sketches of celebrated and neglected thinkers, from the physicist Emmy Noether to the computing pioneer Alan Turing and the discoverer of fractals, Benoit Mandelbrot.
In 1939, Richard Feynman, a brilliant graduate of MIT, arrived in John Wheeler's Princeton office to report for duty as his teaching assistant. A lifelong friendship and enormously productive collaboration was born, despite sharp differences in personality. The soft-spoken Wheeler, though conservative in appearance, was a raging nonconformist full of wild ideas about the universe. The boisterous Feynman was a cautious physicist who believed only what could be tested. Yet they were complementary spirits.
How did we get here? All cultures have a creation story, but a little over 150 years ago, Charles Darwin introduced a revolutionary new one. We, and all living things, exist because of the action of evolution on the first simple life form and its descendants. In How Evolution Explains Everything About Life, leading biologists and New Scientist take you on a journey of a lifetime, exploring the questions of whether life is inevitable or a one-off fluke and how it got kick-started.
Every physicist agrees quantum mechanics is among humanity's finest scientific achievements. But ask what it means, and the result will be a brawl. For a century, most physicists have followed Niels Bohr's Copenhagen interpretation and dismissed questions about the reality underlying quantum physics as meaningless. A mishmash of solipsism and poor reasoning, Copenhagen endured, as Bohr's students vigorously protected his legacy, and the physics community favored practical experiments over philosophical arguments.
In Calculating the Cosmos, Ian Stewart presents an exhilarating guide to the cosmos, from our solar system to the entire universe. He describes the architecture of space and time, dark matter and dark energy, how galaxies form, why stars implode, how everything began, and how it's all going to end. He considers parallel universes, the fine-tuning of the cosmos for life, what forms extraterrestrial life might take, and the likelihood of life on Earth being snuffed out by an asteroid.
In 1942, a team at the University of Chicago achieved what no one had before: a nuclear chain reaction. At the forefront of this breakthrough stood Enrico Fermi. Straddling the ages of classical physics and quantum mechanics, equally at ease with theory and experiment, Fermi truly was the last man who knew everything - at least about physics. But he was also a complex figure who was a part of both the Italian Fascist Party and the Manhattan Project, and a less-than-ideal father and husband who nevertheless remained one of history's greatest mentors.
Ripples in Spacetime is an engaging account of the international effort to complete Einstein's project, capture his elusive ripples, and launch an era of gravitational-wave astronomy that promises to explain, more vividly than ever before, our universe's structure and origin. The quest for gravitational waves involved years of risky research and many personal and professional struggles that threatened to derail one of the world's largest scientific endeavors.
Warped Passages is an altogether exhilarating journey that tracks the arc of discovery from early 20th-century physics to the razor's edge of modern scientific theory. One of the world's leading theoretical physicists, Lisa Randall provides astonishing scientific possibilities that, until recently, were restricted to the realm of science fiction. Unraveling the twisted threads of the most current debates on relativity, quantum mechanics, and gravity, she explores some of the most fundamental questions posed by Nature.
Atom Land brings the impossibly small world of particle physics to life, taking listeners on a guided journey through the subatomic world. Listeners will sail the subatomic seas in search of electron ports, boson continents, and hadron islands. The sea itself is the quantum field, complete with quantum waves. Beware dark energy and extra dimensions, embodied by fantastical sea creatures prowling the far edges of the known world. Your tour guide through this whimsical - and highly instructive - world is Jon Butterworth, leading physicist at CERN.
The 20th century gave us two great theories of physics. The general theory of relativity describes the behavior of very large things, and quantum theory the behavior of very small things. In this landmark audiobook, John Gribbin - one of the best-known science writers of the past 30 years - presents his own version of the Holy Grail of physics, the search that has been going on for decades to find a unified "Theory of Everything" that combines these ideas into one mathematical package.
Gravity is the weakest force in the everyday world, yet it is the strongest force in the universe. It was the first force to be recognized and described, yet it is the least understood. It is a "force" that keeps your feet on the ground, yet no such force actually exists. Gravity, to steal the words of Winston Churchill, is "a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma". And penetrating that enigma promises to answer the biggest questions in science: What is space? What is time? What is the universe? And where did it all come from?
Enrico Fermi is unquestionably among the greats of the world's physicists, the most famous Italian scientist since Galileo. Called "the Pope" by his peers, he was regarded as infallible in his instincts and research. His discoveries changed our world; they led to weapons of mass destruction and conversely to life-saving medical interventions. This unassuming man struggled with issues relevant today, such as the threat of nuclear annihilation and the relationship of science to politics.
"Correlation does not imply causation". This mantra has been invoked by scientists for decades and has led to a virtual prohibition on causal talk. But today, that taboo is dead. The causal revolution, sparked by Judea Pearl and his colleagues, has cut through a century of confusion and placed causality - the study of cause and effect - on a firm scientific basis.
In Beyond Infinity, musician, chef, and mathematician Eugenia Cheng takes listeners on a startling journey from math at its most elemental to its loftiest abstractions. Beginning with the classic thought experiment of Hilbert's hotel - the place where you can (almost) always find a room, if you don't mind being moved from room to room over the course of the night - she explores the wild and woolly world of the infinitely large and the infinitely small.
How much do you know about the radiation all around you? Your electronic devices swarm with it; the sun bathes you in it. It's zooming at you from cell towers, microwave ovens, CT scans, mammogram machines, nuclear power plants, deep space, even the walls of your basement. You cannot see, hear, smell, or feel it, but there is never a single second when it is not flying through your body. Too much of it will kill you, but without it you wouldn't live a year.
A cataclysmic planetary phenomenon is gathering force deep within the Earth. The magnetic North Pole will eventually trade places with the South Pole. Satellite evidence suggests to some scientists that the move has already begun, but most still think it won't happen for many decades. All agree that it has happened many times before and will happen again. But this time it will be different. It will be a very bad day for modern civilization.
In lyric, accessible prose, Carlo Rovelli invites us to consider questions about the nature of time that continue to puzzle physicists and philosophers alike. For most listeners, this is unfamiliar terrain. We all experience time, but the more scientists learn about it, the more mysterious it appears. We think of it as uniform and universal, moving steadily from past to future, measured by clocks. Rovelli tears down these assumptions one by one, revealing a strange universe where, at the most fundamental level, time disappears.
Bertrand Russell wrote that mathematics can exalt "as surely as poetry". This is especially true of one equation: ei(pi) + 1 = 0, the brainchild of Leonhard Euler, the Mozart of mathematics. More than two centuries after Euler's death, it is still regarded as a conceptual diamond of unsurpassed beauty. Called Euler's identity, or God's equation, it includes just five numbers but represents an astonishing revelation of hidden connections. It ties together everything from basic arithmetic to compound interest, the circumference of a circle, trigonometry, calculus, and even infinity. In David Stipp's hands, Euler's identity becomes a contemplative stroll through the glories of mathematics. The result is an ode to this magical field.
Maybe it's just me, but I found it pretty easy to follow the math while just listening. Overall an interesting read.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
I really liked the math history, and a refreshing view on a beloved equation. however the math explanations are too elementary for anyone with some University mathematics, which can make some demonstrations too lengthy or boring. I still liked it though, and would recommend it to anyone with interest in math, but not quite a profound understanding
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Overall a good journey through Euler's formula, with nice side trips through intriging relevant stories that were integral to Euler's great, beautiful equation. However, the author, who is a writer who once majored in math, epresses his sometimes fleeting grasp on the subject with the literary awkwardness. He has a journalist's understanding of mathematics, and the journalistic skill of a mathematician.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
What I liked about this book was its introduction to Leonhard Euler and his contributions to mathematics. I also learned about the beauty of pi and transcendent numbers.
The style was very accessible although the book has diagrams that couldn’t be presented in an audiobook. If I had followed along with the book in hand I could have followed the chapters on trigonometry and geometry better.
The narrator was very good.
What bothers me about this book is the author wrote that Euler’s Formula was also known as God’s equation yet didn’t elaborate on Euler’s Christian worldview. Euler’s faith was integral to his work in mathematics. The author glossed over this with the comment that Euler was pious and a Protestant. But why call Euler’s Formula God’s Formula without a discussion about Euler’s faith and how it informed his work? I think the fact that Euler was a Christian during the Enlightenment, a period of Deism and secular humanism, explains why he’s not held in as high regard as say Diderot, Rousseau, and Voltaire.
The author started out with helpful metaphors but after awhile they became distracting and not relevant to presenting the material.
3 of 6 people found this review helpful
Facinating narative and well constructed story; well read and the mathematics was easy to visualise.