The Road to Reality: A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe

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A.A. Knopf, 2004 - Mathematics - 1099 pages
From one of our greatest living scientists, a magnificent book that provides, for the serious lay reader, the most comprehensive and sophisticated account we have yet had of the physical universe and the essentials of its underlying mathematical theory.

Since the earliest efforts of the ancient Greeks to find order amid the chaos around us, there has been continual accelerated progress toward understanding the laws that govern our universe. And the particularly important advances made by means of the revolutionary theories of relativity and quantum mechanics have deeply altered our vision of the cosmos and provided us with models of unprecedented accuracy.

What Roger Penrose so brilliantly accomplishes in this book is threefold. First, he gives us an overall narrative description of our present understanding of the universe and its physical behaviors–from the unseeable, minuscule movement of the subatomic particle to the journeys of the planets and the stars in the vastness of time and space.


Second, he evokes the extraordinary beauty that lies in the mysterious and profound relationships between these physical behaviors and the subtle mathematical ideas that explain and interpret them.

Third, Penrose comes to the arresting conclusion–as he explores the compatibility of the two grand classic theories of modern physics–that Einstein’s general theory of relativity stands firm while quantum theory, as presently constituted, still needs refashioning.

Along the way, he talks about a wealth of issues, controversies, and phenomena; about the roles of various kinds of numbers in physics, ideas of calculus and modern geometry, visions of infinity, the big bang, black holes, the profound challenge of the second law of thermodynamics, string and M theory, loop quantum gravity, twistors, and educated guesses about science in the near future. In The Road to Reality he has given us a work of enormous scope, intention, and achievement–a complete and essential work of science

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User Review  - amarcobio - LibraryThing

Popular books explain complex concepts in simple words. Technical books provide theoretical justification for scientific concepts. In my modest opinion, this book pretends to be a popular and a ... Read full review

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User Review  - HadriantheBlind - LibraryThing

A feast for any physicist, or anyone who wants to learn the depth and beauty of physics, etc. as we know it. Not dumbed down at all. Throws every subject imaginable at you. If you can understand it ... Read full review

Contents

Prologue
1
The roots of science
7
An ancient theorem and a modern question
25
Copyright

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About the author (2004)

Roger Penrose is Emeritus Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford. In 1988 he shared the Wolf Prize for physics with Stephen Hawking for their joint contribution to our understanding of the universe.

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