The Anthropic Cosmological Principle

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What is the significance of mankind in the Universe? Ever since Copernicus, scientists have been moving man further and further from his lofty position at the center of Creation. But in recent years a startling new concept has evolved that puts humans more firmly than ever in a special position. Known as the Anthropic Cosmological Principle, it holds that the fundamental structure of the Universe is determined by the existence of intelligent observers: the universe is as it is because if it were otherwise, observers could not exist. In its most radical version, the Anthropic Principle asserts: "Intelligent information-processing must come into existence in the Universe, and once it comes into existence, it will never die out."
More than a revolutionary theoretical concept, the anthropic principle can be used as a powerful predictive tool leading to a fundamental change in the way we understand physical phenomena. This groundbreaking work explores the many ramifications of the principle and covers the whole spectrum of human inquiry from Aristotle to Z bosons. Chapters cover the definition and nature of life, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, and the interpretation of the quantum theory in relation to the existence of observers. The book will be of vital interest to philosophers, theologians, mathematicians, scientists, and historians--and to anyone who ever wondered if there was any connection between the vastness of the universe of stars and galaxies and the existence of life within it on a small planet out in the suburbs of the Milky Way.

About the Authors:

John D. Barrow is University Lecturer in Astronomy at the University of Sussex, England. Frank J. Tipler is Associate Professor of Mathematical Physics at Tulane University.

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User Review  - thcson - LibraryThing

This is an entertaining book on the philosophical implications of cosmology, but it seems to be primarily aimed for physicists rather than the general public. However, the anthropic principle itself ... Read full review

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User Review  - vlorand - LibraryThing

WILL the Universe end in the heat death of the Universe, or does the 2nd law of thermodynamics fail below the atomic level? Read full review



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About the author (1986)

John D. Barrow is a scientist who writes accessibly about astrophysics and cosmology for both the general reader and the expert. Born in 1952, in London, England, Barrow earned a B.S. degree with first-class honors from the University of Durham in 1974. Three years later he received his doctorate from Magdalen College, Oxford. He was a junior research lecturer in astrophysics at Oxford University from 1977 to 1980 and became a lecturer in astronomy at the University of Sussex in Brighton in 1981. With coauthor Joseph Silk, Barrow published The Left Hand of Creation: The Origin and Evolution of the Expanding Universe in 1983. The book, which explains particle physics and its application to the creation and evolution of the universe, quickly won praise for its lucid style. Barrow delved further into this topic in 1994 with The Origin of the Universe. In this work he explored such questions as the possibility of extra dimensions to space, the beginning of time, and how human existence is part and parcel of the origin and composition of the universe. Barrow's other books include Pi and the Sky; Theories of Everything; and The World Within the World. He has also contributed many articles to such professional journals as New Scientist, Scientific American, and Nature.

FRANK J. TIPLER is a professor of mathematical physics at Tulane University and the author of "The Physics of Immortality," He lives in New Orleans, Louisiana.

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