The World Within the World

Front Cover
Clarendon Press, 1988 - Cosmology - 398 pages
"The supreme task of the physicist," Einstein said, "is to arrive at those universal elementary laws from which the cosmos can be built up by pure deduction." In The World Within the World, eminent astronomer John Barrow offers a thought-provoking examination of the premise behind Einstein's remark. Are there really laws of Nature that exist independently of human thought? Is it possible to discover a Grand Unification Theory? Indeed, is it possible that there aren't really any laws of Nature at all?
___Barrow is eminently qualified to address these questions. Highly regarded both as scientist and philosopher of science, he co-wrote (with Frank J. Tipler) The Anthropic Cosmological Principle, which was acclaimed by a wide array of reviewers, including Sky & Telescope ("fascinating...a tour de force"), Science ("a marvelous treasure trove"), American Scientist ("[an] impressive work on the philosophical issues of modern cosmology"), and The New York Times ("a book that impels the reader to think"). Here he offers a wide-ranging study of the evolving concept of laws of Nature--from the magical notions of primitive cultures, to the ideas of Plato, Aristotle, Newton, and Darwin, to the recent work of Einstein and Dirac.
___The World Within the World is the first serious attempt to address the philosophical and theological problems raised by modern physics and mathematics. It goes well beyond the familiar ground of relativity and quantum theory to consider the latest ideas about chaos, black holes, and superstrings. As did his previous book, it will generate considerable debate among scientists, philosophers, and theologians, as well as among general readers curious about the world and how we understand it.


Time past
Unseen worlds
Inner space and outer space
Why are the laws of Nature mathematical?
Are there any laws of Nature?
Selection effects
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About the author (1988)

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.

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