Search Results: void-the-strange-physics-of-nothing-foundational-questions-in-science


The Strange Physics of Nothing

Author: James Owen Weatherall

Publisher: Yale University Press

ISBN: 0300224494

Category: Science

Page: 224

View: 6783

The rising star author of The Physics of Wall Street explores why “nothing” may hold the key to the next era of theoretical physics James Owen Weatherall’s previous book, The Physics of Wall Street, was a New York Times best-seller and named one of Physics Today’s five most intriguing books of 2013. In his newest volume, he takes on a fundamental concept of modern physics: nothing. The physics of stuff—protons, neutrons, electrons, and even quarks and gluons—is at least somewhat familiar to most of us. But what about the physics of nothing? Isaac Newton thought of empty space as nothingness extended in all directions, a kind of theater in which physics could unfold. But both quantum theory and relativity tell us that Newton’s picture can’t be right. Nothing, it turns out, is an awful lot like something, with a structure and properties every bit as complex and mysterious as matter. In his signature lively prose, Weatherall explores the very nature of empty space—and solidifies his reputation as a science writer to watch.

A Universe from Nothing

Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing

Author: Lawrence M. Krauss

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

ISBN: 1451624476

Category: Science

Page: 224

View: 5937

Bestselling author and acclaimed physicist Lawrence Krauss offers a paradigm-shifting view of how everything that exists came to be in the first place. “Where did the universe come from? What was there before it? What will the future bring? And finally, why is there something rather than nothing?” One of the few prominent scientists today to have crossed the chasm between science and popular culture, Krauss describes the staggeringly beautiful experimental observations and mind-bending new theories that demonstrate not only can something arise from nothing, something will always arise from nothing. With a new preface about the significance of the discovery of the Higgs particle, A Universe from Nothing uses Krauss’s characteristic wry humor and wonderfully clear explanations to take us back to the beginning of the beginning, presenting the most recent evidence for how our universe evolved—and the implications for how it’s going to end. Provocative, challenging, and delightfully readable, this is a game-changing look at the most basic underpinning of existence and a powerful antidote to outmoded philosophical, religious, and scientific thinking.

The Physics of Wall Street

A Brief History of Predicting the Unpredictable

Author: James Owen Weatherall

Publisher: HMH

ISBN: 0547618298

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 304

View: 1168

A look inside the world of “quants” and how science can (and can’t) predict financial markets: “Entertaining and enlightening” (The New York Times). After the economic meltdown of 2008, Warren Buffett famously warned, “beware of geeks bearing formulas.” But while many of the mathematicians and software engineers on Wall Street failed when their abstractions turned ugly in practice, a special breed of physicists has a much deeper history of revolutionizing finance. Taking us from fin-de-siècle Paris to Rat Pack–era Las Vegas, from wartime government labs to Yippie communes on the Pacific coast, James Owen Weatherall shows how physicists successfully brought their science to bear on some of the thorniest problems in economics, from options pricing to bubbles. The crisis was partly a failure of mathematical modeling. But even more, it was a failure of some very sophisticated financial institutions to think like physicists. Models—whether in science or finance—have limitations; they break down under certain conditions. And in 2008, sophisticated models fell into the hands of people who didn’t understand their purpose, and didn’t care. It was a catastrophic misuse of science. The solution, however, is not to give up on models; it’s to make them better. This book reveals the people and ideas on the cusp of a new era in finance, from a geophysicist using a model designed for earthquakes to predict a massive stock market crash to a physicist-run hedge fund earning 2,478.6% over the course of the 1990s. Weatherall shows how an obscure idea from quantum theory might soon be used to create a far more accurate Consumer Price Index. The Physics of Wall Street will change how we think about our economic future. “Fascinating history . . . Happily, the author has a gift for making complex concepts clear to lay readers.” —Booklist

The Physics of Finance

Author: James Owen Weatherall

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: 9781780720876

Category: Prediction theory

Page: 286

View: 8475

"He takes us on a lively journey from fin-de-siècle Paris to Rat Pack-era Las Vegas, from wartime government labs to Yippie communes, showing how some of the finest scientific minds of the last century came to construct the sophisticated models on which modern securities trading is based"--Back cover.

Fashion, Faith, and Fantasy in the New Physics of the Universe

Author: Roger Penrose

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 1400880289

Category: Science

Page: 520

View: 3092

What can fashionable ideas, blind faith, or pure fantasy possibly have to do with the scientific quest to understand the universe? Surely, theoretical physicists are immune to mere trends, dogmatic beliefs, or flights of fancy? In fact, acclaimed physicist and bestselling author Roger Penrose argues that researchers working at the extreme frontiers of physics are just as susceptible to these forces as anyone else. In this provocative book, he argues that fashion, faith, and fantasy, while sometimes productive and even essential in physics, may be leading today's researchers astray in three of the field's most important areas—string theory, quantum mechanics, and cosmology. Arguing that string theory has veered away from physical reality by positing six extra hidden dimensions, Penrose cautions that the fashionable nature of a theory can cloud our judgment of its plausibility. In the case of quantum mechanics, its stunning success in explaining the atomic universe has led to an uncritical faith that it must also apply to reasonably massive objects, and Penrose responds by suggesting possible changes in quantum theory. Turning to cosmology, he argues that most of the current fantastical ideas about the origins of the universe cannot be true, but that an even wilder reality may lie behind them. Finally, Penrose describes how fashion, faith, and fantasy have ironically also shaped his own work, from twistor theory, a possible alternative to string theory that is beginning to acquire a fashionable status, to "conformal cyclic cosmology," an idea so fantastic that it could be called "conformal crazy cosmology." The result is an important critique of some of the most significant developments in physics today from one of its most eminent figures.

The Misinformation Age

How False Beliefs Spread

Author: Cailin O'Connor,James Owen Weatherall

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: 9780300234015

Category: Psychology

Page: 280

View: 9509

The social dynamics of "alternative facts" why what you believe depends on who you know

Discrete or Continuous?

The Quest for Fundamental Length in Modern Physics

Author: Amit Hagar

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 1107062802

Category: Science

Page: 280

View: 7179

Novel conceptual analysis, fresh historical perspectives, and concrete physical examples illuminate one of the most thought-provoking topics in physics.

Reality Is Not What It Seems

The Journey to Quantum Gravity

Author: Carlo Rovelli

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 0735213933

Category: Science

Page: 288

View: 1974

"What are the elementary ingredients of the world? Do time and space exist? And what exactly is reality? In elegant and accessible prose, theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli leads us on a wondrous journey from Democritus to Einstein, from Michael Faraday to gravitational waves, and from classical physics to his own work in quantum gravity. As he shows us how the idea of reality has evolved over time, Rovelli offers deeper explanations of the theories he introduced so concisely in Seven Brief Lessons on Physics"--page 4 of cover.

Why Does the World Exist?: An Existential Detective Story

Author: Jim Holt

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

ISBN: 0871404095

Category: Philosophy

Page: 309

View: 6258

Expands the search for the origins of the universe beyond God and the Big Bang theory, exploring more bizarre possibilities inspired by physicists, theologians, mathematicians, and even novelists.

Calculating the Cosmos

How Mathematics Unveils the Universe

Author: Ian Stewart

Publisher: Basic Books

ISBN: 0465096115

Category: Mathematics

Page: 360

View: 6726

A prize-winning popular science writer uses mathematical modeling to explain the cosmos. 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. Beginning with the Babylonian integration of mathematics into the study of astronomy and cosmology, Stewart traces the evolution of our understanding of the cosmos: How Kepler's laws of planetary motion led Newton to formulate his theory of gravity. How, two centuries later, tiny irregularities in the motion of Mars inspired Einstein to devise his general theory of relativity. How, eighty years ago, the discovery that the universe is expanding led to the development of the Big Bang theory of its origins. How single-point origin and expansion led cosmologists to theorize new components of the universe, such as inflation, dark matter, and dark energy. But does inflation explain the structure of today's universe? Does dark matter actually exist? Could a scientific revolution that will challenge the long-held scientific orthodoxy and once again transform our understanding of the universe be on the way? In an exciting and engaging style, Calculating the Cosmos is a mathematical quest through the intricate realms of astronomy and cosmology.

The Emerging Quantum

The Physics Behind Quantum Mechanics

Author: Luis de la Peña,Ana María Cetto,Andrea Valdés Hernández

Publisher: Springer

ISBN: 3319078933

Category: Science

Page: 366

View: 7616

This monograph presents the latest findings from a long-term research project intended to identify the physics behind Quantum Mechanics. A fundamental theory for quantum mechanics is constructed from first physical principles, revealing quantization as an emergent phenomenon arising from a deeper stochastic process. As such, it offers the vibrant community working on the foundations of quantum mechanics an alternative contribution open to discussion. The book starts with a critical summary of the main conceptual problems that still beset quantum mechanics. The basic consideration is then introduced that any material system is an open system in permanent contact with the random zero-point radiation field, with which it may reach a state of equilibrium. Working from this basis, a comprehensive and self-consistent theoretical framework is then developed. The pillars of the quantum-mechanical formalism are derived, as well as the radiative corrections of nonrelativistic QED, while revealing the underlying physical mechanisms. The genesis of some of the central features of quantum theory is elucidated, such as atomic stability, the spin of the electron, quantum fluctuations, quantum nonlocality and entanglement. The theory developed here reaffirms fundamental scientific principles such as realism, causality, locality and objectivity.

The Book of Nothing

Vacuums, Voids, and the Latest Ideas about the Origins of the Universe

Author: John D. Barrow

Publisher: Vintage

ISBN: 0307554813

Category: Science

Page: 384

View: 8501

What conceptual blind spot kept the ancient Greeks (unlike the Indians and Maya) from developing a concept of zero? Why did St. Augustine equate nothingness with the Devil? What tortuous means did 17th-century scientists employ in their attempts to create a vacuum? And why do contemporary quantum physicists believe that the void is actually seething with subatomic activity? You’ll find the answers in this dizzyingly erudite and elegantly explained book by the English cosmologist John D. Barrow. Ranging through mathematics, theology, philosophy, literature, particle physics, and cosmology, The Book of Nothing explores the enduring hold that vacuity has exercised on the human imagination. Combining high-wire speculation with a wealth of reference that takes in Freddy Mercury and Shakespeare alongside Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, and Stephen Hawking, the result is a fascinating excursion to the vanishing point of our knowledge. From the Trade Paperback edition.

Does Altruism Exist?

Culture, Genes, and the Welfare of Others

Author: David Sloan Wilson

Publisher: Yale University Press

ISBN: 0300206755

Category: Science

Page: 192

View: 6558

David Sloan Wilson, one of the world’s leading evolutionists, addresses a question that has puzzled philosophers, psychologists, and evolutionary biologists for centuries: Does altruism exist naturally among the Earth’s creatures? The key to understanding the existence of altruism, Wilson argues, is by understanding the role it plays in the social organization of groups. Groups that function like organisms indubitably exist, and organisms evolved from groups. Evolutionists largely agree on how functionally organized groups evolve, ending decades of controversy, but the resolution casts altruism in a new light: altruism exists but shouldn’t necessarily occupy center stage in our understanding of social behavior. After laying a general theoretical foundation, Wilson surveys altruism and group-level functional organization in our own species—in religion, in economics, and in the rest of everyday life. He shows that altruism is not categorically good and can have pathological consequences. Finally, he shows how a social theory that goes beyond altruism by focusing on group function can help to improve the human condition in a practical sense. Does Altruism Exist? puts old controversies to rest and will become the center of debate for decades to come.

Are Numbers Real?

The Uncanny Relationship of Mathematics and the Physical World

Author: Brian Clegg

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

ISBN: 146689296X

Category: Mathematics

Page: 288

View: 1686

Have you ever wondered what humans did before numbers existed? How they organized their lives, traded goods, or kept track of their treasures? What would your life be like without them? Numbers began as simple representations of everyday things, but mathematics rapidly took on a life of its own, occupying a parallel virtual world. In Are Numbers Real?, Brian Clegg explores the way that math has become more and more detached from reality, and yet despite this is driving the development of modern physics. From devising a new counting system based on goats, through the weird and wonderful mathematics of imaginary numbers and infinity, to the debate over whether mathematics has too much influence on the direction of science, this fascinating and accessible book opens the reader’s eyes to the hidden reality of the strange yet familiar entities that are numbers.

Now: The Physics of Time

Author: Richard A. Muller

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

ISBN: 0393285243

Category: Science

Page: 352

View: 4793

From the celebrated author of the best-selling Physics for Future Presidents comes “a provocative, strongly argued book on the fundamental nature of time” (Lee Smolin). You are reading the word “now” right now. But what does that mean? What makes the ephemeral moment “now” so special? Its enigmatic character has bedeviled philosophers, priests, and modern-day physicists from Augustine to Einstein and beyond. Einstein showed that the flow of time is affected by both velocity and gravity, yet he despaired at his failure to explain the meaning of “now.” Equally puzzling: why does time flow? Some physicists have given up trying to understand, and call the flow of time an illusion, but the eminent experimentalist physicist Richard A. Muller protests. He says physics should explain reality, not deny it. In Now, Muller does more than poke holes in past ideas; he crafts his own revolutionary theory, one that makes testable predictions. He begins by laying out—with the refreshing clarity that made Physics for Future Presidents so successful—a firm and remarkably clear explanation of the physics building blocks of his theory: relativity, entropy, entanglement, antimatter, and the Big Bang. With the stage then set, he reveals a startling way forward. Muller’s monumental work will spark major debate about the most fundamental assumptions of our universe, and may crack one of physics’s longest-standing enigmas.

The Labyrinth of Time

Introducing the Universe

Author: Michael Lockwood

Publisher: Oxford University Press on Demand

ISBN: 0199249954

Category: Science

Page: 405

View: 7978

Modern physics has revealed the universe as a much stranger place than we could have imagined. The puzzle at the centre of our knowledge of the universe is time. Lockwood investigates philosophical questions about past, present, and future, our experience of time, and the possibility of time travel. On this fascinating journey, he provides a careful, lively, and up-to-date introduction to the physics of time and the structure of the universe, guiding the reader step by step through relativity theory and quantum physics, introducing and explaining the ground-breaking ideas of Newton and Boltzmann, Einstein and Schroedinger. From entropy and gravity, black holes and wormholes, The Labyrinth of Time explains how it all began and questions where it may all be headed.

Philosophical consequences of quantum theory

reflections on Bell's theorem

Author: James T. Cushing,Ernan McMullin

Publisher: Univ of Notre Dame Pr


Category: Philosophy

Page: 314

View: 9031

Writings on Physics and Philosophy

Author: Wolfgang Pauli

Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media

ISBN: 3662029944

Category: Science

Page: 290

View: 6918

Like Bohr, Einstein and Heisenberg, Wolfgang Pauli was not only a Nobel laureate and one of the creators of modern physics, but also an eminent philosopher of modern science. This is the first book in English to include all his famous articles on physics and epistemology. They were actually translated during Pauli's lifetime by R. Schlapp and are now edited and annotated by Pauli's former assistant Ch. Enz. Pauli writes about the philosophical significance of complementarity, about space,time and causality, symmetry and the exclusion principle, but also about therole of the unconscious in modern science. His famous article on Kepler is included as well as many historical essays on Bohr, Ehrenfest,and Einstein as well as on the influence of the unconscious on scientific theories. The book addresses not only physicists, philosophers and historians of science, but also the general public.

Deconstructing Cosmology

Author: Robert H. Sanders

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 1107155266

Category: Science

Page: 200

View: 7466

A critical assessment of the standard cosmological model and its main challenger, modified Newtonian dynamics (MOND).

The Unknown Universe: A New Exploration of Time, Space, and Modern Cosmology

Author: Stuart Clark

Publisher: Pegasus Books

ISBN: 1681771934

Category: Science

Page: 288

View: 4461

A groundbreaking guide to the universe and how our latest deep-space discoveries are forcing us to revisit what we know—and what we don't. On March 21, 2013, the European Space Agency released a map of the afterglow of the Big Bang. Taking in 440 sextillion kilometres of space and 13.8 billion years of time, it is physically impossible to make a better map: we will never see the early universe in more detail. On the one hand, such a view is the apotheosis of modern cosmology, on the other, it threatens to undermine almost everything we hold cosmologically sacrosanct. The map contains anomalies that challenge our understanding of the universe. It will force us to revisit what is known and what is unknown, to construct a new model of our universe. This is the first book to address what will be an epoch-defining scientific paradigm shift. Stuart Clark will ask if Newton's famous laws of gravity need to be rewritten; if dark matter and dark energy are just celestial phantoms? Can we ever know what happened before the Big Bang? What’s at the bottom of a black hole? Are there universes beyond our own? Does time exist? Are the once immutable laws of physics changing?

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