The Universe Speaks in Numbers: How Modern Maths Reveals Nature’s Deepest Secrets
A groundbreaking exploration of how the interplay of physics and mathematics has enriched our understanding of the universe – essential reading for anyone who wants to grasp how physicists are attempting, in Stephen Hawking’s words, to ‘know the mind of God’.
One of the great mysteries of science is that underlying all the complexities of the universe is a harmonious order, whose existence Einstein described as ‘a miracle’. No less miraculous, the fundamental laws of the universe can be written in the language of advanced mathematics.
Searching for these laws, physicists have found themselves developing ambitious mathematical ideas without experiment as their guide. In The Universe Speaks in Numbers, Graham Farmelo demonstrates how today’s greatest scientific minds are working in a tradition that dates back to Newton. He takes us on an adventure from the Enlightenment, through the breakthroughs of Einstein and Dirac, to the contemporary physicists and mathematicians who are shedding fascinating light on each other’s disciplines. As Farmelo shows, this blossoming relationship between mathematics and physics is responsible for huge, redefining advances in our understanding of reality, space and time.
Always lively, vivid and authoritative, Farmelo guides the reader through the most thrilling and controversial developments in contemporary thought.
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‘A superbly written, riveting book. In elegant prose, and using virtually no equations, Farmelo describes the ongoing quest of great thinkers to understand the bedrock nature of reality’ Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal, Emeritus Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics at the University of Cambridge
‘I am overcome with admiration for this book’s range and profundity … An amazing achievement’ Michael Frayn, award-winning writer of Copenhagen
‘Masterful … a riveting account of one of the greatest stories of our time’ Nima Arkani-Hamed, Professor at the Institute of Advanced Study, Princeton