978-0-19-512664-8 / 9780195126648

The Life of the Cosmos


Publisher:Oxford University Press, USA



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About the book:

Science fans, hold on to your hats! Lee Smolin, a professor at the Center for Gravitational Physics and Geometry at Pennsylvania State University, is about to take you on the ride of your life. Imagine, if you will, the theory of evolution applied to physics. What if our universe is so ideally adapted to life because it developed that way? What if ours is just one among many thousands of universes, all engaged in a cosmic survival-of-the-fittest struggle? These are just two of the wildly original theories Smolin posits in The Life of the Cosmos, in which Alice in Wonderland meets quantum physics. According to Smolin, the majority of today's physicists still regard physical laws as immutable, mathematical and eternally true--to them, the universe is an intricate mechanism, a cosmic clock. But what if the laws of physics aren't really "laws" at all, but rather an evolving, developing process of natural selection that began even before the Big Bang?

From Smolin's initial theory, it's a short step to black holes, alternate universes, string theory, gauge symmetry and knots--all complicated abstractions that Smolin describes and explains in a remarkably comprehensible way. Even if you don't agree with Smolin's science, his book makes for great mind-bending reading and more than a little food for thought. If nothing else, The Life of the Cosmos proves once and for all that there really is intelligent life on this planet.

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