The twentieth century gave us two great theories of physics. The general theory of relativity describes the behavior of very large things, and quantum theory the behavior of very small things. In this landmark book, John Gribbin--one of the best-known science writers of the past thirty years--presents his own version of the Holy Grail of physics, the search that has been going on for decades to find a unified "Theory of Everything" that combines these ideas into one mathematical package, a single equation that could be printed on a T-shirt, containing the answer to life, the Universe, and everything. With his inimitable mixture of science, history, and biography, Gribbin shows how--despite skepticism among many physicists--these two great theories are very compatible, and point to a deep truth about the nature of our existence. The answer lies, intriguingly, with the age of the universe: 13.8 billion years.
In investigation into the study of the sun.
What is time? How did it begin, and where will it end? Is time travel possible? How does the universe expand, and where do black holes come from? Junior Chicken and Alexis, the Quantum Cat, examine these and other extraordinary concepts, explaining the substance of Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time in terms that "even a chicken can understand." This humorous graphic novel-style exploration of cosmology and quantum physics will amuse and enlighten curious folk of all ages. Author John Gribbin received his PhD in astrophysics from the University of Cambridge and has written more than 120 popular science books, many of them science fiction. He swears on Einstein's socks that every word in this book -- fantastic as it seems -- is true. Artist Kate Charlesworth's extensive and diverse career in illustration includes a cartoon strip for New Scientist, "Life, the Universe and (Almost) Everything."
A mind-blowing glimpse into the near future, where quantum computing will have world-transforming effects.The quantum computer is no longer the stuff of science fiction. Pioneering physicists are on the brink of unlocking a new quantum universe which provides a better representation of reality than our everyday experiences and common sense ever could. The birth of quantum computers - which, like Schrödinger's famous "dead and alive" cat, rely on entities like electrons, photons, or atoms existing in two states at the same time - is set to turn the computing world on its head.In his fascinating study of this cutting-edge technology, John Gribbin updates his previous views on the nature of quantum reality, arguing for a universe of many parallel worlds where "everything is real." Looking back to Alan Turing's work on the Enigma machine and the first electronic computer, Gribbin explains how quantum theory developed to make quantum computers work in practice as well as in principle. He takes us beyond the arena of theoretical physics to explore their practical applications - from machines which learn through "intuition" and trial and error to unhackable laptops and smartphones. And he investigates the potential for this extraordinary science to create a world where communication occurs faster than light and teleportation is possible.This is an exciting insider's look at the new frontier of computer science and its revolutionary implications.
In this easy-to-read series, eminent science writers John and Mary Gribbin look at the lives and work of eight major scientists. Each book is accessible enough to be read for fun but informative enough to appeal to students of science. The iconic Albert Einstein emerges as a dashing ladies' man and the greatest scientist of his time; but why did Charles Darwin wait for decades before going public with his ideas on evolution? How was Marie Curie's great work shaped by her childhood experiences of oppression under the Czars? And what was Edmond Halley, of comet fame, doing as Captain of a King's Ship and later spy for the Crown? An introduction and afterword places each scientist's work in the context of the development of their subject.
The Dragon, an enormous comet, is on a trajectory that will bring it perilously close to an Earth that is still suffering from the scars of a nuclear incident, and from the problems of the Greenhouse Effect. For the optimists - those that remain - it is a sign of change for the better; for others, the comet foreshadows humanity's final doom.But to Francis Reese and the hard-pressed astronauts of the depleted space programme, the Dragon presents a third outrageous, yet irresistible possibility - the transformation of a barren world into a new home for the beleaguered peoples of Earth.
Brief biography and description of Einstein's contributions.
One of the world's most celebrated science writers reveals the origins of Einstein's General Theory--and provides a greater understanding of who Einstein was at the time of this pivotal achievement. In 1915, Albert Einstein presented his masterwork to the Prussian Academy of Sciences--a theory of gravity, matter, space and time: the General Theory of Relativity. Einstein himself said it was "the most valuable theory of my life," and "of incomparable beauty." It describes the evolution of the universe, black holes, the behavior of orbiting neutron stars, and why clocks run slower on the surface of the earth than in space. It even suggests the possibility of time travel. And yet when we think of Einstein's breakthrough year, we think instead of 1905, the year of Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity and his equation E=mc2, as his annus mirabilis, even though the Special Theory has a narrower focus. Today the General Theory is overshadowed by these achievements, regarded as 'too difficult' for ordinary mortals to comprehend. In Einstein's Masterwork, John Gribbin puts Einstein's astonishing breakthrough in the context of his life and work, and makes it clear why his greatest year was indeed 1915 and his General Theory his true masterpiece.
In this fascinating Very Short Introduction, popular science writer John Gribben tells the story of our growing understanding of galaxies, from the days before Galileo to our present-day observations of our many hundreds of millions of galactic neighbors. Not only are galaxies fascinating astronomical structures in themselves, but their study has revealed much of what we know today about the cosmos, providing a window on the Big Bang and the origins of the Universe. Gribben looks at our own "Milky Way" Galaxy in detail, from the different kinds of stars that are born within it, to the origins of its magnificent spiral structure. Perhaps most interesting, Gribben describes the many exciting discoveries have been made about our own galaxy and about those beyond: how a supermassive black hole lurks at the center of every galaxy, how enormous forces are released when galaxies collide, how distant galaxies provide a window on the early Universe, and how the formation of young galaxies shed needed light on the mysteries of Cold Dark Matter.
A physicist and author of popular-science books offers down-to-earth discussions of string theory, black holes, superfluidity, and other cosmic oddities. Playful engravings and cartoons illustrate these imaginative explanations of the laws of physics and their application to everything from massive stars to miniscule atoms. Suitable for readers of all ages.
Big ideas made simple -- six books in an incredible new series that explains important scientific ideas more clearly than ever before. Climate change resulting from an increase in greenhouse gases is perhaps the greatest threat to our planet's future. Here, Fred Pearce examines the causes and dramatic effects, and what can be done to remedy the situation -- before it's too late. This stimulating new series uses an innovative mix of graphics, artwork, and photographs to explain and illuminate the most important scientific topics of the day. Unique in popular science guides, Essential Science uses bright, full-color images to make traditionally "difficult" subjects more accessible. Each title focuses on a scientific or technological topic that is currently provoking debate and is likely to have a widespread impact on our lives. Lively, readable text from top science writers ensures all readers -- from 14+ schoolchildren to academics -- gain a full understanding of the facts and related issues. Under the direction of renowned science writer John Gribbin, expert authors describe, in lively, jargon-free text, the principles and discoveries behind each subject, summarize what is currently known, and predict future issues and trends.
Quantum theory is so shocking that Einstein could not bring himself to accept it. It is so important that it provides the fundamental underpinning of all modern sciences. Without it, we'd have no nuclear power or nuclear weapons, no TV, no computers, no science of molecular biology, no understanding of DNA, no genetic engineering. In Search of Schrodinger's Cat tells the complete story of quantum mechanics, a truth stranger than any fiction. John Gribbin takes us step by step into an ever more bizarre and fascinating place, requiring only that we approach it with an open mind. He introduces the scientists who developed quantum theory. He investigates the atom, radiation, time travel, the birth of the universe, superconductors and life itself. And in a world full of its own delights, mysteries and surprises, he searches for Schrodinger's Cat - a search for quantum reality - as he brings every reader to a clear understanding of the most important area of scientific study today - quantum physics. In Search of Schrodinger's Cat is a fascinating and delightful introduction to the strange world of the quantum - an essential element in understanding today's world.From the Trade Paperback edition.
In this incredible expedition into the origins, workings, and evolution of our home planet, John Gribbin, bestselling author of In Search of Schrödinger's Cat, The Scientists, and In Search of the Multiverse, does what he does best: taking four and a half billion years of mind-boggling science and digging out the best bits. From the physics of Newton and the geology of Wegener, to the environmentalism of Lovelock, this is a must read for Earth's scientists and residents alike. Trained as an astrophysicist at Cambridge University, John Gribbin is currently Visiting Fellow in Astronomy at the University of Sussex, England.
Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy is renowned for its mystery and magic. What's the truth behind it all? Is the golden compass actually based in science? How does the subtle knife cut through anything? Could there be a bomb like the one made with Lyra's hair? How do the Gallivespians'lodestone resonators really work? And, of course, what are the Dark Materials? Drawing on string theory and spacetime, quantum physics and chaos theory, award-winning science writers Mary and John Gribbin reveal the real science behind Philip Pullman's bestselling fantasy trilogy in entertaining and crystal-clear prose. "From the Hardcover edition. "
A wonderfully readable account of scientific development over the past ﬁve hundred years, focusing on the lives and achievements of individual scientists, by the bestselling author of In Search of Schrödinger's Cat. In this ambitious new book, John Gribbin tells the stories of the people who have made science, and of the times in which they lived and worked. He begins with Copernicus, during the Renaissance, when science replaced mysticism as a means of explaining the workings of the world, and he continues through the centuries, creating an unbroken genealogy of not only the greatest but also the more obscure names of Western science, a dot-to-dot line linking amateur to genius, and accidental discovery to brilliant deduction. By focusing on the scientists themselves, Gribbin has written an anecdotal narrative enlivened with stories of personal drama, success and failure. A bestselling science writer with an international reputation, Gribbin is among the few authors who could even attempt a work of this magnitude. Praised as "a sequence of witty, information-packed tales" and "a terrific read" by The Times upon its recent British publication, The Scientists breathes new life into such venerable icons as Galileo, Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein and Linus Pauling, as well as lesser lights whose stories have been undeservedly neglected. Filled with pioneers, visionaries, eccentrics and madmen, this is the history of science as it has never been told before.
No one is more successful than this author when it comes to making the cutting edge of physics more accessible to a broad lay audience. In Schrodinger's Kittens, he took readers to the eerie world of subatomic particles & waves. Now, he explores the most exciting area of research in physics today: string theory. Following a series of major breakthroughs in the 1990s, physicists are putting together a clearer picture of how subatomic particles work. By hypothesizing particles as a single loop of vibrating "string," they are on the brink of discovering a way to explain all of nature's forces in a single theory. Grandly named "superstrings,"& incorporating the ideas of "supersymmetry," these models are the prime candidate for the long sought-for "Theory of Everything." Written in clear & accessible language. The Search for Superstrings, Symmetry, & the Theory of Everything brings to life the remarkable scientific research that is on the cusp of radically altering our conception of the universe.
Frank Rhind was lucky. He saw the Ice Dancer and lived. The town of Hays died. And still they didn't believe Dr. William Stovin's warnings. For very many years climatologists had been predicting a change in the world's climate but they always believed that the process would take centuries. Now there was a reason to believe differently. Stovin had staked his career and credibility on trying to persuade the U.S. National Science Council to act, but 15,000 years of warmth had lulled mankind into thinking that climatic history was over. Already it was too late. The new Ice Age had begun.One by one the great northern cities - Chicago, Oslo, Montreal, Moscow, Leningrad - came under siege. Some fell and were evacuated, sending their young, old and sick to crowded areas further south. Crops and animals were destroyed. Governments drew lines of catastrophe across their national maps. Doomsday prophets were in full cry. Technological man was overwhelmed. The world had changed.Some time in the year future the next Ice Age will be triggered off. It could happen in a thousand years' time, or in a century from now. Or it could, quite literally, happen next winter. This book is fiction only because the events described have not yet happened. But it is not science fiction because all the science in the book is fact. When the year arrives that we see the sixth winter resembling 1792 within the space of a decade or so, then the Ice Age will be with us in a matter of weeks - and it will develop very much as described here.
Milankovitch cycles were actually understood in the 70's and scientists said that according to the cycles, we "should" be beginning a new Ice Age shortly. This novel is an outgrowth of "what if" the Ice Age was starting.
Originally published in 1992 to great acclaim, this updated edition traces the course of Hawking's life and science, successfully marrying biography and physics to tell the story of a remarkable man. Stephen Hawking is no ordinary scientist. With a career that began over thirty years ago at Cambridge University, he has managed to do more than perhaps any other scientist to broaden our basic understanding of the universe. His theoretical work on black holes and his progress in advancing our knowledge of the origin and nature of the cosmos have been groundbreaking--if not downright revolutionary. Stephen Hawking has also spent much of his adult life confined to a wheelchair, a victim of ALS, a degenerative motor neuron disease. Clearly his physical limitations have done nothing to confine him intellectually. He simply never allowed his illness to hinder his scientific development. In fact, many would argue that his liberation from the routine chores of life has allowed him to focus his efforts more keenly on his science. Hawking certainly would have been remarkable for his cutting edge work in theoretical physics alone. However, he has also managed to popularize science in a way unparalleled by other scientists of his stature. He became a household name, achieving almost cult-like fame, with the release of his best-selling book, A Brief History of Time. Although steeped in the potentially overwhelming complexities of cosmology, he succeeded in selling millions of copies to audiences eager to learn even some of what he has to offer. Science writers White and Gribbin have skillfully painted a portrait of an indefatigable genius and a scientific mind that seemingly knows no bounds. Knitting together clear explanations of Hawking's science with a detailed personal history that is both balanced as well as sensitive, we come to know--and appreciate--both. As Stephen Hawking's new book, The Universe in a Nutshell, hits the best-seller lists, it is the ideal time for readers to learn more about this remarkable man and his vast body of accomplishments.
Originally published in 1992 to great acclaim, this updated edition traces the course of Hawking's life and science, successfully marrying biography and physics to tell the story of a remarkable man.<P> Stephen Hawking is no ordinary scientist. With a career that began over thirty years ago at Cambridge University, he has managed to do more than perhaps any other scientist to broaden our basic understanding of the universe. His theoretical work on black holes and his progress in advancing our knowledge of the origin and nature of the cosmos have been groundbreaking--if not downright revolutionary.<P> Stephen Hawking has also spent much of his adult life confined to a wheelchair, a victim of ALS, a degenerative motor neuron disease. Clearly his physical limitations have done nothing to confine him intellectually. He simply never allowed his illness to hinder his scientific development. In fact, many would argue that his liberation from the routine chores of life has allowed him to focus his efforts more keenly on his science.<P> Hawking certainly would have been remarkable for his cutting edge work in theoretical physics alone. However, he has also managed to popularize science in a way unparalleled by other scientists of his stature. He became a household name, achieving almost cult-like fame, with the release of his best-selling book, A Brief History of Time. Although steeped in the potentially overwhelming complexities of cosmology, he succeeded in selling millions of copies to audiences eager to learn even some of what he has to offer.<P> Science writers White and Gribbin have skillfully painted a portrait of an indefatigable genius and a scientific mind that seemingly knows no bounds. Knitting together clear explanations of Hawking's science with a detailed personal history that is both balanced as well as sensitive, we come to know--and appreciate--both.<P> As Stephen Hawking's new book, The Universe in a Nutshell, hits the best-seller lists, it is the ideal time for readers to learn more about this remarkable man and his vast body of accomplishments.
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