Why do polished stones look wet? How does the Twin Paradox work? What if Jupiter were a star? How can we be sure that pi never repeats? How does a quantum computer break encryption? Discover the answers to these, and other profound physics questions! This fascinating book presents a collection of articles based on conversations and correspondences between the author and complete strangers about physics and math. The author, a researcher in mathematical physics, responds to dozens of questions posed by inquiring minds from all over the world, ranging from the everyday to the profound. Rather than unnecessarily complex explanations mired in mysterious terminology and symbols, the reader is presented with the reasoning, experiments, and mathematics in a casual, conversational, and often comical style. Neither over-simplified nor over-technical, the lucid and entertaining writing will guide the reader from each innocent question to a better understanding of the weird and beautiful universe around us. Advance praise for Do Colors Exist?: “Every high school science teacher should have a copy of this book. The individual articles offer enrichment to those students who wish to go beyond a typical ‘dry curriculum’. The articles are very fun. I probably laughed out loud every 2-3 minutes. This is not easy to do. In fact, my children are interested in the book because they heard me laughing so much.” – Ken Ono, Emory University
What's wrong with stealing? What's the best way to blood test a pot-bellied pig? Should we tolerate intolerance? In the wake of his enormously popular books, The Armchair Economistand More Sex is Safer Sex, Steven Landsburg uses concepts from maths, economics and physics to address the big questions in philosophy: Where does knowledge come from? What's the difference between right and wrong? Do our beliefs matter? Is it possible to know everything? Provocative, utterly entertaining and always surprising, The Big Questions challenges readers to re-evaluate their most fundamental beliefs and reveals the relationship between the loftiest philosophical quests and our everyday lives.
This collection of essays is the fruit of about fifteen years of discussion and research by James Force and me. As I look back on it, our interest and concern with Newton's theological ideas began in 1975 at Washington University in St. Louis. James Force was a graduate student in philosophy and I was a professor there. For a few years before, I had been doing research and writing on Millenarianism and Messianism in the 17th and 18th centuries, touching occasionally on Newton. I had bought a copy of Newton's Observations upon the Prophecies of Daniel, and the Apocalypse of St. John for a few pounds and, occasionally, read in it. In the Spring of 1975 I was giving a graduate seminar on Millenarian and Messianic ideas in the development of modem philosophy. Force was in the seminar. One day he came very excitedly up to me and said he wanted to write his dissertation on William Whiston. At that point in history, the only thing that came to my mind about Whiston was that he had published a, or the, standard translation of Josephus (which I also happened to have in my library. ) Force told me about the amazing views he had found in Whiston's notes on Josephus and in some of the few writings he could find in St. Louis by, or about, Whiston, who was Newton's successor as Lucasian Professor of mathematics at Cambridge and who wrote inordinately on Millenarian theology.
Acknowledging that the scientific and the spiritual communities are increasingly split, Raymo builds strong bridges between them. He ilustrates his arguement with an array of thought-provoking stories, such as the remarkable migratory flight of a small bird called the Red Knot; the long, glorious glide of the Comet Hyakutake across the night sky; a hilarious alien abduction that didn't happen. Together, they are compelling evidence that religion should embrace the reliable knowledge of the world that science provides, while at the same time science should respect and nourish humankind's need for spiritual sustenance. 'Miracles are explainable, ' Raymo paraphrases the writer Tim Robinson, 'it is the explanations that are miraculous'. For anyone drawn to reflect on life's meaning and purpose, Chet Raymo's uncomprimising skepticism and reverence for mystery will affirm and inspire.
بفرض أني كنت سأجلس ذات مرة وأقول في نفسي إني أحتاج إلى فكرة جديدة هنا [أدخل مجال حاجة حقيقية] ماذا كنت سأفعل؟ كنت سأجري بحثا وأحاول الخروج بفكرة منطقية جديدة. كنت سأجلس وأعبث بأصابعي أملا بأن يأتيني الإلهام. كنت سأطلب من شخص مبدع أن يقدم لي فكرة. كنت سأدعو مجموعة من الناس للقيام بعملية عصف فكري على وجه السرعة.