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Fashion, Faith, and Fantasy in the New Physics of the Universe
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Bibliographic Detail
Publisher Princeton Univ Pr
Publication date August 30, 2016
Pages 424
Binding Hardcover
Book category Adult Non-Fiction
ISBN-13 9780691119793
ISBN-10 0691119791
Dimensions 0 by 6 by 9 in.
Original list price $29.95
Other format details university press
Summaries and Reviews
Amazon.com description: Product Description:

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.



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Hardcover
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from Princeton Univ Pr (August 30, 2016)
9780691119793 | details & prices | 424 pages | List price $29.95
About: What can fashionable ideas, blind faith, or pure fantasy possibly have to do with the scientific quest to understand the universe?

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