Paradox: The Nine Greatest Enigmas in Physics

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9780552778060: Paradox: The Nine Greatest Enigmas in Physics

A fun and fascinating look at great scientific paradoxes.

   Throughout history, scientists have come up with theories and ideas that just don't seem to make sense.  These we call paradoxes.  The paradoxes Al-Khalili offers are drawn chiefly from physics and astronomy and represent those that have stumped some of the finest minds.  For example, how can a cat be both dead and alive at the same time?  Why will Achilles never beat a tortoise in a race, no matter how fast he runs?  And how can a person be ten years older than his twin?

   With elegant explanations that bring the reader inside the mind of those who've developed them, Al-Khalili helps us to see that, in fact, paradoxes can be solved if seen from the right angle.  Just as surely as Al-Khalili narrates the enduring fascination of these classic paradoxes, he reveals their underlying logic.  In doing so, he brings to life a select group of the most exciting concepts in human knowledge.  Paradox is mind-expanding fun.

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About the Author:

Professor Jim Al-Khalili OBE is a quantum physicist at the University of Surrey and a regular radio and television broadcaster for the BBC. He is winner of both the Royal Society Michael Faraday medal and the Institute of Physics Kelvin medal for his science communication work. Paradox is his fifth book.

From Booklist:

This exploration of enigmas in physics is aimed at popular-science readers, but in places, it does require at least a working knowledge of higher math. Some of the famous paradoxes (or, rather, perceived paradoxes) that quantum physicist and university professor Al-Khalili dissects are relatively easy to grasp, such as the one that explains, despite what our brains might tell us, why you only need a group of 57 people to guarantee that at least two of them will share a birthday. But others, such as Zeno’s famous paradox of Achilles and the Tortoise (which seems to suggest that, no matter how fast Achilles runs, he can never catch up to the slower tortoise), take quite a bit of explaining and occasionally some physics history or mathematics. It’s a very interesting book with some nifty surprises: Olber’s Paradox, for example, which asks why the sky gets dark at night when there are billions of stars up there, provides proof of the Big Bang theory. Not for your average brain-teaser fan, but this volume should have definite appeal to readers with the necessary grounding in the subject. --David Pitt

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Book Description Transworld Publishers Ltd, United Kingdom, 2013. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. This book is about my own personal favourite puzzles and conundrums in science, all of which have famously been referred to as paradoxes, but which turn out not to be paradoxes at all when considered carefully and viewed from the right angle. A true paradox is a statement that leads to a circular and self-contradictory argument, or one that describes a logically impossible situation. Our subject is perceived paradoxes - questions or thought-experiments that on first encounter seem impossible to answer, but which science has been able to solve. Our tour of these mind-expanding puzzles will take us through some of the greatest hits of science - from Einstein s theories about space and time, to the latest ideas of how the quantum world works. Some of our paradoxes may be familiar, such as Schrodinger s famous cat, which is seemingly alive and dead at the same time; or the Grandfather Paradox - if you travelled back in time and killed your grandfather you would not have been born and would not therefore have killed your grandfather. Other paradoxes will be new to you, but no less bizarre and fascinating. We will ask such questions as: how does the fact that it gets dark at night prove the Universe must have started with a big bang? Where are all the aliens? And why does the length of a piece of string vary depending on how fast it is moving? In resolving our paradoxes we will have to travel to the furthest reaches of the Universe and explore the very essence of space and time. Hold on tight. Bookseller Inventory # AAZ9780552778060

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Jim Al-Khalili
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Book Description Transworld Publishers Ltd, United Kingdom, 2013. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. This book is about my own personal favourite puzzles and conundrums in science, all of which have famously been referred to as paradoxes, but which turn out not to be paradoxes at all when considered carefully and viewed from the right angle. A true paradox is a statement that leads to a circular and self-contradictory argument, or one that describes a logically impossible situation. Our subject is perceived paradoxes - questions or thought-experiments that on first encounter seem impossible to answer, but which science has been able to solve. Our tour of these mind-expanding puzzles will take us through some of the greatest hits of science - from Einstein s theories about space and time, to the latest ideas of how the quantum world works. Some of our paradoxes may be familiar, such as Schrodinger s famous cat, which is seemingly alive and dead at the same time; or the Grandfather Paradox - if you travelled back in time and killed your grandfather you would not have been born and would not therefore have killed your grandfather. Other paradoxes will be new to you, but no less bizarre and fascinating. We will ask such questions as: how does the fact that it gets dark at night prove the Universe must have started with a big bang? Where are all the aliens? And why does the length of a piece of string vary depending on how fast it is moving? In resolving our paradoxes we will have to travel to the furthest reaches of the Universe and explore the very essence of space and time. Hold on tight. Bookseller Inventory # AAZ9780552778060

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