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No scientific quest is as exciting and elusive as the search to understand the Universe. Falk's book places this search in its historical context, tracing the quest from its roots in ancient Greece to the twenty-first century, through the breakthroughs of Newton, Maxwell, and Einstein, up to the excitement of "string theory" and today's efforts to merge quantum theory with general relativity. With as much emphasis on history as on science, Falk's enlightening and entertaining book is aimed very much for the general reader. The search for a Unified Theory is full of quirky personalities, interesting tales, and moments of brilliance-high science and high drama.
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Dan Falk is an award-winning science writer and broadcaster who has received the prestigious Science in Society Journalism Award from the National Association of Science Writers and the Science Writing Award in Physics and Astronomy from the American Institute of Physics for his documentary work. He is also the author of In Search of Time: The History, Physics, and Philosophy of Time. He lives in Toronto, Canada.From School Library Journal:
Adult/High School–In this entertaining account, Falk makes the history of Western science seem fresh and new, and the mysteries of modern physics remarkably accessible. With humor, brevity, and clarity, and including the occasional black-and-white illustration or cartoon, the author brings history and personalities to life. As he delineates science's many revelations–from the ancient Greek search for logos through discoveries of gravity, electromagnetism, and the rest, and on to modern physics–he tells the story of an unbroken quest to understand the workings and origins of our universe, and, sometimes, of the price exacted for pursuing knowledge beyond accepted paradigms and dogma. Reminding readers that the most elegant solution to any problem is usually the correct one, with each new development he envisions the way that concept might be expressed on a T-shirt. Arriving at the particle physics, cosmology, and string theory of today, he explains how a "theory of everything," now under construction, promises to reconcile the several seemingly unconnected directions taken by physics in the past century. In the final section, he asks where religion fits in; though here he has fewer answers, he provides many useful points for consideration. Among the recent books attempting to translate, for nonmathematicians, the leading edge of a science whose concepts can only truly be accessed mathematically, this may well be the most successful.–Christine C. Menefee, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
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