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A major contribution to our understanding of the basic laws of the universe—from the author of The Book of Nothing.
The constants of nature are the fundamental laws of physics that apply throughout the universe: gravity, velocity of light, electromagnetism and quantum mechanics. They encode the deepest secrets of the universe, and express at once our greatest knowledge and our greatest ignorance about the cosmos.
Their existence has taught us the profound truth that nature abounds with unseen regularities. Yet while we have become skilled at measuring the values of these constants, our frustrating inability to explain or predict their values shows how much we have still to learn about inner workings of the universe.
What is the ultimate status of these constants of nature? Are they truly constant? And are there other universes where they are different?
John D. Barrow, one of our foremost mathematicians and cosmologists, discusses the latest thinking about these and many more dramatic issues in this accessible and thought-provoking book.
“Fascinating…. The major strength of the book lies in the diversity of topics discussed.” —Nature
“Fascinating. The siren song of constants has drawn the greatest minds of physics and cosmology.” —The Washington Post Book World
“Barrow’s familiarity with the material allows him to glide from Pascal to Pasadena in smooth, informative paragraphs.” —Economist
“Barrow is a fantastic storyteller. The book is full of wonderful moments, vignettes that you will want to remember.” —The Guardian
“Barrow’s appeal lies in a winning way with historical anecdote and apt quotation and a forceful eloquence, when it comes to the most mind-boggling thoughts, that irresistibly sweeps you along.” —Daily Telegraph (London)
“A scholarly though always accessible account.... For even the most complex of ideas, the author takes a breath to explain such matters as the Planck barrier and the laws of thermodynamics.... A satisfying excursion.” —Kirkus Reviews