The Biggest Ideas in the Universe: Space, Time, and Motion (Hardcover)
Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
The most trusted explainer of the most mind-boggling concepts pulls back the veil of mystery that has too long cloaked the most valuable building blocks of modern science. Sean Carroll, with his genius for making complex notions entertaining, presents in his uniquely lucid voice the fundamental ideas informing the modern physics of reality.
Physics offers deep insights into the workings of the universe but those insights come in the form of equations that often look like gobbledygook. Sean Carroll shows that they are really like meaningful poems that can help us fly over sierras to discover a miraculous multidimensional landscape alive with radiant giants, warped space-time, and bewilderingly powerful forces. High school calculus is itself a centuries-old marvel as worthy of our gaze as the Mona Lisa. And it may come as a surprise the extent to which all our most cutting-edge ideas about black holes are built on the math calculus enables.
No one else could so smoothly guide readers toward grasping the very equation Einstein used to describe his theory of general relativity. In the tradition of the legendary Richard Feynman lectures presented sixty years ago, this book is an inspiring, dazzling introduction to a way of seeing that will resonate across cultural and generational boundaries for many years to come.
About the Author
Sean Carroll is Homewood Professor of Natural Philosophy at Johns Hopkins University, and Fractal Faculty at the Santa Fe Institute. He is host of the Mindscape podcast, and author of From Eternity to Here, The Particle at the End of the Universe, The Big Picture, and Something Deeply Hidden. He has been awarded prizes and fellowships by the National Science Foundation, NASA, the American Institute of Physics, the Royal Society of London, and many others. He lives in Baltimore with his wife, writer Jennifer Ouellette.
"No-nonsense, not-dumbed-down explanations of basic laws of the universe that reward close attention."
"Neat, and extremely simple: only a deep thinker such as Sean Carroll could introduce the complexity of Einstein’s general relativity in such a luminous and straightforward manner."
—Carlo Rovelli, author of There Are Places in the World Where Rules Are Less Important Than Kindness and Seven Brief Lessons on Physics
"Sean Carroll is a wizard of empathy. In this short book, the first of three on The Biggest Ideas in the Universe, he anticipates what’s always confused you about physics and then gently guides you to enlightenment… and ultimately, to newfound wonder."
—Steven Strogatz, professor of applied mathematics, Cornell University, blogger for The New York Times and The New Yorker, frequent guest on Radiolab and Science Friday, and author of The Joy of X and Infinite Powers
"As a ten-year-old physics enthusiast, I would have loved The Biggest Ideas in the Universe. With this book, Sean Carroll rejects traditional elitism in physics and welcomes in anyone who knows only a little algebra but wants to understand the whole universe. Carroll, who has long been one of my role models for exposition about the cosmos, dreams of a world where physics is hot gossip. With this book, he takes an important step toward making this idea a reality by giving people the tools they need so they too can understand the biggest ideas—and questions—in the universe. I can’t wait to hear that people are arguing about beyond standard model physics at the Thanksgiving dinner table!"
—Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, author of The Disordered Cosmos: A Journey into Dark Matter, Spacetime, and Dreams Deferred
"Sean Carroll's greatest gift isn't that he's an expert on the fundamentals of physics, which he is, but that he never speaks down to his reader. He assumes that anyone, even the uninitiated, can learn to understand the formulae that underlie complicated concepts like space and time. It is a pleasure to read his work, a greater pleasure still to get a world-class education from such a witty, thoughtful teacher."
—Annalee Newitz, author of The Future of Another Timeline and Four Lost Cities