Knocking on Heaven's Door: How Physics and Scientific Thinking Illuminate the Universe and the Modern World

Lisa Randall. Ecco, $29.99 (464p) ISBN 978-0-06-172372-8
Dispelling the idea that science is based on unchanging rules, Harvard physicist Randall (Warped Passages) offers an insider's view of modern physics, a vital, continually "evolving body of knowledge" in which previous ideas are always open to change—or even disposal, when researchers discover a theory which better fits observational evidence. While acknowledging art and religion as different ways to search for truth, Randall celebrates how science "seeks objective and verifiable truth" through careful observation and measurement. As our technology allows our view of the world to expand, the range of things we can observe also expands, from what we can see with our naked eye to the world of subatomic particles and forces studied by particle physicists. The Large Hadron Collider is the biggest, most complex tool yet built to parse this tiny world to answer some of physics' biggest questions: the source of mass and gravity, the secrets behind dark matter and dark energy, and the underlying structure of the universe. Randall's witty, accessible discussion reveals the effort and wonder at hand as scientists strive to learn who we are and where we came from. 75 b&w illus. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 05/23/2011
Release date: 09/01/2011
Genre: Nonfiction
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