cover image The Physics of Immortality

The Physics of Immortality

Frank J. Tipler. Doubleday Books, $24.95 (527pp) ISBN 978-0-385-46798-8

In this higly unorthodox attempt to fold theology into physics, Tipler, a Tulane professor of mathematical physics, uses quantum mechanics, information theory, modern mathematics and physics in an effort to prove the existence of God, an afterlife, heaven, purgatory and the physical resurrection of the dead. Borrowing French Jesuit paleontologist Teilhard de Chardin's concept of God as the ``Omega Point,'' an omniscient person ``on the boundary of all future time,'' Tipler pursues a reductionist approach. The human soul, he says, is a ``software'' program run on the brain's ``hardware.'' This paradoxically leads him to embrace free will and a loving God, who will one day resurrect us all, though ``whether we shall be raised is separate from the question of whether we shall be granted eternal life after being raised.'' Along with technical and mathematical sections of this demanding treatise, readers will find diverse material on interstellar rocket probes, Jewish messianism, the deism of America's Founding Fathers and concepts of immortality in the world's major faiths. Illustrations. Library of Science and Astronomy Book Club main selections; Reader's Subscription and Natural Science Book Club alternates; QPB selection; author tour. (Sept.)