cover image There Are Places in the World Where Rules Are Less Important than Kindness: And Other Thoughts on Physics, Philosophy and the World

There Are Places in the World Where Rules Are Less Important than Kindness: And Other Thoughts on Physics, Philosophy and the World

Carlo Rovelli, trans. from the Italian by Erica Segre and Simon Carnell. Riverhe

Theoretical physicist Rovelli (The Order of Time) considers politics, art, philosophy, and science in this provocative collection of 46 previously published essays. In “Dante, Einstein and the Three-Sphere” he muses on how Dante anticipated Einstein’s theory on the shape of the universe, noting that “poetry and science are both manifestations of the spirit that creates new ways of thinking the world.” In “Which Science Is Closer to Faith” he encourages readers to set “aside the traditional conflict between science and religion and to focus on what they have in common, rather than on their differences,” while in the powerful “A Day in Africa” Rovelli reflects on a day spent exploring rural Senegal after having visited a mosque: “Perhaps I have actually learned something, one small additional thing, about the complexity of being human.” Some of the pieces haven’t aged well, as when he writes in an essay about Covid that “the reality is that this disaster has no culprits” and that “the number [of deaths] is far lower than the deaths each year from cancer.” Still, Rovelli’s fans will enjoy having this on their shelves. (May)