Popular math at its most entertaining and enlightening. "Zero is really something"-Washington Post A New York Times Notable Book. The Babylonians invented it, the Greeks banned it, the Hindus worshiped it, and the Church used it to fend off heretics. Now it threatens the foundations of modern physics. For centuries the power of zero savored of the demonic; once harnessed, it became the most important tool in mathematics. For zero, infinity's twin, is not like other numbers. It is both nothing and everything. In Zero, Science Journalist Charles Seife follows this innocent-looking number from its birth as an Eastern philosophical concept to its struggle for acceptance in Europe, its rise and t...
Humankind has grappled for millennia with the fundamental questions of the origin and end of the universe--it was a focus of ancient religions and myths and of the inquiries of Aristotle, Galileo, Copernicus, Kepler, and Newton. Today we are at the brink of discoveries that should soon reveal the deepest secrets of the universe. Alpha and Omega is a dispatch from the front lines of the cosmological revolution that is being waged at observatories and laboratories around the world-in Europe, in America, and even in Antarctica--where scientists are actually peering into both the cradle of the universe and its grave. Scientists--including galaxy hunters and microwave eavesdroppers, gravity theor...
With his knack for translating science into understandable, anecdotal prose and his trademark dry humor, award-winning science writer Charles Seife presents the first narrative account of the history of fusion for general readers in more than a decade. Tracing the story from its beginning into the twenty-first century, Sun in a Bottle reveals fusion's explosive role in some of the biggest scientific scandals of all time. Throughout this journey, he introduces us to the daring geniuses, villains, and victims of fusion science. With the giant international fusion project ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) now under construction, it's clear that the science of wishful thinking is as strong as ever. This book is our key to understanding why.
Introduces information theory, explaining how theorists believe that information is a fundamental element of the physical world and can offer insights into physics, the nature of space and time, and the creation of the universe.
"In Virtual Unreality, mathematician, science reporter, and journalist watchdog Charles Seife takes us deep into the information jungle and cuts a path through the trickery, fakery, and cyber skullduggery that the Internet enables. Providing a much-needed toolkit to help separate fact from fiction, Seife addresses the problems that face us every time we turn on our computers and Google our most recent medical symptoms, read a politician's tweet, fact-check something on Wikipedia, or start an online relationship"--
The bestselling author of Zero shows how mathematical misinformation pervades-and shapes-our daily lives. According to MSNBC, having a child makes you stupid. You actually lose IQ points. Good Morning America has announced that natural blondes will be extinct within two hundred years. Pundits estimated that there were more than a million demonstrators at a tea party rally in Washington, D.C., even though roughly sixty thousand were there. Numbers have peculiar powers-they can disarm skeptics, befuddle journalists, and hoodwink the public into believing almost anything. "Proofiness," as Charles Seife explains in this eye-opening book, is the art of using pure mathematics for impure ends, and he reminds readers that bad mathematics has a dark side. It is used to bring down beloved government officials and to appoint undeserving ones (both Democratic and Republican), to convict the innocent and acquit the guilty, to ruin our economy, and to fix the outcomes of future elections. This penetrating look at the intersection of math and society will appeal to readers of Freakonomics and the books of Malcolm Gladwell.
The bestselling author of Proofiness and Zero explains how to separate fact from fantasy in the digital world Digital information is a powerful tool that spreads unbelievably rapidly, infects all corners of society, and is all but impossible to control—even when that information is actually a lie. In Virtual Unreality, Charles Seife uses the skepticism, wit, and sharp facility for analysis that captivated readers in Proofiness and Zero to take us deep into the Internet information jungle and cut a path through the trickery, fakery, and cyber skullduggery that the online world enables. Taking on everything from breaking news coverage and online dating to program trading and that eccentric and unreliable source that is Wikipedia, Seife arms his readers with actual tools—or weapons—for discerning truth from fiction online.
The bestselling author of The Elegant Universe and The Fabric of the Cosmos tackles perhaps the most mind-bending question in modern physics and cosmology: Is our universe the only universe? There was a time when "universe" meant all there is. Everything. Yet, a number of theories are converging on the possibility that our universe may be but one among many parallel universes populating a vast multiverse. Here, Briane Greene, one of our foremost physicists and science writers, takes us on a breathtaking journey to a multiverse comprising an endless series of big bangs, a multiverse with duplicates of every one of us, a multiverse populated by vast sheets of spacetime, a multiverse in which all we consider real are holographic illusions, and even a multiverse made purely of math--and reveals the reality hidden within each. Using his trademark wit and precision, Greene presents a thrilling survey of cutting-edge physics and confronts the inevitable question: How can fundamental science progress if great swaths of reality lie beyond our reach? The Hidden Reality is a remarkable adventure through a world more vast and strange than anything we could have imagined.