TELEGRAPH and OBSERVER BOOKS OF THE YEARA global superstar Professor Rovelli is making the grammar of the universe accessible to a new generation ChannelNews From the bestselling author of Seven Brief Lessons on Physics comes a new book about the mind bending nature of the universeDo space and time truly exist What is reality made of Can we understand its deep texture Scientist Carlo Rovelli has spent his whole life exploring these questions and pushing the boundaries of what we know In this mind expanding book, he shows how our understanding of reality has changed throughout centuries, from Democritus to loop quantum gravity Taking us on a wondrous journey, he invites us to imagine a whole new world where black holes are waiting to explode, spacetime is made up of grains, and infinity does not exist a vast universe still largely undiscoveredTranslated by Simon Carnell and Erica Segre

12 thoughts on “Reality Is Not What It Seems: The Journey to Quantum Gravity

  1. Manninagh Manninagh says:

    I read a LOT of books on science for the non scientist by some very effective communicators, but this is easily the most beautifully written book that I have read on any subject for a long while I don t know if this is a translation from Italian or if Prof Rovelli wrote it in English, but either way this is not only a very clear and interesting explanation of some very complex physics, but the language used is absolutely wonderful Enchanting, which is not a word I use ordinarily

  2. Arboreal Cephalopod Arboreal Cephalopod says:

    I like Carlo Rovelli s writing, so I m a bit biased to start with However, in my defense he does write extremely well and conveys difficult concepts with startling clarity In this book Carlo takes us on the journey to Quantum Loop Gravity, a concept which attempts to join General Relativity with Quantum Electrodynamics, without anybody disappearing in a puff of purple smoke leaving nothing but their boots It isn t entirely successful Starting with the Greeks we look and some general philosophical aspects so everybody is nicely grounded in 2,000 years ago, and nothing much changes until Newton At this point everybody is happy, nice deterministic universe, off to church on Sundays in the sure knowledge it won t make any difference Then along came Max Planck, Schr dinger him of the missing pet cat and Heisenberg, this little gang of trouble makers caused a lot of uncertainty But after a while a bunch of clever people, notably Julian Schwinger, Richard Feynman and Freeman Dyson, nothing to do with vacuum cleaners , had a good look and decided we could explain almost everything by looking at the interaction of fields Carlo runs with this idea, going to back to the by now rather simplistic ideas of Newton to be fair, he saw the elephant in the room and measured it s gravitational force and begins to put forward an idea of how these fields could explain gravity without the universe doing a credible impersonation of an Ouzelum bird The end of the book is quite complicated, but well worth it for the simple reason you are still reading at that point Also, as a history of physics in a nutshell, it shines for it s brevity but without loosing important detail Every paragraph is worth reading twice I digress It s a damn good read, worth bunging a few groats Carlos way, you won t be sorry That good enough

  3. Scazdad Scazdad says:

    It s been wonderful to gain this insight into the nature of reality and space time I m continually humbled by the intelligence of people like Rovelli I ve read other books on the subject and similar, and I have found this to be the best.

  4. PauloMunich PauloMunich says:

    This book starts off by going back to the ancient Greeks I think this is a mistake Nobody wanting to read about Quantum Gravity is interested in the ideas of the ancient Greeks At times it s obvious that it has been translated from Italian It s only a thin book but by half way through I was bored with it.

  5. David Price David Price says:

    This is a must read for anyone interested in physics and the scientific endeavour Carlo Rovelli has produced a much needed understandable guide to modern physics and its relevance to today He takes us on a journey of extraordinary achievement starting from the Greeks to the most recent research How is it that we can know all these things about the world and universe that we live in There are often simple truths behind the complexity An excellent book.

  6. G G says:

    It was a great walk through history, from the Greeks at Miletus, to the present day search for what is gravity This walk through history is valuable, because it shows how scientific knowledge develops, and how hypotheses are subsequently validated through experiment, or shown to be unhelpful It also shows how people depend on their predecessors work to make progress, and refine knowledge At each stage in the process, theories produce something which gives a basis for practical developments A future scientist then refines that nderstanding, which may reveal anomalies in the previous theory, or description of the world This doesn t negate the previous work, but adds to understanding, and may then allow the development of new practical applications It s a great little book, and easy to follow, even though the few mathematical formulae quoted will be a foreign language for most people.

  7. drjonty drjonty says:

    Rovelli has a way of knocking your socks off and seeing the universe in a whole new light I read quite a few popular science books but none make me feel as consistently amazed as this guy.

  8. Lotta Continua Lotta Continua says:

    Scientists strive to unlock our understanding of the world Rovelli steers us through a complex reality to understand the information contained in fields Controversial and thought provoking

  9. Ilan Ilan says:

    Not just a book about new scientific research But a book that helps you see the world beyond what meets the eye Our perspectives are shaped by what we see, but reality can be different We tend to see things as we are, not as they are This is my learning from this book You can learn relativity in layman s terms and the author adds quantum physics to explain the universe It s a must read book to expand your world view.

  10. Venkatesh MG Venkatesh MG says:

    Will need to devote time and read it slowly, might have to do quite a few back and forwards to digest the subject In all, a stimulating subject asking for serious look Not a casual read certainly but not mired in deep maths also, thus fairly within the competence of a non science background reader to investigate.

  11. Dj Dj says:

    The first half of the book is one of the best overviews of the evolution of scientific thought I have ever read Right up there with Carl Sagan.The second half is a valiant attempt to explain the current understanding of quantum gravity to a lay person jh

  12. Lee Whitehead Lee Whitehead says:

    Rovelli s book is the clearest, most succinct, and, so far, the most compelling account of the underlying nature of reality I have come across in 84 years of searching He links his understanding of quantum gravity it s quantum or granular or non infinite character with that of time, entropy, and information in a lively, even at times almost poetic scientific prose His journey takes him from a refreshingly appreciative account of the Greek atomists I used to think they were rather dull and boring to Einstein, Bohr, Heisenberg, and Dirac.