Void: The Strange Physics of Nothing (Foundational Questions in Science) (Paperback)

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Why "nothing" may hold the key to the next era of theoretical physics

About the Author

James Owen Weatherall is professor of logic and philosophy of science at the University of California, Irvine. He lives in Irvine, CA.

Praise For…

"An engaging and interesting account."—Economist

"Readers get a dose of biography while following such figures as Einstein, Dirac, and Newton to see how top theories about the void have been discovered, developed, and debunked. Weatherall’s clear language and skillful organization adroitly combines history and physics to show readers just how much 'nothing really matters.'"—Publishers Weekly

Included on the 2017 Best Book List by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

Included on the 2017 Best Book List by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

"Weatherall deftly explains all you wanted to know about nothingness—a.k.a. the quantum vacuum—but were afraid to ask in a very accessible, comprehensible and clear manner."—Priyamvada Natarajan, theoretical astrophysicist and author of Mapping the Heavens

"In this brief, elegant book, James Weatherall shows just how rich nothing has become in the physics since the seventeenth century. Here you will find a concise inquiry into the meaning of absolute space, the surprising existence of gravity waves, and the fluctuating, even polarizable spacetime vacuum of modern particle physics. An enjoyable read, set into historical vignettes, with a fine, no-jargon stress on philosophical significance."—Peter Galison, Joseph Pellegrino University Professor, Harvard University

"Science progresses, but the words we use to talk about the world—and phrases like 'empty space'—often stay the same. James Owen Weatherall tells the fascinating story of how our conception of nothingness has changed over the centuries, culminating with its central position in modern field theory and quantum gravity."—Sean Carroll, author of The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself

"Physicists have done it again. They’ve taken a totally straightforward idea—nothingness—and blown it completely apart. Empty space is full. Absence has structure. Jim Weatherall elegantly describes how our human categories just can’t capture the richness of the natural world."—George Musser, author of Spooky Action at a Distance and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to String Theory

"The scholarship is excellent . . . useful, educational, and entertaining."—Matthew Stanley, New York University

Product Details
ISBN: 9780300230734
ISBN-10: 0300230737
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication Date: September 19th, 2017
Pages: 224
Language: English
Series: Foundational Questions in Science