The Universe in the Rearview Mirror
How Hidden Symmetries Shape RealityBook - 2013
What do snowflakes, mirrors, and the universe as a whole have in common?
Physicist Dave Goldberg takes readers on a warp-speed road trip guided by the notion that while randomness may seem to rule our lives, it never seems to erase an essential orderliness. Space, time, and everything in between in our elegant universe - from the Higgs boson to antimatter to the most massive group of galaxies - are shaped by hidden symmetries
Why is the sky dark at night? Is it possible to build a shrink-ray gun? If there is antimatter, can there be anti-people? Why are past, present, and future our only options? Are time and space like a butterfly's wings? Not only does Goldberg answer the questions your stoner friends came up with in college, but he also reveals the most profound discoveries with infectious enthusiasm, clarity, and wry humor.
Goldberg's narrative is populated with giants from the history of physics (and some science fiction ones, too), including the brilliant but obscure mathematician Emmy Noether, whose theorem relating conservation laws to symmetries has provided the foundation for the twentieth century's greatest breakthroughs in high-energy physics. Einstein himself said she was 'the most significant creative mathematical genius thus far produced since the higher education of women began.'
Symmetry is the unsung great idea behind all the big physics of the past one hundred years - and what lies+ ahead. In this superbly illustrated book, Goldberg makes mind-bending science not just comprehensible but exhilarating. Fasten your seat belt. Objects may indeed be closer than they appear.