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The Great Unknown: Seven Journeys to the Frontiers of Science

Category: Book
By (author): Du Sautoy, Marcus
Subject:  MATHEMATICS / Probability & Statistics / General
  SCIENCE / General
  SCIENCE / History
  SCIENCE / Physics / General
Publisher: Penguin Books
Published: April 2018
Format: Book-paperback
Pages: 464
Size: 8.43in x 5.50in x 0.93in
Our Price:
$ 24.00
In stock

Additional Notes

From The Publisher*"An engaging voyage into some of the great mysteries and wonders of our world." --Alan Lightman, author of Einstein's Dream and The Accidental Universe
"No one is better at making the recondite accessible and exciting." -Bill Bryson

Brainpicking and Kirkus Best Science Book of the Year

Ever since the dawn of civilization we have been driven by a desire to know--to understand the physical world and the laws of nature. But are there limits to human knowledge? Are some things beyond the predictive powers of science, or are those challenges simply the next big discovery waiting to happen?

Marcus du Sautoy takes us into the minds of science's greatest innovators and reminds us that major breakthroughs were often ridiculed at the time of their discovery. Then he carries us on a whirlwind tour of seven "Edges" of knowledge - inviting us to consider the problems in quantum physics, cosmology, probability and neuroscience that continue to bedevil scientists who are at the front of their fields. He grounds his personal exploration of some of science's thorniest questions in simple concepts like the roll of dice, the notes of a cello, or how a clock measures time. 

Exhilarating, mind-bending, and compulsively readable, The Great Unknown challenges us to think in new ways about every aspect of the known world as it invites us to consider big questions - about who we are and the nature of God - that no one has yet managed to answer definitively.
Review Quote*"I felt I was being carried off on a wonderful journey, a thrilling research expedition to the teasing and mysterious boundaries of scientific knowledge, and I never wanted to turn back. Du Sautoy is a masterful and friendly guide to these remotest regions. His explanations are clear, vivid, and above all patient, but he also writes with a personal excitement and a self-depricating wit, which gives this a remarkable freshness and intimacy. The book has an extraordinary one-to-one feel and challenges you to think for yourself. It is absolutely fascinating throughout, and I really loved it."-Richard Holmes, author of The Age of Wonder

"Each spiraling investigation begins with an object: casino dice kick-start a foray into probability; a wristwatch propels us into grappling with time. A dazzling journey, vivified by conversations with the likes of neuroscientist Christof Koch on psychophysics and cosmologist Max Tegmark on the mathematical Universe." -Nature 
"A fascinating book on the limits of scientific knowledge." -The Economist 
"An intriguing bird's-eye view of the landscape of unknowability." -The Wall Street Journal
"An engaging, personal, and highly user-friendly voyage into some of the great mysteries and wonders of our world." -Alan Lightman, author of Einstein's Dream and The Accidental Universe

"I admire and envy the clarity and authority with which Marcus du Sautoy addresses a range of profound issues. His book deserves a wide readership." -Martin Rees, British Astronomer Royal and author of Before the Beginning 
"He has a gift for making the most abstruse concepts understandable. You'll feel smarter with every page."-Mail On Sunday
"The book reviews some of the great puzzles challenging science in chaos theory, quantum mechanics, cosmology, the nature of time, the origins of human consciousness and the limits of the universe… An absorbing entry into the genre of ‘what science hasn't figured out yet'" 

"The prominent mathematician, writer and broadcaster boldly squares up to what he calls the seven "edges" of human knowledge, topics that range from the nature of time to the mysteries of human consciousness... His take is refreshing, not least because along his journey he exposes with humility his own confusions, apprehensions and concerns. And there is plenty to be both baffled and enlightened about. Does a multiverse exist? Are leptons and quarks where the subatomic buck stops? And is an infinite set of even numbers bigger than an infinite set that also includes odd ones?"-The Observer

"Brilliant and fascinating. No one is better at making the recondite accessible and exciting." -Bill Bryson, author of A Short History of Nearly Everything

"There is no better guide than Marcus du Sautoy to provide a panoramic view of the boundaries of knowledge." -Robbert Dijkgraaf, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton

"Du Sautoy makes a lucid and beguiling companion as he guides us along the byways of contemporary science." -The Guardian
"[Some] believe we have had enough of experts, but what we really need is the right sort of experts-ones who can explain tricky concepts without coming across as know-it-alls. Step forward Marcus du Sautoy, who devotes an entire book to what we cannot know, from predicting a simple dice roll to the vagaries of quantum mechanics." -Sunday Times 

"A delicious addition to the ‘Big Question' genre." -Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review) 
"This brilliant, well-written exploration of our universes' biggest mysteries will captivate the curious and leave them pondering ‘natural phenomena that will never be tamed and known." -Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
"Admirably compact and conversational for such wide-ranging subject matter . . . Those eager to have their minds stretched will find this a rewarding and stimulating experience." -Booklist 
Biographical NoteMarcus du Sautoy is the Charles Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University, a position previously held by Richard Dawkins, and the bestselling author of The Music of the Primes. He has received the Berwick prize, given to Britain's most outstanding young mathematician, and the Royal Society's Faraday Prize for excellence in communicating science. Amember of a theatre group who is speaks frequently about the ties between art and science, he contributed thoughts on time to Simon McBurney's Encounter and created the codes for Lauren Child's Ruby Redfort detective series. He has written and presented more than a dozen popular television series, including The Story of MathsThe Code, and Music of the Primes. He was made an Officer of the British Empire by the Queen for his services to Science.