This week sees the launch of another book on the Higgs Boson. This one is by the cosmologist Sean Carroll – The Particle at the End of the Universe: How the Hunt for the Higgs Boson Leads Us to the Edge of a New World.
I found Carroll’s last book From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time excellent so am looking forward to this one. he has a real gift for explaining the complex science of cosmology and particle physics clearly for the lay person.
In this short promotion video he describes the aim of the book
Sean Carroll: The Particle at the End of the Universe
See also: The Excitement Grows!
Posted in book review, SciBlogs, science, Science and Society
Tagged cosmology, Higgs boson, Large Hadron Collider, particle physics, SciBlogs, Sean Carroll, Standard Model, Ultimate fate of the universe
The Edge question is an annual event. Publisher John Brockman poses an interesting question to a large number of scientists, thinkers, academics and writers. He publishes their answers on the Edge website and usually, later, as a book*
The 2012 question is:
What Is Your Favorite Deep, Elegant, Or Beautiful Explanation? Continue reading
Posted in philosophy, politics, religion, SciBlogs, science, Science and Society
Tagged Albert Einstein, Andrei Linde, cosmology, Eugene Wigner, god, John Brockman, physics, SciBlogs
Lawrence Krauss’s most recent book A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing was released last week. It’s one I have been looking forward to and I downloaded the eBook version this last weekend.
Some readers may have seen a video of one of Krauss’s lectures on this subject – these are what motivated my interest. For readers who have not seen one these lectures I have embedded one below.
I am keen to get into the book. With chapter titles like “Nothing is Something” and “Nothing is Unstable” it promises to be a good read. (I have placed the list of chapters at the bottom of this post*).
Krauss is not only an excellent lecturer he also writes very well. He has a lively style and is able to communicate complex ideas. Lawrence Krauss is one of the listed speakers art next April’s Global Atheist Convention in Melbourne (see A Celebration of Reason).
I wonder if he will pass through New Zealand as part of a book tour?
‘A Universe From Nothing’ by Lawrence Krauss, AAI 2009 .
Last year Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow were bombarded with a lot of criticism from religious apologists for their book The Grand Design. I think it helped bring the book to the attention of potential readers. So I hope these moral watchdogs are not asleep and will be just as energetic in their criticisms of Krauss’s book.
My first impression is that A Universe from Nothing actually has more detail than The Grand Design.
So here’s looking forward to some interesting debates.
*Contents of A Universe from Nothing
Chapter 1: A Cosmic Mystery Story: Beginnings
Chapter 2: A Cosmic Mystery Story: Weighing the Universe
Chapter 3: Light from the Beginning of Time
Chapter 4: Much Ado About Nothing
Chapter 5: The Runaway Universe
Chapter 6: The Free Lunch at the End of the Universe
Chapter 7: Our Miserable Future
Chapter 8: A Grand Accident?
Chapter 9: Nothing Is Something
Chapter 10: Nothing Is Unstable
Chapter 11: Brave New Worlds
Afterword by Richard Dawkins
Posted in atheism, book review, creationism, New Zealand, philosophy, religion, SciBlogs, science, Science and Society
Tagged cosmology, Grand Design, Lawrence M. Krauss, Richard Dawkins, SciBlogs, Stephen Hawking, Universe From Nothing
The catch – you are limited to 140 characters on Twitter.
Oh, yes, also the entry must “explain the origins of the Universe.”
Simple – should be plenty of entries for that!
I guess the trick is in the syntax, as well as the science.
Have a look at Otago University‘s Centre for Science Communication Twitter Competition for the details.
Deadline is Tuesday 15 November. You will have a chance to vote on your favourite entry from Wednesday 16 November until noon Saturday 19 November.
And, Professor Lawrence Krauss, author of the forthcoming book A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing, will then select the winning tweet from the five tweets receiving the highest number of votes.
I still have a week or so to solve that problem and send my entry.
Thanks to: Best Science Tweet Competition.
Posted in New Zealand, SciBlogs, science, Science and Society
Tagged astronomy, cosmology, iPad, SciBlogs, Tweets, Twitter, universe, University of Otago
I managed to get my own copy of The Grand Design (co-authored by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow) the other day. Talk about luck. I was on one of my rare visits to the big smoke and inquired at Borders. It had just come in that day and wasn’t yet on the shelves!
Obviously I won’t comment in depth until I have read the book. I get the impression that I may find the discussions of philosophy more interesting then the physics, though. And I guess it is the philosophical aspects of the book which have provoked the most criticism, or at least the theological criticism. (Mathematicians and physicists like Peter Woit, of course are making their criticisms – but hardly making the newspapers with them – see for example Hawking gives up).
However, I am aware the Victor Stenger is reviewing the book and look forward to his views. He has some standing in cosmology and philosophy, and his writing in these areas are excellent.
So far he has made only limited comments based on other reviews (see Hawking and the Multiverse). I feel he makes an important, point in his conclusion. It does seem obvious to me, but then again the extreme theological reaction to news of the book suggests it may not be to some others. Victor says:
So, at least according to the reviews, Hawking and Mlodinow haven’t said much that physicists and cosmologists haven’t already heard before. However, thanks to Hawking’s notoriety, at least more people will now have heard that science has plausible answers to how the universe came about naturally without the need for a creator. Hopefully this will include those theologians and apologists who continue to wrongfully insist that modern science has demonstrated a need for God.
Posted in belief, god, philosophy, religion, SciBlogs, Science and Society, superstition
Tagged cosmology, Grand Design, Leonard Mlodinow, Peter Woit, philosophy, physics, SciBlogs, Stephen Hawking, Victor J. Stenger
It seems that God, or more correctly disbelief in God, sells books. In recent years anyway. Perhaps since the religiously motivated terrorist attacks in New York nine years ago this week.
So one can hardly blame the publishers for jumping on to the advertising bandwagon with Stephen Hawking‘s latest book The Grand Design (with co-author Leonard Mlodinow). And I am sure that is what has lead to headlines like Stephen Hawking: God NOT Needed For Creation, Stephen Hawking: God didn’t create universe, Hawking Says God Not Needed to Kick-Start Big Bang; World Freaks Out. Even Somebody’s Going To Hell! Stephen Hawking: “God Not Necessary For Universe To Exist”.
Inevitable advertising hype.
Posted in atheism, belief, book review, creationism, faith, god, philosophy, religion, SciBlogs, science
Tagged Archbishop of Canterbury, big bang, cosmology, Existence of God, god, God Delusion, Leonard Mlodinow, Richard Dawkins, Stephen Hawking, The Grand Design
I just picked up in my browsing that Victor Stenger is working on a new book The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning: How the Universe is Not Designed for Us. Its planned for publication early next year.
Posted in belief, philosophy, religion, SciBlogs, Science and Society, theology
Tagged cosmological constant, cosmology, fine tuning, physics, Russell Blackford, Victor J. Stenger, Victor Stenger
Cosmologist Sean Carroll has announced a break from blogging on Cosmic Variance. I picked up this news from Jerry Coyne‘s blog Why Evolution is True! (also the title of his book) (see Sean Carroll says goodbye).
Like Jerry, I think that is a great pity. I find Sean Carroll’s blog posts interesting. I don’t necessarily always agree – as, for example, in his debate with Sam Harris on morality. But they are clearly written and refreshing to read. His lecture’s on cosmological questions are fascinating and I am looking forward to reading his recently published book From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time.
However, Sean does say his hiatus will not be permanent (see Downshifting). And other contributors to the Cosmic Variance blog will continue.
I agree with Jerry that Sean’s last major post, “Reluctance to let go”, was impressive. It’s worth reading in full – but here’s an extract: Continue reading
The origin of the universe is one of the biggest questions there is. Some people resort to easy answers – which don’t answer anything. But its good to know that others do take the question seriously and actively research it.
Here is a great lecture from Lawrence Krauss – “A Universe from Nothing”.
He is always an informative and entertaining lecturer. He injects quite a bit of humour into this talk he gave at the Athiest Alliance International Convention held in California earlier this month.
‘A Universe From Nothing’ by Lawrence Krauss, AAI 2009.
Posted in agnostic, agnosticism, atheism, belief, Krauss, Science
Tagged Atheist Alliance International, cosmological constant, cosmology, dark energy, dark matter, Lawrence Krauss, Lawrence M. Krauss, universe
I usually enjoy the NZ Royal Society Lectures. This year we have had the Galileo Lectures to mark the International Year of Astronomy.
Here are the description of the six lectures, together with links to download the podcasts. Taken from: Radio New Zealand National : Lectures & Forums : The Galileo Lectures.
The Galileo Lecture series is produced by Radio New Zealand National in partnership with the Royal Society of New Zealand. It celebrates the 2009 International Year of Astronomy, marking 400 years since Galileo used a telescope to view the solar system and transformed our understanding of Earth’s place in the Universe.
- Continue reading