Fashion, Faith, and Fantasy in the New Physics of the Universe kindle pdf –

What can fashionable ideas, blind faith, or pure fantasy possibly have to do with the scientific quest to understand the universe Surely, theoretical physicists are immune to mere trends, dogmatic beliefs, or flights of fancy In fact, acclaimed physicist and bestselling author Roger Penrose argues that researchers working at the extreme frontiers of physics are just as susceptible to these forces as anyone else In this provocative book, he argues that fashion, faith, and fantasy, while sometimes productive and even essential in physics, may be leading today s researchers astray in three of the field s most important areas string theory, quantum mechanics, and cosmology Arguing that string theory has veered away from physical reality by positing six extra hidden dimensions, Penrose cautions that the fashionable nature of a theory can cloud our judgment of its plausibility In the case of quantum mechanics, its stunning success in explaining the atomic universe has led to an uncritical faith that it must also apply to reasonably massive objects, and Penrose responds by suggesting possible changes in quantum theory Turning to cosmology, he argues that most of the current fantastical ideas about the origins of the universe cannot be true, but that an even wilder reality may lie behind them Finally, Penrose describes how fashion, faith, and fantasy have ironically also shaped his own work, from twistor theory, a possible alternative to string theory that is beginning to acquire a fashionable status, to conformal cyclic cosmology, an idea so fantastic that it could be called conformal crazy cosmology The result is an important critique of some of the most significant developments in physics today from one of its most eminent figures

12 thoughts on “Fashion, Faith, and Fantasy in the New Physics of the Universe

  1. Raúl M. Raúl M. says:

    Es justo lo que se describe, se adapta a lo que necesito y cumple su funci n Estoy muy satisfecho con la compra.

  2. Jon Plarnt Jon Plarnt says:

    This is not a science book trying to popularise science, it is for Graduate level physics only.It is good but too advanced for me Shame I really wanted to get the insights the book contained.

  3. Graham Graham says:

    What s exceptional about Penrose is the breadth of his expertise across qft, gr, cosmology and maths especially geometry Not only can he challeng the completeness of ALL current theory he has some alternative solutions and argues well for their consideration Many thanks Penrose

  4. Adam Carlton Adam Carlton says:

    Roger Penrose is now 85 and this book may be the final presentation of his worldview Although he talks about the layman as his audience, potential readers should recall The Road to Reality In reviews of that tome, retired maths professors and physics PhDs lined up to recount at which chapter they hit the limits of their knowledge and had to give up.This volume is not so different.In a nutshell 1 Penrose dislikes String Theory because its extra dimensions admit too many functional degrees of freedom basically the number of possible field configurations It is not explained clearly why the super explosion in the functional freedom space size is problematic, although he does make a related point that he believes that the six curled up dimensions are actually unstable and should collapse.Perhaps it s obvious.2 Quantum Theory is seen as a partial or incomplete theory in particular, Penrose thinks that its linearity will be violated in an improved theory He believes that the reason we don t observe Schr dinger s cat spatial superpositions is due to the gravitational effects of superposition he takes spatial delocalisation to have a real gravitational effect, aligning with his ontological realism for the quantum state Specifically, the gravitational self energy due to the superposition generates energy uncertainty, equivalent to time uncertainty, hence superposed stationary states collapse into a position eigenstate very quickly As he explains it, the maths behind this is pretty advanced, requiring general relativity.3 Cosmologically, Penrose is not a fan of inflation, basing his criticisms on the 2nd Law and entropy His criticisms have force suggesting that inflation retains support faute de mieux.What does Penrose himself suggest as alternatives He thinks twistor theory a framework featuring emergent space time continues to have promise, and believes that a particular kind of bouncing, recurrent universe traversing through repeated big bangs can explain the extraordinarily low entropy 13.8 billion years ago.I think it s good for physics that he wrote this book, but absent a huge background in general relativity, complex analysis, twistor theory, quantum field theory and tensor analysis it s difficult to assess the merits of his arguments.

  5. Athan Athan says:

    Roger Penrose is 85He is a giant But Physics has moved away from him and in this book he s kind of saying this is where it sounds like I m leaving things Let me get a major gripe out of the way The book comes with a Mathematical Appendix I have in my life known a lot math than there is in the appendix and can still read the appendix without feeling lost So I thought I d understand the book a bit Warning Climbing to the top of the Empire State Building gets you closer to the moon than understanding the Mathematical Appendix gets you to the stuff Roger Penrose discusses here Zero exaggeration Ten to the minus 124 exaggeration, if I m allowed to use the author s terms.So I read this book the same way my 5 year old sometimes listens to the news.Which is to say it blew me away, of course I m not entitled to views here, but a true giant who lives, breathes and loves the history of the universe lays out the arguments he has made to his fellow physicists not you and me regarding why 1 Highly fashionable 26 dim string theory, while elegant and originally promising, is likely a dead end, for example because it leads to singularities2 Supersymmetry between Fermions and Bosons cuts down the dimensions of string theory to a manageable 10, but makes it necessary to believe in the existence of a whole lot of particles we will never observe3 The holographic conjecture, while beautiful, relies on supersymmetry and requires that we radically revise what we believe about the cosmological constant, the gauge symmetry group and bulk space4 Quantum entanglement is probably ultimately only a feature of the simplified, linear orthodoxy we cling to in Quantum Mechanics, which we will one day abandon for a nonlinear model The Quantum Mechanics of the present is useful, but requires a leap of faith you should refuse to take.5 Inflationary Cosmology poses even problems than it answers questions and is a convenient untruthBits of the book here and there, on the other hand, are addressed to you and me, and it s not just the gossipy bits I did kind of take in how phenomenally precise the calculations are that we can perform surrounding the Big Bang and CMB, there is a tremendous lesson that explains how life on earth is due to the low entropy energy we get from the sun rather than its heat and I also got a feel for how our universe will end one day electromagnetism will live forever, but anything with gravity will be gone There is also repeated discussion regarding the manner today s gravitation theory in combination with today s quantum mechanics leads all sorts of quantities to infinity for no reason.Significantly, Penrose repeatedly goes out of his way to say we must dream All theories we now accept but also plenty we have fully rejected started as somebody s fanciful dreams Conversely, it is a bad idea to start with fun or elegant bits of math and hope it explains the universe.So the last chapter is dedicated to theories closer to his heart regarding the creation of the universe, or rather its history and its future, and, as far as I can discern they largely are rather fantastical indeed, if not as fantastical as the currently fashionable theories.He closes the book by tacking the other way, however, and admitting that personally he has a prejudice for theories that match our experience, such as his preference for four or five dimensions Not that my angle matters, but I did rather enjoy and partially understood the sketch of the math behind the conformal cosmology idea, according to which the universe goes through continuous cycles of collapse and regeneration.So the title of the book is incomplete.It really ought to be Fashion, Faith, Fantasy and Taste

  6. Dr. Thomas Drisch Dr. Thomas Drisch says:

    Penrose, den ich persnlich kenne, ist meines Erachtens einer der wichtigsten zeitgenssischen Mathematiker bzw Physiker Seine Beitrge zur Kosmologie usw sind phnomenal Jetzt, nicht mehr der jngste, beschreibt er in selbstkritischer Weise die Entwicklung der modernen Physik Ein wunderbares Buch, jedoch ganz anders geschrieben, als es vielleicht ein Leser erwartet, der sich auf ein populrwissenschaftliches Buch freut Das ist es nmlich nicht Selbst der bentigte mathematische Apparat ist aufwendig Nur wer sehr hartnckig ist und sich mit hherer Mathematik anzufreunden bereit ist, wird die Chance haben, sich durch die vielen anspruchsvollen Argumentationsketten hindurchzukmpfen.Sehr empfehlenswert fr im naturwissenschaftlichen Denken geschulte Leser.

  7. MarkAntony MarkAntony says:

    As usual with Roger s treatments, the non expert reader is left a tad breathless at times as the author launches heedless into the technical stratosphere, i.e unless one has at least a smattering of say, linear algebra, there is almost no point in opening the book On the other hand, it does the soul well to occasionally follow the good doctor on his super hyper dimensional mathematical excursions One is, however, inevitably drawn to reflect on the, now, burgeoning critique that modern cosmology has left experimental and observational science far, far behind and has inflated, like the universe it claims to represent, into the realms of pure mathematical fantasy Still, as I say, a read not without a treasure or two to come away with.

  8. E.W. Dewing E.W. Dewing says:

    Penrose has everything at his finger tips very impressive Unless you have a pretty good grasp of mathematics you will not really appreciate it, but his conclusions about various matters such as string theory are very interesting even if you do not properly understand what they are based on If you have no background in mathematics, this book is not for you, and neither is it unless you have some knowledge of what physics and cosmology are doing today.

  9. Fabar Fabar says:

    L inglese un po difficile da comprendere, sia per gli argomenti trattati occorre comunque una buona formazione di meccanica quantistica e fisica delle particelle per lo meno sia per lo stile elaborato Fonte di ispirazione e va assunto a piccole dosi.

  10. jdavidg jdavidg says:

    Easier to read than Road to Reality, but still a challenge Worth the work A most interesting topic by an academic author.

  11. Customer Customer says:

    Very, very lucid

  12. Mac McAleer Mac McAleer says:

    This is a book that describes modern physics It groups the current ideas into three areas Fashion, Faith and Fantasy It is written for the non specialist but does not avoid mathematics, for which a primer is included at the back of the book In the Preface Roger Penrose says In attempting to address all these issues in a satisfactory but not too technical way I have had to face up to one particular fundamental hurdle This is the issue of mathematics and its central role in any physical theory that can seriously purport to describe nature at any real depth page xv The author s understanding of the terms non specialist and not too technical will probably be different to your understanding of them.Fashion 120 pages , Faith 122 pages and Fantasy 118 pages are used for the titles of the first three chapters The fourth chapter is A New Physics for the Universe 63 pages This is the author s own contribution to new ideas about the new physics of the universe There follows the Mathematical Appendix 72 pages , References and the Index In the Fashion chapter Penrose discusses various topics around String Theory Fashionable scientific ideas deprive less fashionable ideas of money and prestige It is difficult for a young academic to establish a career in an unfashionable area The Faith chapter is about quantum mechanics Quantum theory has been very good at explaining the world at the very small scale For all its strangeness the dogma of quantum mechanics is often taken as absolute truth page 125 and a scientific faith has arisen around it The Fantasy chapter is about the large scale, the vastness of cosmology, beginning with the fantastical idea of the Big Bang where out of nothing came everything In Chapter 4 the author discusses Twistor Theory as an alternative to String Theory.This is a detailed book that requires commitment, but will reward the reader for their effort However, it is not the place to start if you have no familiarity with the subject This is far from a beginner s guide.