Understanding the Universe
Monday, September 15, 2008
Presented by Science & the City
The winner of the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physics explains the universe, synthesizes the Grand Unification of Forces, and shares his vision of a new Golden Age in physics—all for the layperson in an event launching his new book, The Lightness of Being: Mass, Ether, and the Unification of Forces (Basic Books, 2008).
Physicists' understanding of the essential nature of reality changed radically over the past quarter century. Frank Wilczek has played a lead role in establishing the new paradigms. Transcending the clash and mismatch of older ideas about what matter is, and what space is, Wilczek presents in his new book some brilliant and clear syntheses. Space is a dynamic material, the engine of reality; matter is a subtle pattern of disturbance in that material.
Extraordinarily readable and authoritative, The Lightness of Being is the first book to unwrap these exciting new ideas for the general public. It explores their implications for basic questions about space, mass, energy, and the longed-for possibility of a fully unified theory of Nature. Along the way, Wilczek presents new perspectives on many strange aspects of our fantastic universe. Pointing toward new directions where the great discoveries in fundamental physics are likely to come, he envisions a new Golden Age in physics.