higher speculations grand theories and failed revolutions in physics and cosmology

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Higher Speculations

Author : Helge Kragh
ISBN : 9780199599882
Genre : Mathematics
File Size : 77. 79 MB
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A comprehensive account of highly ambitious attempts to understand nature in its totality, this book covers little known 'theories of everything' from the past as well as modern developments such as the theory of superstrings, the anthropic principle and ideas of many universes. These theories are presented in their historical contexts and used to problematize the limits of scientific knowledge. Do claims of theories of everything belong to science at all? Whichare the epistemic standards on which an alleged scientific theory of the universe - or the multiverse - is to be judged? Such questions are currently being discussed by physicists and cosmologists, butrarely within a historical perspective.

The Beginning And The End

Author : Clément Vidal
ISBN : 9783319050621
Genre : Science
File Size : 28. 59 MB
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In this fascinating journey to the edge of science, Vidal takes on big philosophical questions: Does our universe have a beginning and an end or is it cyclic? Are we alone in the universe? What is the role of intelligent life, if any, in cosmic evolution? Grounded in science and committed to philosophical rigor, this book presents an evolutionary worldview where the rise of intelligent life is not an accident, but may well be the key to unlocking the universe's deepest mysteries. Vidal shows how the fine-tuning controversy can be advanced with computer simulations. He also explores whether natural or artificial selection could hold on a cosmic scale. In perhaps his boldest hypothesis, he argues that signs of advanced extraterrestrial civilizations are already present in our astrophysical data. His conclusions invite us to see the meaning of life, evolution and intelligence from a novel cosmological framework that should stir debate for years to come.

International Handbook Of Research In History Philosophy And Science Teaching

Author : Michael R. Matthews
ISBN : 9789400776548
Genre : Education
File Size : 25. 75 MB
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This inaugural handbook documents the distinctive research field that utilizes history and philosophy in investigation of theoretical, curricular and pedagogical issues in the teaching of science and mathematics. It is contributed to by 130 researchers from 30 countries; it provides a logically structured, fully referenced guide to the ways in which science and mathematics education is, informed by the history and philosophy of these disciplines, as well as by the philosophy of education more generally. The first handbook to cover the field, it lays down a much-needed marker of progress to date and provides a platform for informed and coherent future analysis and research of the subject. The publication comes at a time of heightened worldwide concern over the standard of science and mathematics education, attended by fierce debate over how best to reform curricula and enliven student engagement in the subjects. There is a growing recognition among educators and policy makers that the learning of science must dovetail with learning about science; this handbook is uniquely positioned as a locus for the discussion. The handbook features sections on pedagogical, theoretical, national, and biographical research, setting the literature of each tradition in its historical context. It reminds readers at a crucial juncture that there has been a long and rich tradition of historical and philosophical engagements with science and mathematics teaching, and that lessons can be learnt from these engagements for the resolution of current theoretical, curricular and pedagogical questions that face teachers and administrators. Science educators will be grateful for this unique, encyclopaedic handbook, Gerald Holton, Physics Department, Harvard University This handbook gathers the fruits of over thirty years’ research by a growing international and cosmopolitan community Fabio Bevilacqua, Physics Department, University of Pavia

Worlds Without End

Author : Mary-Jane Rubenstein
ISBN : 9780231527422
Genre : Science
File Size : 80. 17 MB
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"Multiverse" cosmologies imagine our universe as just one of a vast number of others. While this idea has captivated philosophy, religion, and literature for millennia, it is now being considered as a scientific hypothesis—with different models emerging from cosmology, quantum mechanics, and string theory. Beginning with ancient Atomist and Stoic philosophies, Mary-Jane Rubenstein links contemporary models of the multiverse to their forerunners and explores the reasons for their recent appearance. One concerns the so-called fine-tuning of the universe: nature's constants are so delicately calibrated that it seems they have been set just right to allow life to emerge. For some thinkers, these "fine-tunings" are evidence of the existence of God; for others, however, and for most physicists, "God" is an insufficient scientific explanation. Hence the allure of the multiverse: if all possible worlds exist somewhere, then like monkeys hammering out Shakespeare, one universe is bound to be suitable for life. Of course, this hypothesis replaces God with an equally baffling article of faith: the existence of universes beyond, before, or after our own, eternally generated yet forever inaccessible to observation or experiment. In their very efforts to sidestep metaphysics, theoretical physicists propose multiverse scenarios that collide with it and even produce counter-theological narratives. Far from invalidating multiverse hypotheses, Rubenstein argues, this interdisciplinary collision actually secures their scientific viability. We may therefore be witnessing a radical reconfiguration of physics, philosophy, and religion in the modern turn to the multiverse.

Masters Of The Universe

Author : Helge Kragh
ISBN : 9780191034428
Genre : Science
File Size : 81. 79 MB
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How did our modern picture of the universe come into being? Masters of the Universe tells this fascinating story in an unusual format that blends factual and fictional elements. It is based on a series of interviews that a fictional person conducted with leading astronomers and physicists between 1913 and 1965. Among the interviewed scientists are giants such as Albert Einstein, Edwin Hubble, and George Gamow, but also scientists who are less well known today or not primarily known as cosmologists such as Karl Schwarzschild, Paul Dirac, and Svante Arrhenius. By following the interviews the reader gets a lively and "almost authentic" impression of the problems that faced this early generation of cosmologists. Although the interviews are purely fictional, a product of the author's imagination, they could have taken place in just the way that is described. They are solidly based on historical facts and, moreover, supplemented with careful annotations and references to the literature. In this way the book bridges the gap between scholarly and popular history of science.

Quantum Generations

Author : Helge Kragh
ISBN : 0691095523
Genre : Science
File Size : 79. 5 MB
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At the end of the nineteenth century, some physicists believed that the basic principles underlying their subject were already known, and that physics in the future would only consist of filling in the details. They could hardly have been more wrong. The past century has seen the rise of quantum mechanics, relativity, cosmology, particle physics, and solid-state physics, among other fields. These subjects have fundamentally changed our understanding of space, time, and matter. They have also transformed daily life, inspiring a technological revolution that has included the development of radio, television, lasers, nuclear power, and computers. In Quantum Generations, Helge Kragh, one of the world's leading historians of physics, presents a sweeping account of these extraordinary achievements of the past one hundred years. The first comprehensive one-volume history of twentieth-century physics, the book takes us from the discovery of X rays in the mid-1890s to superstring theory in the 1990s. Unlike most previous histories of physics, written either from a scientific perspective or from a social and institutional perspective, Quantum Generations combines both approaches. Kragh writes about pure science with the expertise of a trained physicist, while keeping the content accessible to nonspecialists and paying careful attention to practical uses of science, ranging from compact disks to bombs. As a historian, Kragh skillfully outlines the social and economic contexts that have shaped the field in the twentieth century. He writes, for example, about the impact of the two world wars, the fate of physics under Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin, the role of military research, the emerging leadership of the United States, and the backlash against science that began in the 1960s. He also shows how the revolutionary discoveries of scientists ranging from Einstein, Planck, and Bohr to Stephen Hawking have been built on the great traditions of earlier centuries. Combining a mastery of detail with a sure sense of the broad contours of historical change, Kragh has written a fitting tribute to the scientists who have played such a decisive role in the making of the modern world.

History Of Humanity

Author : Peter Burke
ISBN : 9231028146
Genre : History
File Size : 25. 93 MB
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Volume V of the History of Humanity is concerned with the 'early modern' period: the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It gives an extensive overview of this crucial stage in the rise of the West as well as examining the development of cultures and societies elsewhere. Structure The volume is divided into two main parts. The first is thematic, discussing the geography, chronology and sociology of cultural change in this period. The second is regional, less theoretical and more empirical; it stresses cultural diversity, the links between different activities in a given region, and the importance of social contexts and local circumstances. Each chapter has a bibliography which directs the reader to sources of further information. The volume is extensively illustrated with line drawings and plates, and is comprehensively indexed

History Of Humanity

Author : Петер Бурке
ISBN : 9231028146
Genre : History
File Size : 26. 51 MB
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This volume opens with the discovery of America by Columbus in 1942 and closes with the French Revolution of 1789. This period was marked by the great European navigators, the slave trade, the first colonial empires, large scale European trade with Asia and America, great scientific inventions and the production of philosophical, literary and artistic works. During these two centuries, growing contacts between different regions and cultures of the world started to take on a significant role in world history.

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