A Tear at the Edge of Creation: A Radical New Vision for Life in an Imperfect Universe (Google eBook)

Front Cover
Simon and Schuster, Apr 6, 2010 - Science - 304 pages
8 Reviews
For millennia, shamans and philosophers, believers and nonbelievers, artists and scientists have tried to make sense of our existence by suggesting that everything is connected, that a mysterious Oneness binds us to everything else. People go to temples, churches, mosques, and synagogues to pray to their divine incarnation of Oneness. Following a surprisingly similar notion, scientists have long asserted that under Nature’s apparent complexity there is a simpler underlying reality. In its modern incarnation, this Theory of Everything would unite the physical laws governing very large bodies (Einstein’s theory of relativity) and those governing tiny ones (quantum mechanics) into a single framework. But despite the brave efforts of many powerful minds, the Theory of Everything remains elusive. It turns out that the universe is not elegant. It is gloriously messy.

Overturning more than twenty-five centuries of scientific thought, award-winning physicist Marcelo Gleiser argues that this quest for a Theory of Everything is fundamentally misguided, and he explains the volcanic implications this ideological shift has for humankind. All the evidence points to a scenario in which everything emerges from fundamental imperfections, primordial asymmetries in matter and time, cataclysmic accidents in Earth’s early life, and duplication errors in the genetic code. Imbalance spurs creation. Without asymmetries and imperfections, the universe would be filled with nothing but smooth radiation.


A Tear at the Edge of Creation
calls for nothing less than a new "humancentrism" to reflect our position in the universal order. All life, but intelligent life in particular, is a rare and precious accident. Our presence here has no meaning outside of itself, but it does have meaning. The unplanned complexity of humankind is all the more beautiful for its improbability. It’s time for science to let go of the old aesthetic that labels perfection beautiful and holds that "beauty is truth." It’s time to look at the evidence without centuries of monotheistic baggage. In this lucid, down-to-earth narrative, Gleiser walks us through the basic and cutting-edge science that fueled his own transformation from unifier to doubter—a fascinating scientific quest that led him to a new understanding of what it is to be human.
  

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Review: A Tear at the Edge of Creation: A Radical New Vision for Life in an Imperfect Universe

User Review  - Lusine - Goodreads

Amazing book! Nicely summarizes the achievements of cosmology up till today, pointing out our knowledge gaps and prospects to the future. Creation is not perfect, and truth is not beauty and harmony...Easy to read, powerful analysis of scientific quest and its relevance to everyone's life... Read full review

Review: A Tear at the Edge of Creation: A Radical New Vision for Life in an Imperfect Universe

User Review  - Mishehu - Goodreads

Very unpromising start. Set up expectation that book would devolve into series of new age science/philosophy musings. A few chapters in, though, became quite rigorous (as popular science treatments go) and highly thought provoking. Overall a very interesting book. Read full review

Contents

Burst
3
Fear of Darkness
9
Transition
12
Belief
16
Beginnings
20
The Pythagorean Myth
22
Living the Platonic Dream
25
God the sun
29
Violation of a Beautiful symmetry
113
The Material World
117
science of the Gaps
123
symmetries and Asymmetries of Matter
129
The Origin of Matter in the Universe
135
A Universe in Transition
140
A Critique
147
The Asymmetry of life
153

To Hold the Key to the Cosmos in Your Mind
33
Keplers Mistake
36
The Asymmetry of Time
41
The Big Bang Confirmed
43
The World in a Grain of sand
45
Light Acts in Mysterious Ways
47
The Imperfection of electromagnetism
51
The Birth of Atoms
54
A Brief History
58
Leap of Faith
64
The Jitterbug Cosmos
67
The Universe That We see
72
The Faltering Big Bang Model
78
Back to the Beginning
80
exotic Primordial Matter
83
A small Patch of Weirdness
87
Darkness Falls
91
Darkness rules
95
The Asymmetry of matter
99
symmetry and Beauty
101
A More Intimate Look at symmetry
105
energy Flows Matter Dances
109
Life
155
The spark of Life
159
First steps
164
The When Question
167
The Where Question
171
The How Question
177
The Building Blocks
182
The Man Who Killed the Life Force
187
LUnivers Est Dissymétrique
190
TheChiralityofLife
194
From so Asymmetric a Beginning
199
We Are All Mutants
206
Fear of Darkness II
215
Meaning and Awe
222
Marilyn Monroes Mole and the Fallacy of a Cosmos
228
rare earth rare Life?
235
Us and Them
241
A New Directive for Humanity
248
Notes
257
Bibliography
267
Index
273
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

MARCELO GLEISER is a professor of physics and astronomy at Dartmouth College where he runs a very active cosmology group. His work in theoretical physics focuses on the dynamical processes that took place during the very early universe. As such, it brings together particle physics, the study of the very small, and cosmology, the study of the very large. He is the author of The Dancing Universe: From Creation Myths to the Big Bang; and The Prophet and the Astronomer.

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