The Life of the Cosmos

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Oxford University Press, Mar 4, 1999 - Science - 368 pages
3 Reviews
Lee Smolin offers a new theory of the universe that is at once elegant, comprehensive, and radically different from anything proposed before. Smolin posits that a process of self organization like that of biological evolution shapes the universe, as it develops and eventually reproduces through black holes, each of which may result in a new big bang and a new universe. Natural selection may guide the appearance of the laws of physics, favoring those universes which best reproduce. The result would be a cosmology according to which life is a natural consequence of the fundamental principles on which the universe has been built, and a science that would give us a picture of the universe in which, as the author writes, "the occurrence of novelty, indeed the perpetual birth of novelty, can be understood." Smolin is one of the leading cosmologists at work today, and he writes with an expertise and force of argument that will command attention throughout the world of physics. But it is the humanity and sharp clarity of his prose that offers access for the layperson to the mind bending space at the forefront of today's physics.
 

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User Review  - Ma_Washigeri - LibraryThing

As usual I didn't manage to follow all of it - and as usual it didn't matter to my satisfaction with the book. I learned a lot here and there and although I'm not a convert yet, I love the ideas of ... Read full review

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User Review  - Limelite - LibraryThing

Highly controversial when it came out, this book shows the influence of the New Sciences being developed at the Santa Fe Institute (pioneered by Murray Gell-Mann, Stuart Kauffman, and Lee Smolin ... Read full review

Contents

PrologueRevolutions
Introduction
The Crisis in Fundamental Physics
The Logic of Atomism
The Miracle of the Stars
The Dream of Unification
The Lessons of String Theory
Are the Laws of Physics Universal?
Beyond the Anthropic Principle
Space and Time in the New Cosmology
The Road from Newton to Einstein
The Meaning of Einsteins Theory of Relativity
The Meaning of the Quantum
Einsteins Revenge
A Pluralistic Universe
The World as a Network of Relations

the Universe Evolve?
Detective Work
The Ecology of the Galaxy
10
The Organization of the Cosmos
The Cosmology of an Interesting Universe
The Flower and the Dodecahedron
Philosophy Religion and Cosmology
The Evolution of Time
EpilogueEvolutions
Testing Cosmological Natural Selection
Notes and Acknowledgments
Selected Bibliography
Glossary
Index
Copyright

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About the author (1999)

Lee Smolin is Professor of Physics at the Center for Gravitational Physics and Geometry at the Pennsylvania State University. As a theoretical physicist, he has contributed several key ideas to the search for a unification of quantum theory, cosmology, and relativity.

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