The Book of Nothing: Vacuums, Voids, and the Latest Ideas about the Origins of the Universe

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, May 20, 2009 - Science - 384 pages
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What conceptual blind spot kept the ancient Greeks (unlike the Indians and Maya) from developing a concept of zero? Why did St. Augustine equate nothingness with the Devil? What tortuous means did 17th-century scientists employ in their attempts to create a vacuum? And why do contemporary quantum physicists believe that the void is actually seething with subatomic activity? You’ll find the answers in this dizzyingly erudite and elegantly explained book by the English cosmologist John D. Barrow.

Ranging through mathematics, theology, philosophy, literature, particle physics, and cosmology, The Book of Nothing explores the enduring hold that vacuity has exercised on the human imagination. Combining high-wire speculation with a wealth of reference that takes in Freddy Mercury and Shakespeare alongside Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, and Stephen Hawking, the result is a fascinating excursion to the vanishing point of our knowledge.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Zero The hole Story
Z Much Ado About Nothing
Constructing Nothing
The Drift Towards the Ether
Empty Universes
The Box That Can Never Be Empty
HOW Many Vacuums Are There?
The Beginning and the End of the 1cuuni

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About the author (2009)

John D. Barrow is research professor of mathematical sciences in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics at Cambridge University. His previous books include Theories of Everything, The Artful Universe, Impossibility, Between Inner and Outer Space, The Universe That Discovered Itself, and The Origin of the Universe. He lives in England.

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