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The Washington Post Notable Non-Fiction of 2013 “I can imagine few more enjoyable ways of thinking than to read this book.”—Sarah Bakewell, New York Times Book Review, front-page review Tackling the “darkest question in all of philosophy” with “raffish erudition” (Dwight Garner, New York Times), author Jim Holt explores the greatest metaphysical mystery of all: why is there something rather than nothing? This runaway bestseller, which has captured the imagination of critics and the public alike, traces our latest efforts to grasp the origins of the universe. Holt adopts the role of cosmological detective, traveling the globe to interview a host of celebrated scientists, philosophers, and writers, “testing the contentions of one against the theories of the other” (Jeremy Bernstein, Wall Street Journal). As he interrogates his list of ontological culprits, the brilliant yet slyly humorous Holt contends that we might have been too narrow in limiting our suspects to God versus the Big Bang. This “deft and consuming” (David Ulin, Los Angeles Times) narrative humanizes the profound questions of meaning and existence it confronts.
From Jim Holt, the New York Times bestselling author of Why Does the World Exist?, comes an entertaining and accessible guide to the most profound scientific and mathematical ideas of recent centuries in When Einstein Walked with Gödel: Excursions to the Edge of Thought. Does time exist? What is infinity? Why do mirrors reverse left and right but not up and down? In this scintillating collection, Holt explores the human mind, the cosmos, and the thinkers who’ve tried to encompass the latter with the former. With his trademark clarity and humor, Holt probes the mysteries of quantum mechanics, the quest for the foundations of mathematics, and the nature of logic and truth. Along the way, he offers intimate biographical sketches of celebrated and neglected thinkers, from the physicist Emmy Noether to the computing pioneer Alan Turing and the discoverer of fractals, Benoit Mandelbrot. Holt offers a painless and playful introduction to many of our most beautiful but least understood ideas, from Einsteinian relativity to string theory, and also invites us to consider why the greatest logician of the twentieth century believed the U.S. Constitution contained a terrible contradiction—and whether the universe truly has a future.
This book speaks about physics discoveries that intertwine mathematical reasoning, modeling, and scientific inquiry. It offers ways of bringing together the structural domain of mathematics and the content of physics in one coherent inquiry. Teaching and learning physics is challenging because students lack the skills to merge these learning paradigms. The purpose of this book is not only to improve access to the understanding of natural phenomena but also to inspire new ways of delivering and understanding the complex concepts of physics. To sustain physics education in college classrooms, authentic training that would help develop high school students’ skills of transcending function modeling techniques to reason scientifically is needed and this book aspires to offer such training The book draws on current research in developing students’ mathematical reasoning. It identifies areas for advancements and proposes a conceptual framework that is tested in several case studies designed using that framework. Modeling Newton’s laws using limited case analysis, Modeling projectile motion using parametric equations and Enabling covariational reasoning in Einstein formula for the photoelectric effect represent some of these case studies. A wealth of conclusions that accompany these case studies, drawn from the realities of classroom teaching, is to help physics teachers and researchers adopt these ideas in practice.
Bringing together international research on nature of science (NOS) representations in science textbooks, the unique analyses presented in this volume provides a global perspective on NOS from elementary to college level and discusses the practical implications in various regions across the globe. Contributing authors highlight the similarities and differences in NOS representations and provide recommendations for future science textbooks. This comprehensive analysis is a definitive reference work for the field of science education.