“The Earth is a place. It is by no means the only place. It is not even a typical place. No planet or star or galaxy can be typical, because the Cosmos is mostly empty. The only typical place is within the vast, cold, universal vacuum, the everlasting night of intergalactic space, a place so strange and desolate that, by comparison, planets and stars and galaxies seem achingly rare and lovely.”
— Carl Sagan, Cosmos
So. This is Earth. This is the Pale Blue Dot we've been given, according to Carl Sagan, and the only home we've known and will probably ever know in a long time. As our scientists all over the world work tirelessly in observatories, laboratories, libraries, and boardrooms, all just that much closer to the next big cosmological discovery, some of us cannot help but wonder what else there may be out there: What is the state of the world we currently live in? How did we get here, from where did we come, and where are we headed? If these questions have crossed your mind and overwhelmed you from time to time, you'd be comforted to know that you are not alone.
We'd like to introduce you to our friends — Richard P. Feynman, Stephen Hawking, John Brockman, and the rest of the gang. These fellow dreamers have pondered about and changed the world as we know it in ways more drastic than most can imagine. These are our book picks. Gear up for endless hours of discovery.
edited by Jon Brockman
John Brockman brings together the world's best-known physicists and science writers—including Brian Greene, Walter Isaacson, Nobel Prize-winner Frank Wilczek, Benoit Mandelbrot, and Martin Rees—to explain the universe in all wondrous splendor. In The Universe, today's most influential science writers explain the science behind our evolving understanding of the universe and everything in it, including the cutting edge research and discoveries that are shaping our knowledge.
BRIEF ANSWERS TO THE BIG QUESTIONS
by Stephen Hawking
Will humanity survive? Should we colonize space? Does God exist? These are just a few of the questions Hawking addresses in this wide-ranging, passionately argued final book from one of the greatest minds in history. Featuring a foreword by Eddie Redmayne, who won an Oscar playing Stephen Hawking, an introduction by Nobel Laureate Kip Thorne, and an afterword from Hawking’s daughter, Lucy, Brief Answers to the Big Questions is a brilliant last message to the world.
THE CHARACTER OF PHYSICAL LAW
by Richard P. Feynman
Collecting legendary lectures from freewheeling scientific genius Richard P. Feynman, The Character of Physical Law is the perfect example of Feynman's gift for making complex subjects accessible and entertaining. Here Richard Feynman gives his own unique take on the puzzles and problems that lie at the heart of physics, from Newton's Law of Gravitation to mathematics as the supreme language of nature, from the mind-boggling question of whether time can go backwards to the exciting search for new scientific laws. Using simple everyday illustrations to bring out the essence of a complicated principle - for example the surprising parallels between the law of conservation of energy and drying yourself with wet towels - these lectures are a brilliant example of Feynman's mind in action.
by Richard P. Feynman
In QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter Richard P. Feynman explains, in his lucid and witty style, the revolutionary scientific theory that won him the Nobel Prize. Quantum electrodynamics - or QED for short - is the theory that explains how light and electrons interact, and in doing so illuminates the deepest and most complex mysteries of the world around us. Thanks to Richard Feynman and his colleagues, who won the Nobel Prize for their groundbreaking work in this area, it is also one of the rare parts of physics that is known for sure - a theory that has stood the test of time. In these entertaining lectures Feynman uses clear everyday examples to provide the definitive introduction to QED.