Modern physics is heady stuff. It seems that barely a week goes by without some new astounding science story; some revelation about hidden dimensions, multiple universes, the holographic principle or incredible cosmic coincidences. But is it true? What evidence do we have for super-symmetric squarks', or superstrings vibrating in an 11-dimensional space-time? How do we know that we live in a multiverse? How can we tell that the universe is a hologram projected from information encoded on its boundary? Doesn't this sound like a fairy story?In Farewell to Reality Jim Baggott asks whether all that we currently know about the universe is based upon science or fantasy. In addition he wonders whether these high priests of fairy tale physics - such as John Barrow, Paul Davies, David Deutsch, Brian Greene, Stephen Hawking, Michio Kaku, Gordon Kane and Leonard Susskind - are the emperor's latest tailors.Praise for Jim Baggott:A shimmering tour d'horizon. Quantum theory may deny us the possibility of properly comprehending physical reality, but Baggott's account is smart and consoling. Kirkus Reviews.Jim Baggott's inspired - and inspiring - idea of presenting the history of quantum physics in terms of 40 key moments works both as an introduction for the uninitiated and as a refresher for anyone who thinks they know the story. John Gribbin.I never read such a good, comprehensive account as Jim Baggott's...highly recommended. A.N. Wilson.The best popular science book of the year to date by far. popularscience.co.uk
Jim Baggott was born in Southampton, England. After graduating in chemistry and completing a doctorate at Oxford, he worked as a postgraduate research fellow at Oxford and at Stanford University in California.
He returned to England to take up a lectureship in chemistry at the University of Reading. After five years of academic life, he decided on a complete change of career direction and worked in the oil industry for 11 years before setting up his own independent business and training consultancy.
Jim maintains a broad interest in science, philosophy and history, and writes on these subjects in what spare time he can find. He was awarded the Marlow Medal by the Royal Society of Chemistry in 1989 in recognition of his contributions to scientific research. He was awarded a Glaxo Science Writer's prize in 1992. He has written numerous popular science articles published in UK newspapers and New Scientist magazine and has contributed to several radio programmes in the UK and America. He made his television debut in an episode of Morgan Freeman's 'Through the Wormhole' science series, which aired on the Science Channel on 17 July 2013.
'Higgs: The Invention and Discovery of the 'God Particle' - tells the story of the development of the standard model of particle physics and the role played by the Higgs field in the origin of mass. New Scientist remarked: '... his detailed explanation of how the Higgs mechanism gives particles mass is extremely elegant.' The book was published just five weeks after the announcement of the discovery of something that looks very much like the Higgs boson, at CERN on 4 July 2012. Popular Science said: '... the remarkable trick that Baggott and [the publisher] have pulled off is that the rush doesn't show. This is an excellent book throughout.' Professor Steven Weinberg, who won the 1979 Nobel Prize for Physics for his work on unifying electromagnetism and the weak nuclear force, provides a foreword.
Jim's most recent book, titled Farewell to Reality: How Fairy-tale Physics Betrays the Search for Scientific Truth, promises to be rather controversial. It provides a timely and much needed antidote to the seemingly endless stream of metaphysics (or fairy-tale physics) that is promoted in the popular literature as science. Fairy-tale physics is a collection of theoretical constructions for which there is as yet no observational or experimental evidence. Such constructions include super-symmetric particles, superstrings, 'hidden' dimensions, the multiverse, the-universe-as-information, the holographic principle and the anthropic cosmological principle. The book was published in the UK by Constable & Robinson in May 2013. It is now available from Pegasus Books in the US.