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Nothing: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) Paperback – 25 Jun 2009
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Review from previous edition All in all, this book makes for some fascinating reading. (Chemistry World, Dennis Rouvray.)
An accessible and entertaining read for layperson and scientist alike. (Physics World)
The Void is well worth reading. (Robert Cailliau. CERN Courier.)
It covers very complicated concepts in a mostly accessible way. (Lawrence Rudnick, Nature)
A fascinating subject covered by a fascinating book. (Marcus Chown, Focus)
About the Author
Frank Close, OBE, is Professor of Physics at Oxford University and a Fellow of Exeter College. He was formerly vice president of the British Association for Advancement of Science, Head of the Theoretical Physics Division at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, and Head of Communications and Public Education at CERN. He is the author of several books, including the best-selling Lucifer's Legacy (OUP, 2000), and was the winner of the Kelvin Medal of the Institute of Physics for his 'outstanding contributions to the public understanding of physics'. His other books include Particle Physics: A Very Short Introduction (2004), The Cosmic Onion (1983), The Particle Explosion (1987), End (1988), Too Hot to Handle (1991), and The Particle Odyssey (OUP, 2002). In 2013 Professor Close was awarded the Royal Society Michael Faraday Prize for communicating science.
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Top Customer Reviews
As well as finding possible solutions to at least some of these questions, a reading of Nothing left me reflecting that the giants of classical and modern physics, Newton and Einstein, weren't so off-the-wall after all, even when seemingly at their least inspired. Newton's insistence on the existence of ether anticipates the modern view that there is no such thing as 'empty' space - if all matter is removed then it is filled with energy, from which matter can be created at levels exceeding 2mc². (Elsewhere, in Close's words, 'an example of "ether" is an electric field.') Einstein's hypothesised Cosmological Constant (or Lambda force), meanwhile, which he considered his biggest mistake, may actually have been detected, even if its value is almost immeasurably small, and even if Lambda is no longer required to counterbalance gravitational attraction in an expanding universe (as opposed to the stable one of received opinion in 1915).
This is a challenging book from the very first chapter, in which early ideas about the vacuum are discussed. According to Close, the Aristotelian argument for the absence of a void expresses these in its clearest form, although I for one found Aristotle's reasoning more akin to word-play than irrefutable logic. Subsequent chapters tackle the next 2000 years' worth of ideas.Read more ›
The book is written in an interesting and easy-flowing style, and it does not overwhelm the reader with technical details and arcane jargon. There are hardly any equations in it, and the ones that are present are straightforward and used in order to illustrate a point that otherwise would be too cumbersome to describe. Overall, this is a very good book with a fresh and engaging perspective.
In relation to the big-bang, there are very useful overview of the special/general theory of relativity and quantum theory. Modern physics suggests that it is possible that the universe could have emerged out of quantum fluctuation in the vacuum. Good read!
Nothing is an interesting concept; what is nothing? How do we define nothing? If it is the absence of matter then there is still more to investigate as light, gravity and magnetism all function as expected in a vacuum. Frank Close writes well with relatable analogies that help to explain some pretty high-end concepts of quantum theory, string theory and multiple dimensions and universes.
All of these subjects are laid out in an extremely interesting way that help to explain that if Nothing ever existed, what came before? The book is incredibly thought-provoking but it did make my head hurt at several points with the concepts being truly abstract mind-boggling things. This may be familiar territory to quantum physicists and some mathematicians that spend hours in purely theoretical worlds, but I personally struggled with the depth of some of the concepts. This is not to detract from the book though, it is well written and the logic abounds.
However, I will say that this is one of the less interesting VSIs - touching upon others deeply; Magnetism, Relativity and finally ...Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Gosh, a book about nothing! When I was making an unnecessary fuss, my late Mum used to say in exasperation, "You are making something out of nothing! Read morePublished 5 months ago by John H. Wilson
Who would have thought that there is so much to Nothing - I really liked this intro and feel that I have a grasp of what's going on at the sub-atomic level - it makes rush hour... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Paul Morris
Disappointing. A difficult subject and a rather boring read. Did not capture or hold my attention.Published 15 months ago by Peter Barker
Avant-Garde Politician: Leaders for a New Epoch
This short book well discusses the physics of "emptiness," though neglecting its psychological and phenomenological... Read more
Nice little book. Double check the size of this book as it is smaller than what you might call a conventional paper back and the type face slightly smaller. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Oliver
A superb book if you are interested in the sub-atomic world and what it tells us about the universe as a whole(?). Read morePublished 21 months ago by J. R. Taylor
these books always deem to have to take you though endless historical aspect..
neen a clear head to follow this stuff
and lots of photons, the print is very small. Read more
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