Author: Tony Rothman and
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8187075651
When scientists and philosophers construct models to explain the phenomena and laws of nature, do those models stimulate what's really out there in the world, or do they only represent the languages we use to describe the world? In this far-reaching, thought provoking book, two world-class physicists from different world - one born and raised in the West, the other in the East - examine some of the most profound questions ever to be investigated by science.
Against the background of one of the most imaginative settings ever devised for a science book - a fictional modern-day version of Plato's Academy - the authors, along with an eclectic assortment of students and academics, delve deep into modern physics and Eastern philosophy, and come up with startling insights on the structure of the physical world. To gain these insights, the Academy members must tackle question such as, How much of the millennium synthesis of science and philosophy is meaningful and how much is pure nonsense? Which New Age trends are compatible with physics? Can we learn anything from parallels between physics and Eastern philosophy?
The common thread that runs through the debates is the tension between the seemingly opposite, but really complementary, notions of doubt and certainty: doubt that certain fields of science really succeed in describing the world versus the rock-solid certainty in the predictions of theories like Newton's mechanics and Einstein's relativity.
In these intriguing, often funny, sometimes violent, but always stimulating debates, this volume covers a wide range of subjects, including cosmology, quantum mechanics, theology, mathematics, complexity, synchronicity, and the past and future. Not since Fritj of Capra's The Tao of Physics have physics and philosophy joined together in such a fascinating book.
PRAISE FOR THE BOOK:
Why does this book draw you in so? For sure, because it is witty and wise. Also, it has a wonderful quality of turning scientistic indignation and supposedly spiritual philosophizing into the grounds for a shared and perceptive debate on what exactly we know. And what we don't know. - Roald Hoffman, Nobel Prize Winner, author of Chemistry Imagined: Lectures on Science.
A fascinating and original book, Doubt and Certainty introduces readers to the fundamental questions at the forefront of science at the end of this century. Emphasizing the close link between science and culture, the book goes far beyond the Western-centered view. In spite of the depth of the discussions, this remarkable book is accessible to a wide readership. - Ilya Prigogine, Nobel Prize winner, author of the End of Certainty: Chaos, and the New Laws of Nature.
TONY ROTHMAN has written fiction as well as several highly acclaimed science trade books, including 'A Physicist on Madison Avenue' (nominated for the Pulitzer Prize) and 'Instant Physics'. He is Professor of Physics at Illinois Wesleyan University.
GEORGE SUDARSHAN is the distinguished former Director of the Center of Particle Theory at the University of Texas - Austin and the co-author of three physics textbooks. Among his discoveries was the first theory of the weak nuclear force.
Preface : Knowledge and Wisdom
Prologue : The Question
Is The Universe Describable ?
Is Nature Unreasonably Mathematical?
Is the World Symmetrical ?
Why Do things happen ?
Does Time go Forward?
Why is there left and Right ?
Is the Universe Weird ?
Is there an Answer ?
How did We get here ?
What do you Mean ?
Can We make any Money off this ?
COMMENTARIES ON THE DEBATES