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Britain’s most famous mathematician takes us to the edge of knowledge to show us what we cannot know.
Is the universe infinite?
Do we know what happened before the Big Bang?
Where is human consciousness located in the brain?
And are there more undiscovered particles out there, beyond the Higgs boson?
In the modern world, science is king: weekly headlines proclaim the latest scientific breakthroughs and numerous mathematical problems, once indecipherable, have now been solved. But are there limits to what we can discover about our physical universe?
In this very personal journey to the edges of knowledge, Marcus du Sautoy investigates how leading experts in fields from quantum physics and cosmology, to sensory perception and neuroscience, have articulated the current lie of the land. In doing so, he travels to the very boundaries of understanding, questioning contradictory stories and consulting cutting edge data.
Is it possible that we will one day know everything? Or are there fields of research that will always lie beyond the bounds of human comprehension? And if so, how do we cope with living in a universe where there are things that will forever transcend our understanding?
In What We Cannot Know, Marcus du Sautoy leads us on a thought-provoking expedition to the furthest reaches of modern science. Prepare to be taken to the edge of knowledge to find out if there’s anything we truly cannot know.
440 pages, Hardcover
First published May 5, 2016
Not believing in climate change because you can't trust weather reports is a bit like saying you can't tell when the next wave is going to break on Bondi Beach because you don't believe in tides.Sautoy gives the clearest explanation of wave-particle duality and some of the paradoxes of quantum mechanics, that I have ever read. He discusses elementary particle physics. He brings up the paradox, that electrons behave as if they have no volume, yet they have mass. But then, what is their density? Is it infinite? Is each electron a tiny black hole?