The World Within the World First Edition Edition

4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0198519799
ISBN-10: 0198519796
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

About the Author:
John D. Barrow is University Lecturer in Astronomy at the University of Sussex.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; First Edition edition (August 25, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0198519796
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198519799
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,211,343 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 4, 1999
Format: Paperback
The World Within the World is a rich and engaging exploration of the concept of laws of nature. Combining cosmology, relativity, quantum mechanics, philosophy of science, and philosophy of mathematics, Barrow asks fundamental questions about the nature of reality and the limits of human understanding: Are there really laws of nature existing independently of us that have been discovered by scientific method, or are the laws we've developed simply the result of order being imposed on the chaotic phenomena of experience by our categories of thought and perception? Why are the laws of nature written in the language of mathematics? Are mathematical laws merely the best approximations we can come up with of a deeper underlying reality which may be non-mathematical? What limits on our understanding of the universe does the mathematical nature of such laws present? For example, do there exist laws of nature which are expressed in terms of non-computable equations whose complexity is so great that they cannot be solved within the lifetime of the universe? If such non-computable laws do exist, we could never discover them due to their inherent complexity.
The World Within the World also addresses some other interesting philosophical questions that have been inspired by developments in modern physics. For example, within the infamously counter-intuitive world of quantum mechanics we find that when neutrons are fired at a screen with two openings, even when fired one at a time, they arrive at a target screen behind the double-slit screen like particles would be expected to, making distinct hits on the target screen, yet creating an overall interference pattern which is exhibited in wave phenomena such as water or sound waves.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Kerry Kleiber on January 3, 2008
Format: Paperback
I really can't add much to what the other two reviewers (as of this date 01-03-2008) have said. However, I will say that I just a month ago finished this book. I was fortunate to find it at a library book sale for $1.50. I'm very impressed with Dr. Barrow's works and this is the best by far (of the three or four that I've read). However, that may be because my interest is in the foundations and questions that arise from the foundations, such as, what is mathematics, why does it describe (or, seemingly describe) the universe that we know so well, what is its reality? While not at an extremely deep philosophical level (for example, if you've ever tried Sartre Being and Nothingness, you'll know what I mean by "deep", even if you don't agree with the philosophy), he pulls no punches and you do really have to be interested or you'll be bored. I wasn't bored.

I do have a feeling (I've looked only at the contents) that his newest book (New Theories of Everything), rather than being so much an update to his Theories of Everything, is more an update of World within the World.

If you are interested in this topic, you might try the new one. You might then also want to obtain and read this one even if I'm correct.

I do hope this is helpful.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Khemprof TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 18, 2002
Format: Hardcover
The World Within the World written by John D. Barrow is a book about the laws of Nature and explains why things are as they are. This book presents a wide-ranging interdisciplinary study of the evolving concept of the laws of Nature. Chaos, black holes, inflation and superstrings are just some of the subjects that are given attention to in this book. Also, mathematical topics are discussed and why this is important to philosophers and scientists, but ever mindful that the reader may not have a serious science background, the author discuses these new ideas in a serious but nontechnical style.
In this book the aim is not simply to pick again upon one of these esoteric fields at the frontiers of fundamental science and attempt to expalin it in simple terms. Rather, it is to pick upon the traitional unspoken assumptions to which we owe all these abstract and pragmatic developments: that the Universe is ordered, that it is logical, that it is mathematical, that it is predictable, that it is governed by something outside ourselves which is the same everywhere, but which has a deep resonance with the workings of our own minds: to explore something of the origin and possible meanings of the idea that there exist "laws of Nature" and some of the unsuspected realms that such an idea has led us.
So, with this being said, I found that unless you have some science background you will not get much use from this book as it is. Also, there is a message in the book, although laws of Nature may be necessary for such grand explanations, broken symmetries, organizing principles, selection effects, and human categories of thought all play essential and irreductible role in augmenting any law of Nature to determine a picture of the Universe in which we live.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ramesh J on October 15, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I loved this book right from Preface to the last chapter " selection effect"
The scientific nature , philosophy, serious and clear thoughts and a vast coverage
of the development of scientific thought over many centuries makes this reading a wonderful session.the serious thinking that goes in this work requires many many readings of the book.It is worth to have this item in our personal library.
R K Jakati
note: I happened to buy this book through On-Line Amazone. com and I received the book in India, Mumbai(Bombay) in stipulated time of 6 wks.
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