The Anthropic Cosmological Principle (Oxford Paperbacks) Revised ed. Edition
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`a feast: the kind of book which tells you everything you want to know about everything'
`I was infuriated by it, disagreed with it and loved reading it.'
Timothy Ferris, New York Times Book Review
`in the speculative and intellectual richness of its pages, this book is probably unsurpassed'
`a masterly exposition of what seems bound to become one of the most important developments to have taken place in physical science'
`Intriguing analysis of new scientific thinking.'
`unique and wide-ranging book ... The reader is taken on an eclectic study of many scientific disciplines and is presented with a revealing picture of the structure of the physical world solely in terms of its invariant constants. There are also fascinating chapters on the definition and
nature of life, the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence and the interpretation of quantum theory in relation to the existence of observers.'
Europe and Astronomy 1992
`If you get a kick out of cosmic coincidences The Anthropic Cosmological Principle ... is definitely for you. The "anthropic" idea, which is that our very existence may explain why the Universe is the way it is, is an extraordinary one. So too is Barrow and Tipler's account.'
From the Back Cover
- Lexile Measure : 1550L
- Item Weight : 1.71 pounds
- Paperback : 738 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0192821474
- ISBN-13 : 978-0192821478
- Product Dimensions : 7.9 x 5.1 x 1.7 inches
- Publisher : Oxford University Press; Revised ed. Edition (August 25, 1988)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #147,489 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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This was a long difficult read for me requiring a great deal of thought and reference work. Some sections related to physics and math were simply beyond my understanding in spite of a strong postgraduate science base and attempts to keep abreast in advances in science. I could work through much of the math but quantum physics and cosmology have advanced well beyond my education and a fair amount of subsequent readings in these fields. This was the rare book I enjoyed in spite of having to pass over a few chapters and sections. My interest and knowledge in biology and chemistry made these chapters very rewarding and informative pulling together many issues I had never before considered. I was one of those rare college students who was fascinated by biochemistry and those sections alone were well worth the read. Frankly the extensive side work required to understand many of the arguments was also a positive. The knowledge base of the authors not only in the various science disciplines but also in history and philosophy is extraordinary. Recognize a great deal of advancement in science has occurred since the first edition of the book in 1986.
While I hesitated to share this book with my son who majored in the arts, philosophy and theology due to his lack of interest and education in science much beyond Newtonian physics and Mendel's genetics I will do so because an understanding of the limits of our personal knowledge base is critical as has been so throughly demonstrated since the 2016 elections in the USA.
Not sure I share the optimism of the authors with the advancement and potential of the human species, critical factors in accepting the conclusions of the authors. Nevertheless, anyone who fails to read the book based on their preconceived ideas of design, lack of design or purpose of the universe will be missing a major intellectual work of value.
The authors differentiate between the Weak Anthropic Principle (WAP), which states that the observed values of all physical and cosmological quantities are not equally probable but they take on values restricted by the requirement that there exist sites where carbon-based life can evolve and by the requirements that the universe be old enough for it to have already done so, and the Strong Anthropic principle (SAP) which assumes that the Universe must have those properties which allow life to develop within it at some stage in its history and that observers are necessary to bring the Universe into being.
Key "Anthropic drivers" are Gravity, the Electro-Magnetic Field Forces, the Weak and Strong forces, the Ratio between the Masses of Electrons and Protons (1836), the Fine Structure constant (137), the Planck Constant, The Coulomb Constant, The Cosmological Constant, the Total Mass in the Universe, The Hubble Constant, The Flatness of the Universe and of course the speed of light
In their argumentation they use the following very impressive gamut of tools from Physics and Mathematics: Tensor Operators, Non Euclidian Geometry, Mathematical Algebraic Topology, General Relativity, Schrodinger's Equations, Heisenberg's uncertainty Principle, Minkowski's Space-Time Geometry, Gauge Symmetry, Occam's Razor, Friedman's Equations for the Universe, The Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation, von Neumann Probes, Darwin's Origin of Species, Boltzmann's Entropy, Hawkins' Black Hole Thermodynamics, The Heat Death of the Universe, The Higgs Field, Poincare's Recurrence Theorem, Turing Machines, Shannon's Laws on Information and a lot more.
The authors further explore the Physics underpinnings of Chemistry and through Mendeleev's periodic Table, Bohr's Quantized Atomic Model, The Pauli Exclusion Principle, The van der Waals and explain the anthropic significance of the very unique properties of Carbon, Oxygen, Water, Carbon Dioxide and even Iron.
All of this is set in a philosophical framework about Teleology, which holds that final causes exist in nature, meaning that design and purpose analogous to that found in human actions are inherent also in the rest of nature. The authors take us on a wonderful journey through philosophy in which we encounter Aristotle, Plato, Socrates, Aquinas, Bacon, Descartes, Spinoza, Kant, Hegel, Russell, Marx and many more.
This is the best researched book which I have read on this subject and after the long and hard read I agree that we are here for a reason and with purpose.