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Reality Is Not What It Seems: The Journey to Quantum Gravity Paperback – January 23, 2018

4.7 out of 5 stars 1,912 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Some physicists, mind you, not many of them, are physicist-poets. They see the world or, more adequately, physical reality, as a lyrical narrative written in some hidden code that the human mind can decipher. Carlo Rovelli, the Italian physicist and author, is one of them…Rovelli's book is a gem. It's a pleasure to read, full of wonderful analogies and imagery and, last but not least, a celebration of the human spirit.”—NPR Cosmos & Culture
 
“If your desire to be awestruck by the universe we inhabit needs refreshing, theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli…is up to the task.”Elle

“[Reality Is Not What It Seems] is simultaneously aimed at the curious layperson while also useful to the modern scientist… Rovelli lets us nibble or gorge ourselves, depending on our appetites, on several scrumptious equations. He doesn’t expect everyone to be a master of the equations or even possess much mathematical acumen, but the equations serve as appetizers for those inclined to get their fill, so to speak.”—Raleigh News & Observer

“With its warm, enthusiastic language and tone, [Seven Brief Lessons on Physics] is also deeply humanistic in approach, using words like elegant and beauty about a subject…that can seem impenetrably dense and abstract…Reality Is Not What It Seems takes much the same approach.”New York Magazine

“Rovelli writes beautiful prose while walking the reader through the history and concept of 'reality' and what it all means for the yet to be discovered universe and thus our own lives.”—Pasadena Star-News

“Rovelli writes with elegance, clarity and charm. . . . A joy to read, as well as being an intellectual feast.”—New Statesman

“Rovelli offers vast, complex ideas beyond most of our imagining—‘quanta,’ ‘grains of space,’ ‘time and the heat of black holes’—and condenses them into spare, beautiful words that render them newly explicable and moving.”On Being with Krista Tippett

“Rovelli’s lyrical language, clarity of thought, and passion for science and its history make the title a pleasure to read (albeit slowly), and his diagrams and footnotes will allow readers to understand the material better and tackle a more expert level of insight.”—Booklist

“Rovelli smoothly conveys the differences between belief and proof. . . his excitement is contagious and he delights in the possibilities of human understanding.”—Publishers Weekly

“Science buffs will admire Rovelli's lucid writing…Cutting-edge theoretical physics for a popular audience that obeys the rules (little math, plenty of drawings), but it's not for the faint of heart.”—Kirkus Reviews

“A fascinating adventure into the outer limits of space and into the smallest atom…Rovelli manages to break down complex, proven ideas into smaller, easily assimilated concepts so those with little to no scientific background can understand the fundamental ideas…Rovelli's infectious enthusiasm and excitement for his subject help carry readers over the more difficult aspects, allowing one to let the imagination soar…An exciting description of the evolution of physics takes readers to the edge of human knowledge of the universe.”—Shelf Awareness

“Rovelli draws deep physics into the light with rather greater success... He wears a broad erudition lightly, casually and clearly explaining.”—Read It Forward

About the Author

Carlo Rovelli, an Italian theoretical physicist, is the head of the Quantum Gravity group at the Centre de Physique Théorique of Aix-Marseille University. He is one of the founders of the loop quantum gravity theory and the author of Seven Brief Lessons on Physics, an international bestseller translated into over forty languages, and the forthcoming The Order of Time. Rovelli lives in Marseille, France.

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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Riverhead Books; Reprint edition (January 23, 2018)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 288 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0735213933
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0735213937
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 9.6 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.53 x 0.74 x 8.25 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.7 out of 5 stars 1,912 ratings

Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5
1,912 global ratings
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Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on January 26, 2017
518 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on February 12, 2017
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5.0 out of 5 stars There are few "must-read" books; this is one.
By Dr. Stanley A. White on March 5, 2017
Perhaps Dr. Rovelli said nothing new in this book, but the way he said it gave me new insights into previously acquired facts about the world of physics. His vast sweep took us from Thales of Miletus (b. 624BC) to 2014. I experienced at least one "Aha!" or "I'll be damned; of course!" per chapter. This is an outstanding "something for everyone" book of physics, history and character studies. Read it, re-read it, then loan it to your best friend.
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124 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on January 31, 2017
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Manninagh
5.0 out of 5 stars Not only interesting, but beautifully written!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 9, 2018
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76 people found this helpful
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Arboreal Cephalopod
5.0 out of 5 stars Infintesimals are God's way of telling you your math is wrong...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 18, 2019
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5.0 out of 5 stars A walk through the history of science, with the aim to answer the question, “what is gravity?”
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 19, 2019
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Scazdad
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful and Stimulating
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 17, 2017
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PauloMunich
3.0 out of 5 stars Got bored with it
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 12, 2019
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