Category: PDX

Youniverse: A Short Guide to Modern Science

Your guide to science, from the Big Bang to AI

Whether you wish to discover the basics of science or catch up on its latest developments, this short accessible guide is for you.

YOUNIVERSE describes in simple terms the world you are inseparably a part of: what it is, how it works and your place in it – insofar as these things are known. The text has been vetted by 13 distinguished scientists.

Journey now through time and space, a world of the unimaginably big and the inconceivably small – though the marvels of science.

*PRAISE FOR YOUNIVERSE*

‘This is a fine piece of work… very entertaining and informative… It should appeal and be useful to the generalist who wants an overview of science.’ Sir Peter Ratcliffe, 2019 Nobel Prize winner and head of clinical research at the Francis Crick Institute

Through Two Doors at Once

The clearest, most accessible explanation yet of the amazing world of quantum mechanics. 

How can matter behave both like a particle and a wave? Does a particle exist before we look at it or does the very act of looking bring it into reality? Are there hidden elements to reality missing from the orthodox view of quantum physics? And is there a place where the quantum world ends and our perceivable world begins?

Many of science’s greatest minds have grappled with these questions embodied by the simple yet elusive "double-slit" experiment. Thomas Young devised it in the early 1800s to show that light behaves like a wave, and in doing so opposed Isaac Newton’s theories. Nearly a century later, Albert Einstein showed that light comes in particles, and the experiment became key to a fierce debate with Niels Bohr over the nature of reality. Richard Feynman held that the double slit embodies the central mystery of the quantum world. Hypothesis after hypothesis, scientists have returned to this ingenious experiment to help them answer the deep questions about the fabric of our universe.

With his extraordinary gift for making the complicated comprehensible, Anil Ananthaswamy travels around the world and through history, down to the smallest scales of physical reality we have yet fathomed for the answers.

***PRAISE FOR THROUGH TWO DOORS AT ONCE***

A Physics Book of the Year

A Forbes Best Book of the Year

A Kirkus Best Book of the Year

A Smithsonian Favourite Book of the Year 

Publisher’s Weekly Best Books of Autumn

‘A fascinating read and a must for anyone who would like to find out the latest experimental advances made in this most fundamental of quantum experiments.’ Physics World

‘Ananthaswamy cleverly comes at quantum physics from a different direction… An excellent addition to the ‘Quantum physics for the rest of us’ shelf.’ Brian Clegg, author of Are Numbers Real? and The Quantum Age

‘A challenging and rewarding survey of how scientists are grappling with nature’s deepest, strangest secrets.’ Wall Street Journal

‘A fascinating tour through the cutting-edge physics the experiment keeps on spawning.’ Scientific American

‘Ananthaswamy gives an absolutely mind-boggling tour of how quantum physicists try to explain this “reality” that one of the most powerful scientific models of our era.’ Smithsonian 

‘Offers beginners the tools they need to seriously engage with the philosophical questions that likely drew them to quantum mechanics.’ Science

‘At a time when popular physics writing so valorizes theory, a quietly welcome strength of Ananthaswamy’s book is how much human construction comes into focus here. This is not “nature” showing us, but us pressing “nature” for answers to our increasingly obsessional questions.’ Washington Post

‘Ananthaswamy’s book is simply an outstanding exploration of the double slit experiment and what makes it so weird.’ Forbes

‘A thrilling survey of the most famous, enduring, and enigmatic experiment in the history of science.’ Kirkus, starred review

Revolution in Mind

How did Freudian Theory come together as a body of ideas, and how did these ideas attract followers who spread this model of mind throughout the West? Makari contextualises Freud’s early psychological work amid the great changes occurring in late-nineteenth-century European science, philosophy, and medicine, showing how Freud was a creative, inter-disciplinary synthesizer whose immersion in pre-existing domains of study led to the creation of Freudian Theory. He looks at how Freud’s followers built a heterogeneous movement in the years leading to 1914, at the growth of the movement, and its subsequent collapse with the departures of Bleuler, Jung and Adler. Finally, Makari examines the critical, but neglected, Weimar period, when there was an attempt to rebuild a more pluralistic psychoanalytic community. This reformation resulted in the broader theoretical reach of psychoanalysis and its greater acceptance across the Western world outside Europe, where the rise of fascism was to lead to the destruction of psychoanalysis and the culture that once sustained it.

Gravity

Physicists will tell you that four forces control the universe. Of these, gravity may the most obvious, but it is also the most mysterious. Newton managed to predict the force of gravity but couldn’t explain how it worked at a distance. Then Einstein picked up on the simple premise that gravity and acceleration are interchangeable to devise his mind-bending General Relativity, showing how matter warps space and time. Not only did this explain how gravity worked – and how apparently simple gravitation has four separate components – but it predicted everything from black holes to gravity’s effect on time. Whether it’s the reality of anti-gravity or the unexpected discovery that a ball and a laser beam drop at the same rate, gravity is the force that fascinates.