With his clear and joyful voice, Wilczek succeeds very well, and for good reason: Your guide is a Nobel laureate who has solved several problems in modern physics, including how the strong nuclear force operates ... Wilczek talks about modern physics and cosmology from a more broad-brush and philosophical perspective, often linking their findings to the real world — how they affect us. In this age of rising skepticism, he wants his readers — whom he imagines to be lawyers, doctors, artists, parents or simply curious people — to be 'born again, in the way of science.' ... Wilczek beautifully shows how physicists expanded this vision over the decades to cover the other forces of nature: gravity, the strong nuclear force and the weak nuclear force ... But for the most part, the author strikes a nice Goldilocksian balance between simplicity and comprehension. While this book is aimed at novices, those familiar with modern physics can still enjoy reading how a theoretical physicist thinks about the basics.
Mr. Wilczek presents an approachable introduction to modern physics, taking pains to address readers who are curious about, but unfamiliar with, our current understanding of the universe. He aspires to convey the central findings of cosmology and quantum mechanics, among much else, as simply and accurately as possible. The narrative is, at times, remarkably personal. As always, Mr. Wilczek’s prose pulses with enthusiasm for its subject. But Fundamentals is somehow more intimate, an exercise that 'began as an exposition but grew into a contemplation.' Writing it, he notes, 'changed my perception of the world' ...To understand atoms, or astronomy, it is necessary to construct new models for understanding reality. In this sense, the intellect must be re-born, and the mind must begin anew. But Mr. Wilczek’s call for rebirth involves another sense, one closer to a spiritual awakening.
Frank Wilczek’s Fundamentals has gazumped Rovelli handsomely, with a vision that replaces our classical idea of physical creation — 'atoms and the void' — with one consisting entirely of spacetime, self-propagating fields and properties ... Wilczek’s ten keys are more like ten book ideas, exploring the spatial and temporal abundance of the universe, how it all began, the stubborn linearity of time, how it all will end. What should we make of his decision to have us swallow the whole of creation in one go? In one respect this book was inevitable. It’s what people of Wilczek’s peculiar genius and standing do. There’s even a sly name for the effort: the philosopause. The implication here being that Wilczek has outlived his most productive years and is now pursuing philosophical speculations in his dotage. Wilzcek is not short of insights ... Wilczek, so modest, so straight-dealing, so earnest in his desire to conciliate between science and the rest of culture, turns out to be a true visionary. He has written — as his book gathers pace — a human testament to the moment when the discipline of physics, as we used to understand it, came to a stop.
Whether or not you’re accustomed to reading physics for pleasure, the Nobel laureate Frank Wilczek’s Fundamentals might be the perfect book for the winter of this plague year ... Wilczek writes with breathtaking economy and clarity, and his pleasure in his subject is palpable ... What a reader gets in Fundamentals is the native language of physics — mathematics — precisely translated by someone who has spent a lifetime (about a billion thoughts!) on these forces that shape our physical world. Beyond the facts, Fundamentals is full of the kind of heady ideas that keep laypeople reading about contemporary physics ... [Wilczek] explains that in physics, when a model becomes too complicated, an alternative model can help answer important questions. Fundamentals offers readers just that sort of radical shift: the way that energy, seen from another angle, is a particle; the way that space-time could be a form of matter; the way that stepping outside a catastrophe to look at it on a cosmic scale might actually be the first step toward a solution.
A Nobel laureate digs back in to the fundamentals of modern physics, which not only provide a basic structure for how the universe works, but also suggest how humanity fits into the frame ... In his fifth book on the nature of physical reality, MIT physics professor Wilczek delivers a breathtaking feat of popularization, especially in the 'simplified' way he presents and dissects 10 fundamental principles in fields of study ranging from cosmology to quantum mechanics. He is rigorous in distinguishing fact from speculation and science from pseudo-science, and he is comprehensive (given the limitations of his condensed approach) in describing the nature of the observations and experiments that establish those facts ... While the book will be most accessible to readers with some familiarity with the science, Wilczek is a cogent writer with the ability to lend clarity to many complex, esoteric principles and theories. On every page, readers will glean his exhilaration and joy in discovery ... Another winner from Wilczek, who invites us to be born again into a richer, deeper understanding of the world.
The universe at its grandest and most minuscule is explored in this beguiling meditation on physics ... Wilczek manages to convey advanced physics without overtaxing lay readers with complexities and knotty concepts, and does so by sticking closely to lucid accounts of the experiments and calculations scientists perform to establish how the world works, and by using straightforward but evocative descriptions of natural phenomena. The result is a stimulating and very readable scientific tour of the cosmos.