Russell Stannard

  • It is generally thought that science, by its very nature, must always progress. But this is not so. One day, fundamental science will come to an end. Not when we have discovered everything, but when we have discovered whatever is open to us to understand - which is not the same thing.

    Limitations as to what the human brain can comprehend, together with practical considerations to do with the need for ever more elaborate and expensive equipment, are likely to ensure that our knowledge will remain for ever incomplete. A further indication that the world will ultimately retain some of its mystery is suggested by evidence that in certain directions, scientific enquiry might already have come up against the boundaries of the knowable.

    Author and broadcaster Russell Stannard, himself a high-energy physicist and former Head of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the Open University, introduces the general reader to the deepest questions facing us today - questions to do with consciousness, free will, the nature of space, time, and matter, the existence of extraterrestrial life, and why there should be a world at all. In doing so, he speculates as to whether some of these questions will never be answered.

  • It is generally thought that science, by its very nature, must always progress. But this is not so. One day, fundamental science will come to an end. Not when we have discovered everything, but when we have discovered whatever is open to us to understand - which is not the same thing.

    Limitations as to what the human brain can comprehend, together with practical considerations to do with the need for ever more elaborate and expensive equipment, are likely to ensure that our knowledge will remain for ever incomplete. A further indication that the world will ultimately retain some of its mystery is suggested by evidence that in certain directions, scientific enquiry might already have come up against the boundaries of the knowable.

    Author and broadcaster Russell Stannard, himself a high-energy physicist and former Head of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the Open University, introduces the general reader to the deepest questions facing us today - questions to do with consciousness, free will, the nature of space, time, and matter, the existence of extraterrestrial life, and why there should be a world at all. In doing so, he speculates as to whether some of these questions will never be answered.

  • Modeste employé de banque, M. Tompkins décide un peu par hasard d'assister à une conférence au titre bien sérieux : « La Théorie de la relativité selon Einstein ». Ce petit homme doux à l'attention vacillante et à l'imagination enflammée se doute-t-il que cette décision sonne le glas de sa tranquillité ? Le voici illico propulsé dans la joyeuse danse des mystères cosmiques.

    La relativité d'Einstein et ses conséquences bizarres aux approches de la vitesse de la lumière, la naissance et la mort de l'Univers, les trous noirs, les distorsions temporelles et l'antimatière, le monde nébuleux des quanta... l'exploration des confins de l'Univers réserve de belles surprises !

    Un grand classique de la science populaire

  • 100 years ago, Einstein's theory of relativity shattered the world of physics. Our comforting Newtonian ideas of space and time were replaced by bizarre and counterintuitive conclusions: if you move at high speed, time slows down, space squashes up and you get heavier; travel fast enough and you could weigh as much as a jumbo jet, be squashed thinner than a CD without feeling a thing - and live for ever. And that was just the Special Theory. With the General Theory came even stranger ideas of curved space-time, and changed our understanding of gravity and the cosmos.

    This authoritative and entertaining Very Short Introduction makes the theory of relativity accessible and understandable. Using very little mathematics, Russell Stannard explains the important concepts of relativity, from E=mc2 to black holes, and explores the theory's impact on science and on our understanding of the universe.

    ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

  • 100 years ago, Einstein's theory of relativity shattered the world of physics. Our comforting Newtonian ideas of space and time were replaced by bizarre and counterintuitive conclusions: if you move at high speed, time slows down, space squashes up and you get heavier; travel fast enough and you could weigh as much as a jumbo jet, be squashed thinner than a CD without feeling a thing - and live for ever. And that was just the Special Theory. With the General Theory came even stranger ideas of curved space-time, and changed our understanding of gravity and the cosmos.

    This authoritative and entertaining Very Short Introduction makes the theory of relativity accessible and understandable. Using very little mathematics, Russell Stannard explains the important concepts of relativity, from E=mc2 to black holes, and explores the theory's impact on science and on our understanding of the universe.

    ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

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