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Information: the new language of science
by Hans Christian von Baeyer
Harvard University Press, 2004
Cloth: 978-0-674-01387-2
Library of Congress Classification Q223.V66 2004
Dewey Decimal Classification 501.4


Confronting us at every turn, flowing from every imaginable source, information defines our era--and yet what we don't know about it could--and does--fill a book. In this indispensable volume, a primer for the information age, Hans Christian von Baeyer presents a clear description of what information is, how concepts of its measurement, meaning, and transmission evolved, and what its ever-expanding presence portends for the future.

Information is poised to replace matter as the primary stuff of the universe, von Baeyer suggests; it will provide a new basic framework for describing and predicting reality in the twenty-first century. Despite its revolutionary premise, von Baeyer's book is written simply in a straightforward fashion, offering a wonderfully accessible introduction to classical and quantum information. Enlivened with anecdotes from the lives of philosophers, mathematicians, and scientists who have contributed significantly to the field, Information conducts readers from questions of subjectivity inherent in classical information to the blurring of distinctions between computers and what they measure or store in our quantum age. A great advance in our efforts to define and describe the nature of information, the book also marks an important step forward in our ability to exploit information--and, ultimately, to transform the nature of our relationship with the physical universe.

Reviews of this book:
In Information, physicist Hans Christian von Baeyer sets out to explain why...information is the irreducible seed from which every particle, every force and even the fabric of space-time grows. This is deep stuff, but von Baeyer romps through a huge range of subjects, including thermodynamics, statistics, information theory and quantum mechanics with ease....You will never think of information the same way again.
--New Scientist [UK]

Reviews of this book:
Von Baeyer has provided an accessible and engaging overview of the emerging role of information as a fundamental building block in science.
--Michael Nielsen, Nature

Reviews of this book:
Delving into the history of science from ancient Greek theories of the atom to the frontiers of astrophysics, [Von Baeyer] shows how the concept of information illuminates a huge variety of phenomena, from black holes to the gamesmanship strategies of Let's Make a Deal...Von Baeyer manages to steer clear of equations without resorting to the hand-waving metaphors that too many science popularizers lapse into when trying to convey difficult ideas. The result is a stylish introduction to one of the most fascinating themes of modern science.
--Publishers Weekly

Hans Christian von Bayer is well known for explaining the complexities of science to the rest of us, and in this book he lives up to his reputation by taking on one of the most difficult concepts around--information. Starting with his characterization of information as a gentle rain that falls on all of our lives, he leads us through a universe in which information is woven like threads in a cloth. Masterful!
--James Trefil, Clarence J Robinson Professor of Physics at George Mason University and co-author of The Dictionary of Cultural Literacy

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