Being and the Cosmos
Robert E. Wood Catholic University of America Press, 2018 Library of Congress BD331.W85 2018 | Dewey Decimal 111
Robert Wood’s aim in Being and the Cosmos<\i> is to reestablish a speculative view of the cosmos that goes back to the ancient Greeks and that corresponds to the holism of contemporary physics. There are two sets of problems in contemporary thought that militate against any such attempt. Most widespread is scientific reductionism in biology and neuroscience that explains awareness in terms of the mechanisms that underlie it. The second is the widespread attack in philosophy itself on speculative holism by deconstruction and anti-foundationalism.
In Being and the Cosmos<\i>, the tack against both is to make explicit the character of the mind that sees and thinks, that actively takes up commitment to the truth available in the disciplines involved. The basic ground of this position rests upon the functioning of the notion of Being that opens up the question of the character of the Whole and the human being’s place in it. Thus position the treatment of the notion of Being as foundation and as orientation toward the Whole between the attack on reductionism and on deconstruction and anti-foundationalism. Wood concludes with a multidimensional sketch of an evolutionary view of the cosmos whose initial phases contain the potentialities for life, sensibility, and intellect as cosmic telos. The holism of contemporary physics has to be reconfigured in terms of this observation. Both reductionists and dualists should know that matter itself has to be re-minded and that mind itself matters.
In this critically acclaimed book, first published in 1988 and now reprinted in paperback, scientist and author Paul Davies explains how recent scientific advances are transforming our understanding of the emergence of complexity and organization in the universe.
Melding a variety of ideas and disciplines from biology, fundamental physics, computer science, mathematics, genetics, and neurology, Davies presents his provocative theory on the source of the universe's creative potency. He explores the new paradigm (replacing the centuries-old Newtonian view of the universe) that recognizes the collective and holistic properties of physical systems and the power of self-organization. He casts the laws in physics in the role of a "blueprint," embodying a grand cosmic scheme that progressively unfolds as the universe develops.
Challenging the viewpoint that the physical universe is a meaningless collection particles, he finds overwhelming evidence for an underlying purpose: "Science may explain all the processes whereby the universe evolves its own destiny, but that still leaves room for there to be a meaning behind existence."
We are connected to distant space and time not only by our imaginations but also through a common cosmic heritage. Emerging now from modern science is a unified scenario of the cosmos, including ourselves as sentient beings, based on the time-honored concept of change. From galaxies to snowflakes, from stars and planets to life itself, we are beginning to identify an underlying ubiquitous pattern penetrating the fabric of all the natural sciences--a sweepingly encompassing view of the order and structure of every known class of object in our richly endowed universe.
This is the subject of Eric Chaisson's new book. In Cosmic Evolution Chaisson addresses some of the most basic issues we can contemplate: the origin of matter and the origin of life, and the ways matter, life, and radiation interact and change with time. Guided by notions of beauty and symmetry, by the search for simplicity and elegance, by the ambition to explain the widest range of phenomena with the fewest possible principles, Chaisson designs for us an expansive yet intricate model depicting the origin and evolution of all material structures. He shows us that neither new science nor appeals to nonscience are needed to understand the impressive hierarchy of the cosmic evolutionary story, from quark to quasar, from microbe to mind.
Cosmology, Calendars, and Horizon-Based Astronomy in Ancient Mesoamerica is an interdisciplinary tour de force that establishes the critical role astronomy played in the religious and civic lives of the ancient peoples of Mesoamerica. Providing extraordinary examples of how Precolumbian peoples merged ideas about the cosmos with those concerning calendar and astronomy, the volume showcases the value of detailed examinations of astronomical data for understanding ancient cultures.
The volume is divided into three sections: investigations into Mesoamerican horizon-based astronomy, the cosmological principles expressed in Mesoamerican religious imagery and rituals related to astronomy, and the aspects of Mesoamerican calendars related to archaeoastronomy. It also provides cutting-edge research on diverse topics such as records of calendar and horizon-based astronomical observation (like the Dresden and Borgia codices), iconography of burial assemblages, architectural alignment studies, urban planning, and counting or measuring devices.
Contributors—who are among the most respected in their fields— explore new dimensions in Mesoamerican timekeeping and skywatching in the Olmec, Maya, Teotihuacano, Zapotec, and Aztec cultures. It will be of great interest to students and scholars of anthropology, archaeology, art history, and astronomy.
For millennia humans have studied the skies to help them grow crops, navigate the seas, and earn favor from their gods. We still look to the stars today for answers to fundamental questions: How did the universe begin? Will it end, and if so, how? What is our place within it? John North has been examining such questions for decades. In Cosmos, he offers a sweeping historical survey of the two sciences that help define our place in the universe: astronomy and cosmology.
Organizing his history chronologically, North begins by examining Paleolithic cave drawings that clearly chart the phases of the moon. He then investigates scientific practices in the early civilizations of Egypt, Greece, China, and the Americas (among others), whose inhabitants developed sophisticated methods to record the movements of the planets and stars. Trade routes and religious movements, North notes, brought these ancient styles of scientific thinking to the attention of later astronomers, whose own theories—such as Copernicus’ planetary theory—led to the Scientific Revolution.
The work of master astronomers, including Ptolemy, Galileo, Kepler, and Newton, is described in detail, as are modern-day developments in astrophysics, such as the advent of radio astronomy, the brilliant innovations of Einstein, and the many recent discoveries brought about with the help of the Hubble telescope. This new edition brings North’s seminal book right up to the present day, as North takes a closer look at last year’s reclassification of Pluto as a “dwarf” planet and gives a thorough overview of current research.
With more than two hundred illustrations and a comprehensive bibliography, Cosmos is the definitive history of astronomy and cosmology. It is sure to find an eager audience among historians of science and astronomers alike.
The answer to this ancient and celebrated riddle, says Edward Harrison, seems relatively simple: the sun has set and is now shining on the other side of the earth. But suppose we were space travelers and far from any star. Out in the depths of space the heavens would be dark, even darker than the sky seen from the earth on cloudless and moonless nights. For more than four centuries, astronomers and other investigators have pondered the enigma of a dark sky and proposed many provocative but incorrect answers. Darkness at Night eloquently describes the misleading trails of inquiry and strange ideas that have abounded in the quest for a solution.
In tracing this story of discovery—one of the most intriguing in the history of science—astronomer and physicist Harrison explores the concept of infinite space, the structure and age of the universe, the nature of light, and other subjects that once were so perplexing. He introduces a range of stellar intellects, from Democritus in the ancient world to Digges in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, followed by Kepler, Newton, Halley, Chéseaux, Olbers, Poe, Kelvin, and Bondi.
Harrison’s style is engaging, incisive yet poetic, and his strong grasp of history—from the Greeks to the twentieth century—adds perspective, depth, and scope to the narrative. Richly illustrated and annotated, this book will delight and enlighten both the casual reader and the serious inquirer.
The Discovery of Time
Stephen Toulmin and June Goodfield University of Chicago Press, 1982 Library of Congress BD638.T67 1982 | Dewey Decimal 115
"A discussion of the historical development of our ideas of time as they relate to nature, human nature and society. . . . The excellence of The Discovery of Time is unquestionable."—Martin Lebowitz, The Kenyon Review
The Big Bang: A Big Bust? The cosmos seems to be in crisis, and you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see it. How, for instance, can the universe be full of stars far older than itself? How could space have once expanded faster than the speed of light? How can most of the matter in the universe be “missing”? And what kind of truly weird matter could possibly account for ninety percent of the universe’s total mass?
This brief and witty book, by the award-winning science writer Donald Goldsmith, takes on these and other key questions about the origin and evolution of the cosmos. By clearly laying out what we currently know about the universe as a whole, Goldsmith lets us see firsthand, and judge for ourselves, whether modern cosmology is in a state of crisis. Einstein’s Greatest Blunder? puts the biggest subject of all—the story of the universe as scientists understand it—within the grasp of English-speaking earthlings.
When Albert Einstein confronted a cosmological contradiction, in 1917, his solution was to introduce a new term, the “cosmological constant.” For a time, this mathematical invention solved discrepancies between his model and the best observations available, but years later Einstein called it the “greatest blunder” of his career. And yet the cosmological constant is still alive today—it is one of the “fudge factors” employed by cosmologists to make their calculations fit the observational data. Theoretical cosmologists, shows Goldsmith, continually reshape their models in an honest (if sometimes futile) effort to explain apparent chaos as cosmic harmony—whether their specific concern is the age and expansion rate of the cosmos, hot versus cold “dark matter,” the inflationary theory of the big bang, the explanation of large-scale structure, or the density and future of the universe.
Engagingly written and richly illustrated with photographs taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, Einstein’s Greatest Blunder? is a feast for the eye and mind.
An award-winning science journalist details the quest to isolate and understand dark matter—and shows how that search has helped us to understand the universe we inhabit.
When you train a telescope on outer space, you can see luminous galaxies, nebulae, stars, and planets. But if you add all that together, it constitutes only 15 percent of the matter in the universe. Despite decades of research, the nature of the remaining 85 percent is unknown. We call it dark matter.
In The Elephant in the Universe, Govert Schilling explores the fascinating history of the search for dark matter. Evidence for its existence comes from a wealth of astronomical observations. Theories and computer simulations of the evolution of the universe are also suggestive: they can be reconciled with astronomical measurements only if dark matter is a dominant component of nature. Physicists have devised huge, sensitive instruments to search for dark matter, which may be unlike anything else in the cosmos—some unknown elementary particle. Yet so far dark matter has escaped every experiment. Indeed, dark matter is so elusive that some scientists are beginning to suspect there might be something wrong with our theories about gravity or with the current paradigms of cosmology. Schilling interviews both believers and heretics and paints a colorful picture of the history and current status of dark matter research, with astronomers and physicists alike trying to make sense of theory and observation.
Taking a holistic view of dark matter as a problem, an opportunity, and an example of science in action, The Elephant in the Universe is a vivid tale of scientists puzzling their way toward the true nature of the universe.
December 21, 2012. The Internet, bookshelves, and movie theaters are full of prophecies, theories, and predictions that this date marks the end of the world, or at least the end of the world as we know it. Whether the end will result from the magnentic realignment of the north and south poles, bringing floods, earthquakes, death, and destruction; or from the return of alien caretakers to enlighten or enslave us; or from a global awakening, a sudden evolution of Homo sapiens into non-corporeal beings—theories of great, impending changes abound. In The End of Time, award-winning astronomer and Maya researcher Anthony Aveni explores these theories, explains their origins, and measures them objectively against evidence unearthed by Maya archaeologists, iconographers, and epigraphers. He probes the latest information astronomers and earth scientists have gathered on the likelihood of Armageddon and the oft-proposed link between the Maya Long Count cycle and the precession of the equinoxes. He then expands on these prophecies to include the broader context of how other cultures, ancient and modern, thought about the “end of things” and speculates on why cataclysmic events in human history have such a strong appeal within American pop culture.
Edgar Allan Poe University of Illinois Press, 2004 Library of Congress PS2620.A2L48 2004 | Dewey Decimal 811.3
Originally published in 1848, Eureka is Poe's book on how the universe was formed, how it functions, and what its future might be. Poe provides a physical, scientific explanation for the interconnectedness of all things--an idea at the heart of much of nineteenth-century romanticism and American Transcendentalism in particular.
This user-friendly edition puts Eureka in context, explaining Poe's excellent grasp of then-new developments in astronomy, his often-prescient projections from what was known to what might come next (Poe is especially good on space-time), and the close connections between Eureka and the thought and attitudes of his era.
Through extensive annotations this edition of Eureka demonstrates intimate connections with Poe's poetry, fiction, and criticism, with his career and aspirations, his humor and satire, and his love of grand literary effects.
It also presents a carefully edited text, including Poe's own emendations from several copies which he marked for the revised reprinting that he hoped would follow, and related documents
Conceived as three companion volumes that form an introduction to the central ideas of the modern natural sciences, these books—intelligent, informative, and accessible—are an excellent source for those who have no technical knowledge of the subject.
Praise for The Fabric of the Heavens:
"I cannot remember when I last went through a book, any book, with such all-devouring zest. What is more, even the most complex technicalities are reduced to a positively crystalline clarity: If I can understand them, anyone can. The Fabric of the Heavens is, in every sense of the word, an eye-opener."—Peter Green, The Yorkshire Post
"Not until the last chapter of the book is [the reader] allowed to think again wholly as a modern man has become accustomed, by common sense, to think. The discipline is admirably suited to the authors' task, and cunningly devised for the reader's edification—and, indeed, for his delight."—Physics Today
Praise for The Architecture of Matter:
"The Architecture of Matter is to be warmly recommended. It is that rare achievement, a lively book which at the same time takes the fullest possible advantage of scholarly knowledge."—Charles C. Gillespie, New York Times Book Review
"One is impressed by the felicity of the examples and by the lively clarity with which significant experiments and ideas are explained. . . . No other history of science is so consistently challenging."—Scientific American
Praise for The Discovery of Time:
"A subject of absorbing interest . . . is presented not as a history of science, but as a chapter in the history of ideas from the ancient Greeks to our own time."—Times Literary Supplement
In today’s academe, the fields of science and literature are considered unconnected, one relying on raw data and fact, the other focusing on fiction. During the period between the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, however, the two fields were not so distinct. Just as the natural philosophers of the era were discovering in and adopting from literature new strategies and techniques for their discourse, so too were poets and storytellers finding inspiration in natural philosophy, particularly in astronomy.
A work that speaks to the history of science and literary studies, Fictions of the Cosmos explores the evolving relationship that ensued between fiction and astronomical authority. By examining writings of Kepler, Godwin, Hooke, Cyrano, Cavendish, Fontenelle, and others, Frédérique Aït-Touati shows that it was through the telling of stories—such as through accounts of celestial journeys—that the Copernican hypothesis, for example, found an ontological weight that its geometric models did not provide. Aït-Touati draws from both cosmological treatises and fictions of travel and knowledge, as well as personal correspondences, drawings, and instruments, to emphasize the multiple borrowings between scientific and literary discourses. This volume sheds new light on the practices of scientific invention, experimentation, and hypothesis formation by situating them according to their fictional or factual tendencies.
Have you ever wondered what is the most distant source of light we can see, or how a star shines? Did you know that black holes can blaze like cosmic beacons across intergalactic space, and that ancient radio waves might herald the ignition of the very first stars? Have you ever thought about what light really is? Five Photons explains what we know about the universe through five different journeys of light across space and time. They are tales of quantum physics and general relativity, stars and black holes, dark matter and dark energy. Let yourself be swept away on a journey of discovery towards a deeper understanding of the cosmos.
The claim that evolution undermines Christianity is standard fare in our culture. Indeed, many today have the impression that the two are mutually exclusive and that a choice must be made between faith and reason—rejecting Christianity on the one hand or evolutionary theory on the other. Is there a way to square advances in this field of study with the Bible and Church teaching?
In this book—his fourth dedicated to applying Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI’s wisdom to pressing theological difficulties—Matthew Ramage answers this question decidedly in the affirmative. Distinguishing between evolutionary theory properly speaking and the materialist attitude that is often conflated with it, Ramage’s work meets the challenge of evolutionary science to Catholic teaching on human origins, guided by Ratzinger’s conviction that faith and evolutionary theory mutually enrich one another.
Pope Benedict gifted the Church with many pivotal yet often-overlooked resources for engaging evolution in the light of faith, especially in those instances where he addressed the topic in connection with the Book of Genesis. Ramage highlights these contributions and also makes his own by applying Ratzinger’s principles to such issues as the meaning of man’s special creation, the relationship between sin and death, and the implications of evolution for eschatology. Notably, Ramage shows that many apparent conflicts between Christianity and evolutionary theory lose their force when we interpret creation in light of the Paschal Mystery and fix our gaze on Jesus, the New Adam who reveals man to himself.
Readers of this text will find that it does more than merely help to resolve apparent contradictions between faith and modern science. Ramage’s work shows that discoveries in evolutionary biology are not merely difficulties to be overcome but indeed gifts that yield precious insight into the mystery of God’s saving plan in Christ.
Manitoba is more than one of Canada's three prairie provinces. Encompassing 649,950 square kilometres, its territory ranges from Canadian Shield to grassland, parkland, and subarctic tundra. Its physical geography has been shaped by ice-age glaciers, while its human geography reflects the influences of its various inhabitants, from the First Nations who began arriving over 9,000 years ago, to its most recent immigrants. This fascinating range of geographical elements has given Manitoba a distinct identity and makes it a unique area for study. Geography of Manitoba is the first comprehensive guide to all aspects of the human and physical geography of this unique province. Representing the work of 47 scholars, and illustrated with over 200 maps, diagrams, and photographs, it is divided into four main sections, covering the major areas of the province's geography: Physical Background; People and Settlements; Resources and Industry; and Recreation.As well as studying historical developments, the contributors to Geography of Manitoba analyse recent political and economic events in the province, including the effect of federal and provincial elections and international trade agreements. They also comment on future prospects for the province, considering areas as diverse as resource management and climatic trends.
Owen Gingerich Harvard University Press, 2014 Library of Congress BL240.3.G558 2014 | Dewey Decimal 215
With exoplanets being discovered daily, Earth is still the only planet we know of that is home to creatures who seek a coherent explanation for the structure, origins, and fate of the universe, and of humanity’s place within it. Today, science and religion are the two major cultural entities on our planet that share this goal of coherent understanding, though their interpretation of evidence differs dramatically. Many scientists look at the known universe and conclude we are here by chance. The renowned astronomer and historian of science Owen Gingerich looks at the same evidence—along with the fact that the universe is comprehensible to our minds—and sees it as proof for the planning and intentions of a Creator-God. He believes that the idea of a universe without God is an oxymoron, a self-contradiction. God’s Planet exposes the fallacy in thinking that science and religion can be kept apart.
Gingerich frames his argument around three questions: Was Copernicus right, in dethroning Earth from its place at the center of the universe? Was Darwin right, in placing humans securely in an evolving animal kingdom? And was Hoyle right, in identifying physical constants in nature that seem singularly tuned to allow the existence of intelligent life on planet Earth? Using these episodes from the history of science, Gingerich demonstrates that cultural attitudes, including religious or antireligious beliefs, play a significant role in what passes as scientific understanding. The more rigorous science becomes over time, the more clearly God’s handiwork can be comprehended.
Horizons of Cosmology
Joseph Silk Templeton Press, 2009 Library of Congress QB791.3.S55 2009 | Dewey Decimal 523.1
Horizons of Cosmology: Exploring Worlds Seen and Unseen is the fourth title published in the Templeton Science and Religion Series, in which scientists from a wide range of fields distill their experience and knowledge into brief tours of their respective specialties. In this volume, highly esteemed astrophysicist Joseph Silk explores the vast mysteries and speculations of the field of cosmology in a way that balances an accessible style for the general reader and enough technical detail for advanced students and professionals.
Indeed, while the physical laws and origins of the universe can be endlessly complex, even Einstein once mused that they could be explained simply enough to be grasped by nonspecialists. To that end Silk begins by introducing the basic story of the major discoveries in cosmology over the past century—wherein we learned that we live in an expanding universe populated with galaxies and stars. The middle chapters examine a number of contemporary puzzles such as dark matter and dark energy. The last third of the book looks at the human side of cosmology and moves to the more philosophical frontiers of the field, such as concepts of multiverses and time travel—areas of exploration where some crossover into speculative territory becomes unavoidable.
In the past century alone, our understanding of the universe has expanded exponentially, and it will be fascinating to see what discoveries the next hundred years hold. Few books will provide such a thorough understanding of where we have been and what might lie ahead as Horizons of Cosmology.
“This book will provide readers with a greater awareness of the spirit of curiosity and inquiry that lies at the heart of the Buddhist tradition, as well as the fruitfulness of maintaining active communication between the Buddhist and scientific communities.” —from the Foreword by His Holiness the Dalai Lama
In Humble before the Void, Impey, a noted astronomer, educator, and author gives us a thoroughly absorbing and engaging account of his journey to Northern India to teach in the first-ever “Science for Monks” leadership program. The program was initiated by His Holiness the Dalai Lama to introduce science into the Tibetan Buddhist monastic tradition.
In a vivid and compelling narrative, Impey introduces us to a group of exiled Tibetan monks whose charm, tenacity and unbridled enthusiasm for learning is infectious. Impey marvels not only at their enthusiasm, but at their tireless diligence that allows the monks to painstakingly build intricate sand mandalas—that can be swept away in an instant. He observes them as they meticulously count galaxies and notes how their enthusiasm and diligence stands in contrast to many American students who are frequently turned off by science’s inability to deliver easy, immediate payoffs. Because the Buddhist monks have had a limited science education, Impey must devise creative pedagogy. His new students immediately take to his inspired teaching methods, whether it’s the use of balloons to demonstrate the Hubble expansion or donning an Einstein mask to explain the theory of relativity.
Humble before the Void also recounts Impey’s experiences outside the classroom, from the monks’ eagerness to engage in pick-up basketball games and stream episodes of hip American sitcoms to the effects on his relationship with the teenage son who makes the trip with him. Moments of profound serenity and beauty in the Himalayas are contrasted with the sorrow of learning that other monks have set themselves on fire to protest the Chinese oppression in Tibet.
At the end of the three week program, both the monks and Impey have gained a valuable education. While the monks have a greater understanding and appreciation of science, Impey has acquired greater self- knowledge and a deeper understanding of the nature of learning and teaching in the East and West. This understanding leads to a renewed enthusiasm for making his topic come alive for others.
A new perspective on religions and the environment emerges from this collection. The authors, a diverse group of indigenous and non-native scholars and environmental activists, address compelling and urgent questions facing indigenous communities as they struggle with threats to their own sovereignty, increased market and media globalization, and the conservation of endangered bioregions.
Drawing attention to the pressures threatening indigenous peoples and ways of life, this volume describes modes of resistance and regeneration by which communities maintain a spiritual balance with larger cosmological forces while creatively accommodating current environmental, social, economic, and political changes.
This provocative volume, one of the most important interpretive works on the philosophical thought of the Renaissance, has long been regarded as a classic in its field. Ernst Cassirer here examines the changes brewing in the early stages of the Renaissance, tracing the interdependence of philosophy, language, art, and science; the newfound recognition of individual consciousness; and the great thinkers of the period—from da Vinci and Galileo to Pico della Mirandola and Giordano Bruno. The Individual and the Cosmos in Renaissance Philosophy discusses the importance of fifteenth-century philosopher Nicholas Cusanus, the concepts of freedom and necessity, and the subject-object problem in Renaissance thought.
“This fluent translation of a scholarly and penetrating original leaves little impression of an attempt to show that a ‘spirit of the age’ or ‘spiritual essence of the time’ unifies and expresses itself in all aspects of society or culture.”—Philosophy
Inner Space/Outer Space
Edited by Edward Kolb, Michael Turner, Keith Olive, David Seckel, and David Lind University of Chicago Press, 1986 Library of Congress QB980.I56 1986 | Dewey Decimal 523.01
Inner Space/Outer Space brings together much of the exciting work contributing to a new synthesis of modern physics. Particle physicists, concerned with the "inner space" of the atom, are making discoveries that their colleagues in astrophysics, studying outer space, can use to develop and test hypotheses about the events that occurred in the microseconds after the Big Bang and that shaped the universe as we know it today.
The papers collected here, from scores of scientists, constitute the proceedings of the first major international conference on research at the interface of particle physics and astrophysics, held in May 1984. The editors have written introductions to each major section that draw out the central themes and elaborate on the primary implications of the papers that follow.
Mexican educator and thinker Jose Vasconcelos is to Latinos what W.E.B. Du Bois is to African Americans--a controversial scholar who fostered an alternative view of the future. In JosèVasconcelos: The Prophet of Race, his influential 1925 essay, "Mestizaje" key to understanding the role he played in the shaping of multiethnic America--is for the first time showcased and properly analyzed. Freshly translated here by John H. R. Polt, "Mestizaje" suggested that the Brown Race from Latin America was called to dominate the world, a thesis embraced by activists and scholars north and south of the Rio Grande. Ilan Stavans insightfully and comprehensively examines the essay in biographical and historical context, and considers how many in the United States, especially Chicanos during the civil rights era, used it as a platform for their political agenda. The volume also includes Vasconcelos's long-forgotten 1926 Harris Foundation Lecture at the University of Chicago, "The Race Problem in Latin America," where he cautioned the United States that rejecting mestizaje in our own midst will ultimately bankrupt the nation.
The work of Johannes Kepler (1571-1630), regarded by many as the founder of modern astronomy, is also historically important to the philosophy and methodology of science as a whole. While most studies of Kepler have concentrated on his astronomical work, particularly his laws describing the revolutions of the planets, the. V. Field focuses on one of Kepler's major preoccupations, his search for the geometrical plan according to which God created teh universe. She demonstrates how Kepler's cosmological theories, which embrace music and astrology as well as astronomy, relate to his other work. Drawing on the whole body of Kepler's writings, Field traces the impact of Plato, Euclid, and Proclus on his thinking, as well as the influence of his contemporaries Galileo and Robert Fludd.
Kepler has suffered from a dual image as both hero of science and eccentric mystagogue. Field's sound scholarship provides a more complete picture of the man and his work that will be of value to historians of science, mathematics, philosophy, and the late Renaissance.
Whitehead's magnum opus is as important as it is difficult. It is the only work in which his metaphysical ideas are stated systematically and completely, and his metaphysics are the heart of his philosophical system as a whole. Sherburne has rearranged the text in a way designed to lead the student logically and coherently through the intricacies of the system without losing the vigor of Whitehead's often brilliant prose.
"The Key renders Process and Reality pedagogically accessible for the first time."—Journal of Religion
A rigorous and scientific analysis of the myriad possibilities of life beyond our planet.
“Are we alone in the universe?” This tantalizing question has captivated humanity over millennia, but seldom has it been approached rigorously. Today the search for signatures of extraterrestrial life and intelligence has become a rapidly advancing scientific endeavor. Missions to Mars, Europa, and Titan seek evidence of life. Laboratory experiments have made great strides in creating synthetic life, deepening our understanding of conditions that give rise to living entities. And on the horizon are sophisticated telescopes to detect and characterize exoplanets most likely to harbor life.
Life in the Cosmos offers a thorough overview of the burgeoning field of astrobiology, including the salient methods and paradigms involved in the search for extraterrestrial life and intelligence. Manasvi Lingam and Avi Loeb tackle three areas of interest in hunting for life “out there”: first, the pathways by which life originates and evolves; second, planetary and stellar factors that affect the habitability of worlds, with an eye on the biomarkers that may reveal the presence of microbial life; and finally, the detection of technological signals that could be indicative of intelligence. Drawing on empirical data from observations and experiments, as well as the latest theoretical and computational developments, the authors make a compelling scientific case for the search for life beyond what we can currently see.
Meticulous and comprehensive, Life in the Cosmos is a master class from top researchers in astrobiology, suggesting that the answer to our age-old question is closer than ever before.
All humans share three origins: the beginning of our individual lives, the appearance of life on Earth, and the formation of our planetary home. Life through Time and Space brings together the latest discoveries in both biology and astronomy to examine our deepest questions about where we came from, where we are going, and whether we are alone in the cosmos.
A distinctive voice in the growing field of astrobiology, Wallace Arthur combines embryological, evolutionary, and cosmological perspectives to tell the story of life on Earth and its potential to exist elsewhere in the universe. He guides us on a journey through the myriad events that started with the big bang and led to the universe we inhabit today. Along the way, readers learn about the evolution of life from a primordial soup of organic molecules to complex plants and animals, about Earth’s geological transformation from barren rock to diverse ecosystems, and about human development from embryo to infant to adult. Arthur looks closely at the history of mass extinctions and the prospects for humanity’s future on our precious planet.
Do intelligent aliens exist on a distant planet in the Milky Way, sharing the three origins that characterize all life on Earth? In addressing this question, Life through Time and Space tackles the many riddles of our place and fate in the universe that have intrigued human beings since they first gazed in wonder at the nighttime sky.
A concise introduction to the greatest questions of modern cosmology.
What came before the big bang? How will the universe evolve into the future? Will there be a big crunch? Questions like these have no definitive answers, but there are many contending theories. In A Little Book about the Big Bang, physicist and writer Tony Rothman guides expert and uninitiated readers alike through the most compelling mysteries surrounding the nature and origin of the universe.
Cosmologists are busy these days, actively researching dark energy, dark matter, and quantum gravity, all at the foundation of our understanding of space, time, and the laws governing the universe. Enlisting thoughtful analogies and a step-by-step approach, Rothman breaks down what is known and what isn’t and details the pioneering experimental techniques scientists are bringing to bear on riddles of nature at once utterly basic and stunningly complex. In Rothman’s telling, modern cosmology proves to be an intricate web of theoretical predictions confirmed by exquisitely precise observations, all of which make the theory of the big bang one of the most solid edifices ever constructed in the history of science. At the same time, Rothman is careful to distinguish established physics from speculation, and in doing so highlights current controversies and avenues of future exploration.
The idea of the big bang is now almost a century old, yet with each new year comes a fresh enigma. That is scientific progress in a nutshell: every groundbreaking discovery, every creative explanation, provokes new and more fundamental questions. Rothman takes stock of what we have learned and encourages readers to ponder the mysteries to come.
A fascinating and sophisticated exploration of cosmology, Magical Arrows connects the Western philosophical tradition with the cosmological traditions of non-Western societies, particularly those of Polynesia. Using the mythology and philosophy of the Maori of New Zealand as a counterpoint to Western thought, Schrempp finds a philosophical common denominator in the thought of the pre-Socratic philosopher, Zeno of Elea. Schrempp suggests that the paradoxes of Zeno, together with the philosophical speculations that they have historically inspired, contain sophisticated insights which are nevertheless general enough to form the foundations of a comparative cosmology.
Schrempp suggests that perhaps the most noteworthy Zenoian insight is that paradox is intrinsic to cosmological speculation. But he points out that there are many other characteristics of Zeno’s approach, including the strategy of juxtaposing concrete images to mathematical forms of representation, that reappear persistently in Western intellectual history. Schrempp proceeds through a series of juxtapositions—between Zeno, Kant, Lovejoy, and Lévi-Strauss, and between Western cosmologists and those from other cultures—to highlight subtle similarities and differences among intellectual traditions and to examine the conceptual apparatus of Western social science.
Schrempp concludes that a meaningful comparative cosmology is possible and that the tradition of Zeno provides a propitious starting point for such a perspective.
In Many Worlds, renowned scientists in fields from physics to astronomy discuss the possibility of a cosmic evolutionary process that guides not only our universe, but other planets and universes as well. Physicist and author Paul Davies observes that “if it turns out to be the case that the universe is inherently bio-friendly, then the scientific, theological, and philosophical implications will be extremely significant.”
Many Worlds first focuses on what lessons might be learned from the latest knowledge of the origin and evolution of life. After establishing a well-grounded relationship between science and religion, authors such as Arthur Peacocke and John Leslie evaluate the intricate configuration of events that must occur to create a dynamic and chemically enriched environment capable of not only supporting life, but evolutionary processes as well. The final section addresses the provocative question of extraterrestrial life. What we may find could drastically change our relation to the universe and our creator.
As we reflect on the possibilities that the universe presents, author and contributor Christian de Duve aptly states, “Many myths have had to be abandoned. But mystery remains, more profound and beautiful than ever before, a reality almost inaccessible to our feeble human means.” Is our existence part of a divine scheme ingenuously designed to support life, or is it an extraordinary chain of accidents that culminate in a life-permitting environment? The scientific advancements of the past century cannot help but capture the imagination and inspire renewed hope for the future. This volume will add dimension and insight to these yet unanswered questions.
Humans have always viewed the heavens with wonder and awe. The skies have inspired reflection on the vastness of space, the wonder of creation, and humankind’s role in the universe. In just over one hundred years, science has moved from almost total ignorance about the actual distances to the stars and earth’s place in the galaxy to our present knowledge about the enormous size, mass, and age of the universe. We are reaching the limits of observation, and therefore the limits of human understanding. Beyond lies only our imagination, seeded by the theories of physics. In Measuring the Cosmos, science writers David and Matthew Clark tell the stories of both the well-known and the unsung heroes who played key roles in these discoveries. These true accounts reveal ambitions, conflicts, failures, as well as successes, as the astonishing scale and age of the universe were finally established. Few areas of scientific research have witnessed such drama in the form of ego clashes, priority claims, or failed (or even falsified) theories as that resulting from attempts to measure the universe. Besides giving credit where long overdue, Measuring the Cosmos explains the science behind these achievements in accessible language sure to appeal to astronomers, science buffs, and historians.
These selections from Le système du monde, the classic ten-volume history of the physical sciences written by the great French physicist Pierre Duhem (1861-1916), focus on cosmology, Duhem's greatest interest. By reconsidering the work of such Arab and Christian scholars as Averroes, Avicenna, Gregory of Rimini, Albert of Saxony, Nicole Oresme, Duns Scotus, and William of Occam, Duhem demonstrated the sophistication of medieval science and cosmology.
This volume offers an integrated and comparative approach to the Popol Vuh, analyzing its myths to elucidate the ancient Maya past while using multiple lines of evidence to shed light on the text. Combining interpretations of the myths with analyses of archaeological, iconographic, epigraphic, ethnohistoric, ethnographic, and literary resources, the work demonstrates how Popol Vuh mythologies contribute to the analysis and interpretation of the ancient Maya past.
The chapters are grouped into four sections. The first section interprets the Highland Maya worldview through examination of the text, analyzing interdependence between deities and human beings as well as the textual and cosmological coherence of the Popol Vuh as a source. The second section analyzes the Precolumbian Maya archaeological record as it relates to the myths of the Popol Vuh, providing new interpretations of the use of space, architecture, burials, artifacts, and human remains found in Classic Maya caves. The third explores ancient Maya iconographic motifs, including those found in Classic Maya ceramic art; the nature of predatory birds; and the Hero Twins’ deeds in the Popol Vuh. The final chapters address mythological continuities and change, reexamining past methodological approaches using the Popol Vuh as a resource for the interpretation of Classic Maya iconography and ancient Maya religion and mythology, connecting the myths of the Popol Vuh to iconography from Preclassic Izapa, and demonstrating how narratives from the Popol Vuh can illuminate mythologies from other parts of Mesoamerica.
The Myths of the Popol Vuh in Cosmology, Art, and Ritual is the first volume to bring together multiple perspectives and original interpretations of the Popol Vuh myths. It will be of interest not only to Mesoamericanists but also to art historians, archaeologists, ethnohistorians, iconographers, linguists, anthropologists, and scholars working in ritual studies, the history of religion, historic and Precolumbian literature and historic linguistics.
Contributors: Jaime J. Awe, Karen Bassie-Sweet, Oswaldo Chinchilla Mazariegos, Michael D. Coe, Iyaxel Cojtí Ren, Héctor Escobedo, Thomas H. Guderjan, Julia Guernsey, Christophe Helmke, Nicholas A. Hopkins, Barbara MacLeod, Jesper Nielsen, Colin Snider, Karl A. Taube
The Natural World as a Philosophical Problem
Jan Patocka, edited by Ivan Chvatík and Lubica Ucnik, translated by Erika Abrams, foreword by Ludwig Landgrebe Northwestern University Press, 2016 Library of Congress BD516.P3713 2016 | Dewey Decimal 113
The first text to critically discuss Edmund Husserl’s concept of the "life-world," The Natural World as a Philosophical Problem reflects Jan Patocka's youthful conversations with the founder of phenomenology and two of his closest disciples, Eugen Fink and Ludwig Landgrebe. Now available in English for the first time, this translation includes an introduction by Landgrebe and two self-critical afterwords added by Patocka in the 1970s. Unique in its extremely broad range of references, the work addresses the views of Russell, Wittgenstein, and Carnap alongside Husserl and Heidegger, in a spirit that considerably broadens the understanding of phenomenology in relation to other twentieth-century trends in philosophy. Even eighty years after first appearing, it is of great value as a general introduction to philosophy, and it is essential reading for students of the history of phenomenology as well as for those desiring a full understanding of Patocka’s contribution to contemporary thought.
The award-winning former editor of Science News shows that one of the most fascinating and controversial ideas in contemporary cosmology—the existence of multiple parallel universes—has a long and divisive history that continues to this day.
We often consider the universe to encompass everything that exists, but some scientists have come to believe that the vast, expanding universe we inhabit may be just one of many. The totality of those parallel universes, still for some the stuff of science fiction, has come to be known as the multiverse.
The concept of the multiverse, exotic as it may be, isn’t actually new. In The Number of the Heavens, veteran science journalist Tom Siegfried traces the history of this controversial idea from antiquity to the present. Ancient Greek philosophers first raised the possibility of multiple universes, but Aristotle insisted on one and only one cosmos. Then in 1277 the bishop of Paris declared it heresy to teach that God could not create as many universes as he pleased, unleashing fervent philosophical debate about whether there might exist a “plurality of worlds.”
As the Middle Ages gave way to the Renaissance, the philosophical debates became more scientific. René Descartes declared “the number of the heavens” to be indefinitely large, and as notions of the known universe expanded from our solar system to our galaxy, the debate about its multiplicity was repeatedly recast. In the 1980s, new theories about the big bang reignited interest in the multiverse. Today the controversy continues, as cosmologists and physicists explore the possibility of many big bangs, extra dimensions of space, and a set of branching, parallel universes. This engrossing story offers deep lessons about the nature of science and the quest to understand the universe.
On Plato’s Timaeus
Calcidius Harvard University Press, 2016 Library of Congress B387.C3413 2016 | Dewey Decimal 113
Until the Renaissance, the work of Calcidius offered the medieval West almost the only direct access to Plato’s corpus not dispersed in fragments. In the 4th century CE, Calcidius translated into Latin an important section of Plato’s Timaeus, complemented by extensive commentary and organized into coordinated parts. The first part is broadly devoted to the architecture of the world, to its intelligible structure. The second delves into the nature of the living creatures that inhabit it. This basic division subsequently informed the sense of macrocosm and microcosm—of the world and our place in it—which is prevalent in western European thought in the Middle Ages. At the same time, this medieval volume altered perspectives on Plato by drawing on other philosophical traditions, particularly the Stoic and Peripatetic, while including Judeo-Christian cosmology and anthropology. The present edition provides the first English translation of Calcidius’s work.
EMANUEL SWEDENBORG Swedenborg Foundation Publishers, 2018 Library of Congress BX8712.E3 2017 | Dewey Decimal 289.4
In Other Planets, Emanuel Swedenborg offers us a panorama of a unified and purposeful universe based on his visionary journeys through the unimaginably vast reaches of the spiritual world.
Cast in the form of a travelogue, Swedenborg describes having contact with the spirits of people who had lived on Mercury, Jupiter, and other planets and satellites in our solar system and beyond. This may present a challenge for those who interpret it literally, but just as it is with other of Swedenborg’s “memorable occurrences” in the spiritual world, the goal is to consider and explore the deeper insights that he reveals regarding the universal principles that unite the human with the Divine. The discussions of faith in Other Planets are framed by Swedenborg’s own Christian beliefs; however, a key takeaway for readers will certainly be the feeling that there are multiple ways of approaching belief and religious practice that can all lead to heaven.
Also published under the titles Earths in the Universe, The Worlds in Space, and Life on Other Planets, this work provides seasoned students of Swedenborg with a renewed take on the fundamentals of his theology. At the same time, this short piece opens a window onto how the people of the eighteenth century sought to integrate science and religion in ways that are still relevant and meaningful today.
A BBC Sky at Night Best Astronomy and Space Book of the Year
“[A] luminous guide to the cosmos…Jo Dunkley swoops from Earth to the observable limits, then explores stellar life cycles, dark matter, cosmic evolution and the soup-to-nuts history of the Universe.” —Nature
“A grand tour of space and time, from our nearest planetary neighbors to the edge of the observable Universe…If you feel like refreshing your background knowledge…this little gem certainly won’t disappoint.” —Govert Schilling, BBC Sky at Night
Most of us have heard of black holes and supernovas, galaxies and the Big Bang. But few understand more than the bare facts about the universe we call home. What is really out there? How did it all begin? Where are we going?
Jo Dunkley begins in Earth’s neighborhood, explaining the nature of the Solar System, the stars in our night sky, and the Milky Way. She traces the evolution of the universe from the Big Bang fourteen billion years ago, past the birth of the Sun and our planets, to today and beyond. She then explains cutting-edge debates about such perplexing phenomena as the accelerating expansion of the universe and the possibility that our universe is only one of many. Our Universe conveys with authority and grace the thrill of scientific discovery and a contagious enthusiasm for the endless wonders of space-time.
Almost weightless and able to pass through the densest materials with ease, neutrinos seem to defy the laws of nature. But these mysterious particles may hold the key to our deepest questions about the universe, says physicist Heinrich Päs. In The Perfect Wave, Päs serves as our fluent, deeply knowledgeable guide to a particle world that tests the boundaries of space, time, and human knowledge.
The existence of the neutrino was first proposed in 1930, but decades passed before one was detected. Päs animates the philosophical and scientific developments that led to and have followed from this seminal discovery, ranging from familiar topics of relativity and quantum mechanics to more speculative theories about dark energy and supersymmetry. Many cutting-edge topics in neutrino research--conjectures about the origin of matter, extra-dimensional spacetime, and the possibility of time travel--remain unproven. But Päs describes the ambitious projects under way that may confirm them, including accelerator experiments at CERN and Fermilab, huge subterranean telescopes designed to detect high-energy neutrino radiation, and the Planck space observatory scheduled to investigate the role of neutrinos in cosmic evolution.
As Päs's history of the neutrino illustrates, what is now established fact often sounded wildly implausible and unnatural when first proposed. The radical side of physics is both an exciting and an essential part of scientific progress, and The Perfect Wave renders it accessible to the interested reader.
A committed Lutheran excommunicated from his own church, a friend to Catholics and Calvinists alike, a layman who called himself a “priest of God,” a Copernican in a world where Ptolemy still reigned, a man who argued at the same time for the superiority of one truth and the need for many truths to coexist—German astronomer Johannes Kepler was, to say the least, a complicated figure. With The Pursuit of Harmony, Aviva Rothman offers a new view of him and his achievements, one that presents them as a story of Kepler’s attempts to bring different, even opposing ideas and circumstances into harmony.
Harmony, Rothman shows, was both the intellectual bedrock for and the primary goal of Kepler’s disparate endeavors. But it was also an elusive goal amid the deteriorating conditions of his world, as the political order crumbled and religious war raged. In the face of that devastation, Kepler’s hopes for his theories changed: whereas he had originally looked for a unifying approach to truth, he began instead to emphasize harmony as the peaceful coexistence of different views, one that could be fueled by the fundamentally nonpartisan discipline of mathematics.
Though the kinematics of the evolving universe became known decades ago, research into the physics of processes occurring in the expanding universe received a reliable observational and theoretical basis only in more recent years. These achievements have led in turn to the emergence of new problems, on which an unusually active assault has begun.
This second volume of Relativistic Astrophysics provides a remarkably complete picture of the present state of cosmology. It is a synthesis of the theoretical foundations of contemporary cosmology, which are derived from work in relativity, plasma theory, thermodynamics, hydrodynamics, and particle physics. It presents the theoretical work that explains, describes, and predicts the nature of the universe, the physical process that occur in it, the formation of galaxies, the synthesis of the light elements, and the cosmological singularity and the theory of gravitation.
This book, long and eagerly awaited, is essential for everyone whose work is related to cosmology and astrophysics.
2022 Marysa Navarro Best Book Prize, New England Council of Latin American Studies (NECLAS)
In 1702, after the brutal suppression of a Zapotec revolt, the bishop of Oaxaca proclaimed an amnesty for idolatry in exchange for collective confessions. To evade conflict, Northern Zapotec communities denounced ritual specialists and surrendered sacred songs and 102 divinatory manuals, which preserve cosmological accounts, exchanges with divine beings, and protocols of pre-Columbian origin that strongly resemble sections of the Codex Borgia. These texts were sent to Spain as evidence of failed Dominican evangelization efforts, and there they remained, in oblivion, until the 1960s.
In this book, David Tavárez dives deep into this formidable archive of ritual and divinatory manuals, the largest calendar corpus in the colonial Americas, and emerges with a rich understanding of Indigenous social and cultural history, Mesoamerican theories of cosmos and time, and Zapotec ancestor worship. Drawing on his knowledge of Zapotec and Nahuatl, two decades of archival research, and a decade of fieldwork, Tavárez dissects Mesoamerican calendars as well as Native resistance and accommodation to the colonial conquest of time, while also addressing entangled transatlantic histories and shining new light on texts still connected to contemporary observances in Zapotec communities.
Discoveries in astronomy challenge our fundamental ideas about the universe. Where the astronomers of antiquity once spoke of fixed stars, we now speak of whirling galaxies and giant supernovae. Where we once thought Earth was the center of the universe, we now see it as a small planet among millions of other planetary systems, any number of which could also hold life. These dramatic shifts in our perspective hinge on thousands of individual discoveries: moments when it became clear to someone that some part of the universe—whether a planet or a supermassive black hole—was not as it once seemed.
Secrets of the Universe invites us to participate in these moments of revelation and wonder as scientists first experienced them. Renowned astronomer Paul Murdin here provides an ambitious and exciting overview of astronomy, conveying for newcomers and aficionados alike the most important discoveries of this science and introducing the many people who made them. Lavishly illustrated with more than 400 color images, the book outlines in seventy episodes what humankind has learned about the cosmos—and what scientists around the world are poised to learn in the coming decades. Arranged by types of discovery, it also provides an overarching narrative throughout that explains how the earliest ideas of the cosmos evolved into the cutting-edge astronomy we know today. Along the way, Murdin never forgets that science is a human endeavor, and that every discovery was the result of inspiration, hard work, or luck—usually all three.
The first section of Secrets explores discoveries made before the advent of the telescope, from stars and constellations to the position of our own sun. The second considers discoveries made within our own solar system, from the phases of Venus and the moons of Jupiter to the comets and asteroids at its distant frontier. The next section delves into discoveries of the dynamic universe, like gravitation, relativity, pulsars, and black holes. A fourth examines discoveries made within our own galaxy, from interstellar nebulae and supernovae to Cepheid variable stars and extrasolar planets. Next Murdin turns to discoveries made within the deepest recesses of the universe, like quasars, supermassive black holes, and gamma ray bursters. In the end, Murdin unveils where astronomy still teeters on the edge of discovery, considering dark matter and alien life.
A behind-the-scenes look at the latest tool in astrophysics: computer simulations of the cosmos.
Simulating the Cosmos is a behind-the-scenes look at one of the hottest and fastest-moving areas of astrophysics today: simulations of cosmology and galaxy formation. Leading cosmologist Romeel Davé guides you through the trials and tribulations of what it takes to teach computers how galaxies form, the amazing insights revealed by cosmological simulations, and the many mysteries yet to be solved. This rollicking journey is a rare glimpse into science in action, showing how cosmologists are using supercomputers to uncover the secrets of how the universe came to be.
Writing for the general reader or student, Wald has completely revised and updated this highly regarded work to include recent developments in black hole physics and cosmology. Nature called the first edition "a very readable and accurate account of modern relativity physics for the layman within the unavoidable constraint of almost no mathematics. . . . A well written, entertaining and authoritative book."
The Star of Redemption
Franz Rosenzweig; Translated by Barbara E. Galli; Foreword by Michael Oppenheim, introduction by Elliot R. Wolfson University of Wisconsin Press, 2005 Library of Congress BM565.R613 2005 | Dewey Decimal 296.3
The Star of Redemption is essential reading for anyone interested in understanding religion and philosophy in the twentieth century. Fusing philosophy and theology, the book assigns both Judaism and Christianity distinct but equally important roles in the spiritual structure of the world. Franz Rosenzweig finds in both biblical religions approaches to a comprehension of reality.
The major themes and motifs of The Star—the birth, life, death, and the immortality of the soul; Eastern philosophies and Jewish mysticism; the relationship between God, world and humanity over time; and revelation as the real biblical miracle of faith and path to redemption—resonate meaningfully.
These two shorter works by Swedish theologian Emanuel Swedenborg (1688–1772), originally published separately and very different in content, both represent Swedenborg’s own effort to summarize complex areas of his thought.
Published toward the end of Swedenborg’s life, Survey of Teachings of the New Church was a forerunner to his final theological work, True Christianity. In Survey, Swedenborg discusses some key tenets of Christian doctrine, both Catholic and Protestant, and describes how his own theology differs from it. He focuses on key concepts such as the Trinity, the nature of faith and charity, and the spiritual nature of the Last Judgment described in the book of Revelation. Taken as a whole, the piece is a brief summation of the doctrines that Swedenborg felt were critical for the coming spiritual age.
Soul-Body Interaction addresses a crucial area of Swedenborg’s thought: the way that life flows from the transcendent God into all living things. Swedenborg describes the nature and structure of the spiritual world, including heaven, hell, and the intermediate world of spirits, and describes how the higher levels of being reflect a more perfect conjunction with God. He also traces the flow of the Lord’s love and wisdom into the soul of all living people, showing how it gives life regardless of their current spiritual state.
Evidence from Shang oracle bones to memorials submitted to Western Han emperors attests to a long-lasting debate in early China over the proper relationship between humans and gods. One pole of the debate saw the human and divine realms as separate and agonistic and encouraged divination to determine the will of the gods and sacrifices to appease and influence them. The opposite pole saw the two realms as related and claimed that humans could achieve divinity and thus control the cosmos. This wide-ranging book reconstructs this debate and places within their contemporary contexts the rival claims concerning the nature of the cosmos and the spirits, the proper demarcation between the human and the divine realms, and the types of power that humans and spirits can exercise. It is often claimed that the worldview of early China was unproblematically monistic and that hence China had avoided the tensions between gods and humans found in the West. By treating the issues of cosmology, sacrifice, and self-divinization in a historical and comparative framework that attends to the contemporary significance of specific arguments, Michael J. Puett shows that the basic cosmological assumptions of ancient China were the subject of far more debate than is generally thought.
Thirty years ago, the only planets we knew were the ones orbiting our own sun; we now know of thousands of other worlds orbiting distant stars. In this book, astronomer Niall Deacon journeys to twenty of these globes: from giant, blisteringly hot planets orbiting close to their parent stars to planets that float through the cold wilderness of space alone, and from dead stars shredding asteroids to worlds made of diamond—and even planets that may be similar to the Earth. Deacon also takes in the latest exoplanet discoveries and explains how astronomers have come to learn so much about these strange and distant worlds. Twenty Worlds tells a sweeping story, of real planets around other stars, and it will fascinate a universe of fans of popular science and astronomy.
We know the universe has a history, but does it also have a story of self-creation to tell? Yes, in Roy R. Gould’s account. He offers a compelling narrative of how the universe—with no instruction other than its own laws—evolved into billions of galaxies and gave rise to life, including humans who have been trying for millennia to comprehend it. Far from being a random accident, the universe is hard at work, extracting order from chaos.
Making use of the best current science, Gould turns what many assume to be true about the universe on its head. The cosmos expands inward, not outward. Gravity can drive things apart, not merely together. And the universe seems to defy entropy as it becomes more ordered, rather than the other way around. Strangest of all, the universe is exquisitely hospitable to life, despite its being constructed from undistinguished atoms and a few unexceptional rules of behavior. Universe in Creation explores whether the emergence of life, rather than being a mere cosmic afterthought, may be written into the most basic laws of nature.
Offering a fresh take on what brought the world—and us—into being, Gould helps us see the universe as the master of its own creation, not tethered to a singular event but burgeoning as new space and energy continuously stream into existence. It is a very old story, as yet unfinished, with plotlines that twist and churn through infinite space and time.
The Universe We Think In
James V. Schall Catholic University of America Press, 2018 Library of Congress BX1793.S324 2018 | Dewey Decimal 230.2
The Universe We Think In arises from a tradition of realism, both philosophical and political, a universe in which the common sense understanding of things is included in our judgement about them. The scope is both vast and narrow – vast because it
Combining the latest scientific advances with storytelling skills unmatched in the cosmos, anaward-winning astrophysicist and popular writerleads us on a tour of some of the greatest mysteries of our universe.
In the constellation of Eridanus, there lurks a cosmic mystery: It’s as if something has taken a huge bite out of the universe. But what is the culprit? The hole in the universe is just one of many puzzles keeping cosmologists busy. Supermassive black holes, bubbles of nothingness gobbling up space, monster universes swallowing others—these and many other bizarre ideas are being pursued by scientists. Due to breathtaking progress in astronomy, the history of our universe is now better understood than the history of our own planet. But these advances have uncovered some startling riddles. In this electrifying new book, renowned cosmologist and author Paul Davies lucidly explains what we know about the cosmos and its enigmas, exploring the tantalizing—and sometimes terrifying—possibilities that lie before us.
As Davies guides us through the audacious research offering mind-bending solutions to these and other mysteries, he leads us up to the greatest outstanding conundrum of all: Why does the universe even exist in the first place? And how did a system of mindless, purposeless particles manage to bring forth conscious, thinking beings? Filled with wit and wonder, What’s Eating the Universe? is a dazzling tour of cosmic questions, sure to entertain, enchant, and inspire us all.
The landscapes of the American Southwest—the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, the Sedona red rocks—have long filled humans with wonder about nature. This is the home of Lowell Observatory, where astronomers first discovered evidence that the universe is expanding; Meteor Crater, where Apollo astronauts trained for the moon; and Native American tribes with their own ancient, rich ways of relating to the cosmos. With the personal, poetic style of the very best literary nature writing, Don Lago explores how these landscapes have offered humans a deeper sense of connection with the universe. While most nature writing never leaves the ground, Lago is one of the few writers who has applied it to the universe, seeking ties between humans and the astronomical forces that gave us birth.
Nowhere else in the world is the link between earth and sky so powerful. Lago witnesses a solar eclipse over the Grand Canyon, climbs primeval volcanos, and sees the universe in tree rings. Through ageless Native American ceremonies, modern telescopes, and even dreams of flying saucers, Lago, who is not only a poet but a true philosopher of science, strives to find order and meaning in the world and brings out the Southwest’s beauty and mystery.
When the ancient Greeks looked up into the heavens, they saw not just sun and moon, stars and planets, but a complete, coherent universe, a model of the Good that could serve as a guide to a better life. How this view of the world came to be, and how we lost it (or turned away from it) on the way to becoming modern, make for a fascinating story, told in a highly accessible manner by Rémi Brague in this wide-ranging cultural history.
Before the Greeks, people thought human action was required to maintain the order of the universe and so conducted rituals and sacrifices to renew and restore it. But beginning with the Hellenic Age, the universe came to be seen as existing quite apart from human action and possessing, therefore, a kind of wisdom that humanity did not. Wearing his remarkable erudition lightly, Brague traces the many ways this universal wisdom has been interpreted over the centuries, from the time of ancient Egypt to the modern era. Socratic and Muslim philosophers, Christian theologians and Jewish Kabbalists all believed that questions about the workings of the world and the meaning of life were closely intertwined and that an understanding of cosmology was crucial to making sense of human ethics. Exploring the fate of this concept in the modern day, Brague shows how modernity stripped the universe of its sacred and philosophical wisdom, transforming it into an ethically indifferent entity that no longer serves as a model for human morality.
Encyclopedic and yet intimate, The Wisdom of the World offers the best sort of history: broad, learned, and completely compelling. Brague opens a window onto systems of thought radically different from our own.