From the Big Bang to the Theory of Everything, Sunday Telegraph Science Correspondent Robert Matthews takes us on a tour of twenty-five of the biggest ideas in modern science. Along the way, he explains how the theory that proved Einstein wrong might one day make teleportation possible; how the principles of mathematics could be used to broker peace treaties; and why the key to understanding some of the deepest mysteries of the universe could be linked to the barcode on your groceries. As Matthews explains these big ideas, he uncovers the major personalities in the history of science, from World War Two code breaker Alan Turing and his test for artificial intelligence, to modern scientists and their theories such as Richard Dawkins and the selfish gene, and Stephen Hawking and quantum mechanics. Explaining key terms throughout and featuring a timeline charting the key discoveries within each `big idea', this is a thorough and entertaining guide to the cutting edge of science as we know it for readers of all backgrounds.
Contents; 1. Ourselves - and others; Consciousness; Small world theory; Game theory; 2. Doing the impossible; Artificial Intelligence; Information Theory; GM technology; 3. Life; Out of Africa; Nature versus Nurture; The Selfish Gene; 4. The Earth; Catastrophism; Plate Tectonics; 5. Mathematics; Bayes's Theorem; Chaos Theory; Cellular Automata; Extreme Value Theory; 6. In sickness and in health; Evidence-based medicine; Epidemiology; 7. The physics of reality; Special relativity; Entanglement; The Standard Model; The Theory of Everything; 8. The universe - and our place in it; The Big Bang; Dark Energy; Parallel Universes; The Anthropic Principle
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Robert Matthews is Visiting Research Fellow at Aston University and Science Correspondent for The Sunday Telegraph. He writes regular columns for, among others, The New Scientist and Focus magazine, and has published papers on a range of subjects from cryptography to cosmology. Most famously, his research on Murphy's Law (why toast always lands butter-side down, and why there are always hundreds of odd socks in your drawer) won him a discourse to the Royal Institution of Great Britain, as well as several awards.