Any new books for non students (Laymen) out there that I can enjoy reading to satiate my thirst for knowlege of what is on the cutting edge of all things small and large (Quantum mechaninics, Cosmology, and astrophysics)? I left off back in the 80’s after reading all I could get by John Wheeler, Fritof Capra, Etc… I still have “The Universe in a nutshell” on my desk.
I’ve seen every show ever made on the discovery and science cahannels but still want more.
I’d love a heads up on something that blends western science with eastern philosophy.
If only I’d stayed in school and been able to write my own book!
You might try Sean Carroll’s From Eternity to Here, which is about our current understanding of the nature of time and how the Universe began. While I’ve not read it personally, I overlapped with Dr. Carroll during his time at U. Chicago, and took a course or two from him. I cannot imagine his writing being anything other than clear, lucid, and entertaining.
What’s the local opinion on “The Road to Reality” by Penrose? I have it and I’m (slowly) making my way through it; it’s a fairly good way to learn the math involved, but is there anything I should know before he gets down to teaching the physics?
Personally, I love the book – it’s a grand effort, and used as a sort of ‘atlas’ for finding your way around physics, I think it’s unparalleled. It might not contain the details on anything, but it’s great to get you where you need to be to check them out on your own. It provides an overarching view that you sometimes miss through the standard study of physics, a view only few people can provide. And it’s basically worth the price for Penrose’s illustrations alone – I don’t think there are many people sharing his gift of representing the wholly abstract.
That said, he does have some idiosyncratic views that are a ways removed from the mainstream, and while he is careful to point out where he differs from the consensus (such as there is), I think he in places overstates the case for his own views (which is perhaps only natural). So I would take the things he says about gravity being responsible for quantum state reduction, or his arguments against cosmic inflation with a grain of salt.