Conjuring the Universe: The Origins of the Laws of Nature

ISBN : 9780198813385

Peter Atkins
208 Pages
129 x 196 mm
Pub date
Mar 2020
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The marvellous complexity of the Universe emerges from several deep laws and a handful of fundamental constants that fix its shape, scale, and destiny. There is a deep structure to the world which at the same time is simple, elegant, and beautiful. Where did these laws and these constants come from? And why are the laws so fruitful when written in the language of mathematics?

Peter Atkins considers the minimum effort needed to equip the Universe with its laws and its constants. He explores the origin of the conservation of energy, of electromagnetism, of classical and quantum mechanics, and of thermodynamics, showing how all these laws spring from deep symmetries. The revolutionary result is a short but immensely rich weaving together of the fundamental ideas of physics. With his characteristic wit, erudition, and economy, Atkins sketches out how the laws of Nature can spring from very little. Or arguably from nothing at all.


1 Back to eternity

2 Much ado about nothing

3 Anarchy rules

4 The heat of the moment

5 Beyond anarchy

6 The creative power of ignorance

7 The charge of the light brigade

8 Measure for measure

9 The cry from the depths



About the author: 

Peter Atkins is a fellow of Lincoln College in the University of Oxford and the author of about seventy books for students and a general audience. His texts are market leaders around the globe. A frequent lecturer in the United States and throughout the world, he has held visiting professorships in France, Israel, Japan, China, and New Zealand. He was the founding chairman of the Committee on Chemistry Education of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry and was a member of IUPACs Physical and Biophysical Chemistry Division. He was the 2016 recipient of the American Chemical Societys Grady-Stack Award for the communication of chemistry to the public.

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