On Being: A Scientist's Exploration of the Great Questions of Existence

ISBN : 9780199660544

Peter Atkins
128 ページ
130 x 196 mm
  • A personal statement of belief from renowned author Peter Atkins about the ability of science
  • Each chapter explores a grand theme, such as Origins or Death, to show what science has revealed about the topic
  • Written with wit, irony, elegance, and a rigorous exposition of science
  • Explores issues such as the significance of evolution, our personal origins, the physiology of death, and the far ends of the Universe

In this scientific 'Credo', Peter Atkins considers the universal questions of origins, endings, birth, and death to which religions have claimed answers. With his usual economy, wit, and elegance, unswerving before awkward realities, Atkins presents what science has to say. While acknowledging the comfort some find in belief, he declares his own faith in science's capacity to reveal the deepest truths. 



1: Creation
2: Evolution
3: Birth
4: Death
5: Ending


Peter Atkins, Fellow of Lincoln College, University of Oxford
Peter Atkins is the author of about 70 books, including the world-renowned and widely used Physical Chemistry, now in its 10th edition. He won the Grady-Stack award for science journalism in 2016. After graduating from the University of Leicester and a post-doctoral year in the University of California, Los Angeles, he returned to Oxford in 1965 as Fellow of Lincoln College and University Lecturer (later Professor) in physical chemistry. He retired in 2007, but continues to write and lecture worldwide.

Few can match the chiselled beauty of Peter Atkins's prose as he reflects on the nature of life and death, of beginnings and endings, urging us to put away comforting myths, and face into the keen wind of understanding which only science can bring. - Richard Dawkins

On Being is a delight to read. Who else can cover the grand sweep of existence with such clarity and wit as Peter Atkins? The text sparkles with lively metaphors and arresting insights. Even death comes alive in the hands of this master expositor! - Paul Davies

On Being is crisp with good sense, clear with scientific knowledge effortlessly imparted, and delicious with the sort of wit that makes you stop and put the book down just to enjoy it the more fully: the heaven of believers as 'a kind of celestial Poundbury', for example. It presents a vision of life and death, of matter and space and time, that is honest and consistent and miracle-free, except for the living and totally material miracle that is science and the scientific method. There's a level, unpretending, translucent nobility in this vision, and I admire it enormously. - Philip Pullman

a paean to science - Times Literary Supplement

genuine enjoyment - Times Higher Education Supplement

Peter Atkins answers...succinctly and elegantly. - Nature

An effortless read - a real page turner. - BBC Focus