Alpha and Omega: The Search for the Beginning and End of the by Charles Seife

By Charles Seife

From the writer of interpreting the Universe and Zero

Humankind has grappled for millennia with the elemental questions of the foundation and finish of the universe—it used to be a spotlight of historic religions and myths and of the inquiries of Aristotle, Galileo, Copernicus, Kepler, and Newton. this day we're on the verge of collapse of discoveries that are meant to quickly exhibit the private secrets and techniques of the universe.

Alpha and Omega is a dispatch from front strains of the cosmological revolution that's being waged at observatories and laboratories round the world-in Europe, in the United States, or even in Antarctica—where scientists are literally peering into either the cradle of the universe and its grave. Scientists—including galaxy hunters and microwave eavesdroppers, gravity theorists and atom smashers, all of whom are at the path of darkish subject, darkish strength, and the growing to be population of the particle zoo-now understand how the universe will finish and are close to knowing its starting. Their findings should be one of the maximum triumphs of technology, even towering above the decoding of the human genome. this can be the ebook you must support comprehend the common front-page headlines heralding dramatic cosmological discoveries. It makes state of the art technological know-how either crystal transparent and fantastically fascinating.

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Additional info for Alpha and Omega: The Search for the Beginning and End of the Universe

Sample text

The collapse of positivism has helped to weaken the ideological appeal offormalism, which in any event had long since lost its philosophical rationale with Godel's theorem (1931), or even earlier (see, for example, van Heijenoort, 1977). At the same time, computers have been coming in ever more strongly, providing job opportunities and new criteria of interest and even of proof. Most notable in this direction was the computer based "proof' of the classic "Four-Colour Theorem" (Appel and Haken, 1978).

Chest X-rays per year: a 5 % lifetime risk. When the number 4 was challenged, the EPA spokeperson remarked: ''That's more risk than some people want to accept. We have to dispel the image that it is safe flying". This guideline was set as a level that could be achieved "fairly easily without frustrating, scaring or bankrupting homeowners"; the level was said to be not "safe" but "doable". The guideline was said, however, to have become "virtual gospel among homeowners, the real estate industry, and professional radon testers", thus functioning as a "magic number" in spite of official disclaimers (Purdy, 1988).

Feyerabend tried to show that scientific and moral quality were equally irrelevant to the successes of the great masters, notably Galileo. Using the elements of craftsmanship and quality, in relations to the "knowing-how" aspect of science, we can reformulate the classical demarcation problem between science and its spurious imitations This problem was at the heart of the programme of traditional philosophy of science, through all the twentieth century and before. Quite simply, we may ask, does a field of expertise support the work of quality assurance?

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