The Road to Reality: A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe (Hardcover)
By far the best "lay" physics book I have ever picked up. It seems most physics books fit in one of two categories: extremely technical or extremely watered-down. Penrose's book is right in between. In the first half he catches you up with the math that modern physics employs (Riemann Spheres, complex analysis, tensor calculus, hyperfunctions and much, much more!). The second half is a run down of modern physics itself. And it's infused with Penrose's unique insights and his love of the subject matter. Highly recommended.— Andy
From one of our greatest living scientists, a magnificent book that provides, for the serious lay reader, the most comprehensive and sophisticated account we have yet had of the physical universe and the essentials of its underlying mathematical theory.
Since the earliest efforts of the ancient Greeks to find order amid the chaos around us, there has been continual accelerated progress toward understanding the laws that govern our universe. And the particularly important advances made by means of the revolutionary theories of relativity and quantum mechanics have deeply altered our vision of the cosmos and provided us with models of unprecedented accuracy.
What Roger Penrose so brilliantly accomplishes in this book is threefold. First, he gives us an overall narrative description of our present understanding of the universe and its physical behaviors–from the unseeable, minuscule movement of the subatomic particle to the journeys of the planets and the stars in the vastness of time and space.
Second, he evokes the extraordinary beauty that lies in the mysterious and profound relationships between these physical behaviors and the subtle mathematical ideas that explain and interpret them.
Third, Penrose comes to the arresting conclusion–as he explores the compatibility of the two grand classic theories of modern physics–that Einstein’s general theory of relativity stands firm while quantum theory, as presently constituted, still needs refashioning.
Along the way, he talks about a wealth of issues, controversies, and phenomena; about the roles of various kinds of numbers in physics, ideas of calculus and modern geometry, visions of infinity, the big bang, black holes, the profound challenge of the second law of thermodynamics, string and M theory, loop quantum gravity, twistors, and educated guesses about science in the near future. In The Road to Reality he has given us a work of enormous scope, intention, and achievement–a complete and essential work of science
Praise for The Road to Reality by Roger Penrose
“A truly remarkable book...Penrose does much to reveal the beauty and subtlety that connects nature and the human imagination, demonstrating that the quest to understand the reality of our physical world, and the extent and limits of our mental capacities, is an awesome, never-ending journey rather than a one-way cul-de-sac.”
—London Sunday Times
“Penrose’s work is genuinely magnificent, and the most stimulating book I have read in a long time.”
—Scotland on Sunday
“Science needs more people like Penrose, willing and able to point out the flaws in fashionable models from a position of authority and to signpost alternative roads to follow.”
“What a joy it is to read a book that doesn't simplify, doesn't dodge the difficult questions, and doesn't always pretend to have answers...Penrose’s appetite is heroic, his knowledge encyclopedic, his modesty a reminder that not all physicists claim to be able to explain the world in 250 pages.”
“For physics fans, the high point of the year will undoubtedly be The Road to Reality.”