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The name of Robert FitzRoy, captain of the Beagle, is forever linked with that of his most famous passenger, Charles Darwin. This exceptionally interesting biography brings FitzRoy out of Darwin's shadow for the first time, revealing a man who experienced high adventure, suffered tragic disappointments, and—as the inventor of weather forecasting—saved the lives of countless fellow mariners.
John and Mary Gribbin draw a detailed portrait of FitzRoy, recounting the wide range of his accomplishments and exploring the motivations that drove him. As a very young and successful commander in the British navy, FitzRoy's life was in the mold of a Patrick O'Brian novel. This biography focuses well-deserved attention on FitzRoy's status as a master scientist and seaman.
Quantum theory is so shocking that Einstein could not bring himself to accept it. It is so important that it provides the fundamental underpinning of all modern sciences. Without it, we'd have no computers, no science of molecular biology, no understanding of DNA, no genetic engineering.
In Search of Schrodinger's Cat tells the complete story of quantum mechanics, a truth stranger than any fiction. John Gribbin takes us step by step into an even more bizarre and fascinating place, requiring only that we approach it with an open mind. He introduces the scientists who developed quantum theory. He investigates the atom, radiation, time travel, the birth of the universe, super conductors and life itself. And in a world full of its own delights, mysteries and surprises, he searches for Schrodinger's Cat - a search for quantum reality - as he brings every reader to a clear understanding of the most important area of scientific study today - quantum physics.
In Search of Schrodinger's Cat is a fascinating and delightful introduction to the strange world of the quantum - an essential element in understanding today's world.
'An accessible primer on all things quantum' - Sunday Times
Quantum physics is strange. It tells us that a particle can be in two places at once. Indeed, that particle is also a wave, and everything in the quantum world can be described entirely in terms of waves, or entirely in terms of particles, whichever you prefer.
All of this was clear by the end of the 1920s. But to the great distress of many physicists, let alone ordinary mortals, nobody has ever been able to come up with a common sense explanation of what is going on. Physicists have sought ‘quanta of solace’ in a variety of more or less convincing interpretations. Popular science master John Gribbin takes us on a delightfully mind-bending tour through the ‘big six’, from the Copenhagen interpretation via the pilot wave and many worlds approaches.
All of them are crazy, and some are more crazy than others, but in this world crazy does not necessarily mean wrong, and being more crazy does not necessarily mean more wrong.
In this landmark new book, popular science master John Gribbin tells the dramatic story of the quest that has led us to discover the true age of the Universe (13.8 billion years) and the stars (just a little bit younger). This discovery, Gribbin argues, is one of humankind’s greatest achievements and shows us that physics is on the right track to finding the ‘Theory of Everything’.
13.8 provides an eye-opening look at this cutting-edge area of modern cosmology and physics, and tells the compelling story of what modern science has achieved – and what it can still achieve.
The amazing true science behind the fiction of His Dark Materials, ideal for fans of the original trilogy and The Book of Dust, with an introduction by Philip Pullman.
Award-winning science writers Mary and John Gribbin reveal how the world of Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy (Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass) is rooted in astonishing scientific truth. Drawing on string theory and spacetime, quantum physics and chaos theory, they answer fascinating questions such as: could parallel worlds like Will's and Lyra's really exist? How does the subtle knife cut through anything? Could there be a bomb like the one made with Lyra's hair? And, of course, what are the Dark Materials?
Many people were more familiar with his life story than the details of his work. Therefore in this compelling essay, John Gribbin looks at the science behind the man; what Hawking did to earn global acclaim and the science that established his reputation among his peers. The brilliantly imaginative Hawking addressed many questions. How big is the universe? Can we travel backwards in time? Is there life beyond Earth?
John Gribbin’s succinct guide to the complex science behind the genius explains all this and more in straightforward language that aims to make the workings of the Universe accessible to all.
John Gribbin (born 19 March 1946) is a British science writer, an astrophysicist, and a visiting fellow in astronomy at the University of Sussex. In 1984, Gribbin published perhaps his best-known book, In Search of Schrödinger's Cat: Quantum Physics and Reality. His writings include quantum physics, human evolution, climate change, global warming and the origins of the universe.
Drawing on the latest measurements of the ‘ripples in time’ that mark the birth of the Universe, John Gribbin goes beyond the Big Bang to address the questions of how and why the Universe came into being, and what its future evolution holds in store. His controversial contention is that the Universe itself can be regarded as a living entity which, rather than being unique, has evolved through Darwinian selection among a multitude of rival universes, competing for existence in spacetime.
This vision of the Universe as a product of evolution by natural selection echoes and extends the idea that all the living things on Earth may form an interlocking web which can be regarded as a single living organism, Gaia. On scales intermediate between that of a single planet and that of the entire Universe, whole galaxies of stars, like our Milky Way system, also show properties usually associated with living systems, and evidence of evolution. Along the way we learn why the laws of physics should be as they are, and whether human beings have a special place in the living Universe.
In the Beginning is Dr Gribbin’s tour de force – science writing at its best.
Praise for John Gribbin:
‘One of the finest and most prolific writers of popular science around’ – The Spectator
John Gribbin is an award-winning science writer best known for his book In Search of Schrodinger's Cat. He studied astrophysics under Fred Hoyle in Cambridge, before working as a science journalist for Nature and later the New Scientist, and is now a Visiting Fellow in Astronomy at the University of Sussex.
How did the Universe begin? And how will it end?
In this radically revised and updated edition incorporating the latest scientific findings, acclaimed science writer and cosmologist John Gribbin explores the origins of the Universe and considers its ultimate fate.
Tracing the early attempts to formulate a theory of the Universe, he surveys the major players involved and the crucial technical developments on the long road towards discovery which led to the first detailed model of the Big Bang in the 1940s. The detection of tiny variations in cosmic microwave energy by the COBE satellite in the 1990s gave further support to the theory. John Gribbin explains how after many billion of years the Universe, which is now expanding, may one day recollapse into a mirror image of the Big Bang. Finally, taking into account his own recent researches, he reveals how an accurate measurement of the age of the Universe has helped to provide conclusive proof of the theory of the Big Bang.
`A remarkably readable guide to the mysteries of cosmic creation'
`Witty, entertaining and learned, his book is the work of an expert raconteur'
`The best entree to the highly abstract and mathematical world of modem cosmology'
—Professor Michael Rowan-Robinson
A Waterstones Best Book of 2020
The theory of evolution by natural selection did not spring fully formed and unprecedented from the brain of Charles Darwin. Rather it has been examined and debated by philosophers the world over for thousands of years.
This lively history traces the evolution of the idea of evolution, showing how it has changed and been changed by different societies over time. It will put 'Darwin’s Dangerous Idea' into its proper context, showing how it built on what went before and how it was developed in the twentieth century, through an understanding of genetics and the biochemical basis evolution. None of this diminishes the achievement of Darwin himself in perceiving the way evolution works at the level of individuals and species, but his contribution was one link in a chain that extends back into antiquity, and is still being forged today.
His extraordinary career included war-time work on the atomic bomb at Los Alamos, a profoundly original theory of quantum mechanics, for which he won the Nobel prize, and major contributions to the sciences of gravity, nuclear physics and particle theory.
Interweaving personal anecdotes and recollections with clear scientific narrative, acclaimed science writers John and Mary Gribbin reveal a fascinating man with an immense passion for life – a superb teacher, a wonderful showman and one of the greatest scientists of his generation.
John Gribbin is one of the few science writers who is equally comfortable writing about biology as he is about physics, and this beginner's guide will take the reader through the basics and the fundamental issues of the crucial areas of modern science, from the birth of the universe through to the evolution of our own species, the nature of human behaviour and the workings of our minds.
Crucially, the book will not only provide an overview of the central areas in a single volume, but will also explain how the areas link up, what evolutionary theory has to say about how we think, how sub-atomic particles came into being in the Big Bang and atoms in stars.