Shining a light on the most profound insights revealed by modern physics, Jim Al-Khalili invites us all to understand what this crucially important science tells us about the universe and the nature of reality itself.
Al-Khalili begins by introducing the fundamental concepts of space, time, energy, and matter, and then describes the three pillars of modern physics—quantum theory, relativity, and thermodynamics—showing how all three must come together if we are ever to have a full understanding of reality. Using wonderful examples and thought-provoking analogies, Al-Khalili illuminates the physics of the extreme cosmic and quantum scales, the speculative frontiers of the field, and the physics that underpins our everyday experiences and technologies, bringing the reader up to speed with the biggest ideas in physics in just a few sittings. Physics is revealed as an intrepid human quest for ever more foundational principles that accurately explain the natural world we see around us, an undertaking guided by core values such as honesty and doubt. The knowledge discovered by physics both empowers and humbles us, and still, physics continues to delve valiantly into the unknown.
Making even the most enigmatic scientific ideas accessible and captivating, this deeply insightful book illuminates why physics matters to everyone and calls one and all to share in the profound adventure of seeking truth in the world around us.
Awards and Recognition
- One of Waterstones' Books of the Year 2020: Popular Science
- Shortlisted for the Royal Society Insight Investment Prize for Science Books
- One of the Financial Times' Summer Books of 2020: Science
- One of the Financial Times' Best Books of 2020: Science
- One of Symmetry Magazine's Top Physics Books of 2020
"Many distinguished physicists have set out to explain their weird and wonderful world to lay readers but few have done so with the simple elegance of Al-Khalili, a physics professor at the University of Surrey best known for his radio and television programmes about science. He calls this book 'an ode to physics'; it is also an ode to joy in science."—Clive Cookson, Financial Times
"Jim Al-Khalili's The World According to Physics is a thrilling ride . . . [it] makes cutting-edge physics easily understandable and makes it clear why he fell in love with the subject as a teenager."—Richard Webb, New Scientist
"Broadcaster and quantum physicist Jim Al-Khalili is a superb guide to the fundamental principles of quantum theory, relativity and thermodynamics."—Mail on Sunday
"Al-Khalili shows how physics can enrich our understanding not just of the world around us, but of ourselves, too."—Hannah Shaddock, Radio Times
"A deeply insightful exploration into reality itself."—Jonathan Wells, Gentleman's Journal
"A fantastic book . . . [it] helped me to remember what I first loved about the subject."—Daniel Bennett, BBC Science Focus Podcast
"A quantum physicist and BBC host introduces modern physics by explaining its fundamental concepts of space, time, energy, and matter, then describing the field’s three pillars—quantum theory, relativity, and thermodynamics."—Publishers Weekly
"This book is a refreshing, equations-free, occasionally philosophical take on what physics is all about that should appeal to physicists and the public alike."—Nature Astronomy
"Ever wanted to get into quantum physics, but been afraid to try? This book might be the answer. Bestselling author and BBC host Jim Al-Kahlili invites us to understand reality and the universe better as he explains modern physics to us."—Claire Handscombe, Book Riot
"People should enjoy physics, says Al-Khalili, and you can’t help thinking as you are propelled along through the historical and familiar principles, as well as more recent and emerging ideas, that he is entirely correct. . . . The beauty of [Al-Khalili's] approach is that it keeps open the sense of wonder, discovery and possibility that is so attractive to the non-specialist reader."—Nick Smith, Engineering & Technology
"Teachers will be able to mine Al-Khalili’s text for wonderful facts and examples that are scattered throughout the book. . . . Al-Khalili has melded his expertise in physics and as a science communicator to very good effect indeed."—Rick Marshall, Physics Education
"Al-Khalili travels from the quantum to the cosmological in exploring the science of matter, energy, space and time that underlie all our everyday experiences and technologies."—Mike Perricone, Symmetry Magazine
"This very insightful book illustrates why physics matters to everyone and calls on anyone and everyone to engage in the profound adventure of pursuing truth in the world around us."—Ali Kaya, Abakcus
"The physical world is strange and full of surprises. And yet, as Jim Al-Khalili shows, it is far from incomprehensible. His simple, profound, and accurate account of core principles makes mind-expanding knowledge accessible to general readers."—Frank Wilczek, 2004 Nobel laureate, author of A Beautiful Question
"So much science packed into such a tiny package! Jim Al-Khalili manages to give an accessible overview of an enormous amount of modern physics, without it ever feeling rushed. This book will be enjoyed by anyone who wants a glimpse of how modern physicists are thinking about some of the hardest problems in the universe."—Sean Carroll, author of Something Deeply Hidden: Quantum Worlds and the Emergence of Spacetime
"Clearly written and inviting, even to readers who may not at first consider themselves scientific, The World According to Physics is a book that should be read and appreciated by many."—Jocelyn Bell Burnell, University of Oxford
"A clear, simple, and fascinating account of what physics tells us about our universe, and—crucially—what evidence supports that view, from one of the most talented, inspiring, and informative popularizers of science. A triumph!"—Ian Stewart, author of Do Dice Play God?
"This book presents a comprehensive account of modern physics, weaving together a tapestry of new and familiar topics. Al-Khalili has a distinctively light voice that comes across throughout and works incredibly well."—Pedro G. Ferreira, author of The Perfect Theory: A Century of Geniuses and the Battle over General Relativity
"A good read. Al-Khalili gives a nice overview of the current state of play in fundamental physics and why understanding physics is important."—Jeff Forshaw, coauthor of Universal: A Journey through the Cosmos