Ingrid Gnerlich, Publisher for Sciences at Princeton University Press, has acquired World English rights, including audio, to The Beauty of Falling by theoretical physicist Claudia de Rham. Jeff Shreve at The Science Factory handled the deal.
From Newton’s notion of gravitational force to Einstein’s theory of relativity, to the speculative frontiers of contemporary physics, The Beauty of Falling paints a vivid portrait of what we know and still do not know about gravity. De Rham lucidly describes how our understanding of gravity continues to evolve, while gracefully interweaving the story of her personal and scientific trajectory—including setbacks and breakthroughs she experienced in challenging the claims of a generation of senior scientists to propose a modification of Einstein’s theory: “massive gravity.”
Writing less than a decade after the first detection of gravitational waves, de Rham emphasizes that Einstein’s general theory of relativity in fact predicts its own downfall, and where this theory breaks down—at the particle level—is exactly where scientists such as de Rham are focusing their search for new physics. While contemporary physicists generally consider gravity as a manifestation of a fundamental particle (the graviton), which has no mass, de Rham suggests that the graviton may in fact have mass and finite range, causing it to “switch off” at cosmological scales, which in turn explains the accelerating expansion of the universe that is observed in nature. In introducing readers to her theory of “massive gravity,” de Rham brings to life the thrill of questioning nature and challenging it in its deepest realization, as well as the excitement of discovering something completely new.
Commenting on the project, Ingrid Gnerlich said, “Claudia’s writing is extraordinarily compelling, and she achieves a rare balance between the science and the more personal, autobiographical aspects of the narrative. The positive ways in which she portrays how science works—how her work fits into the entire enterprise and the challenges of making breakthroughs at the frontier of a discipline that has long been male-dominated—are just wonderful. This is an inspiring book in the making.”
The Beauty of Falling is slated for publication in the spring of 2023.
About the Author
Claudia de Rham is a professor of theoretical physics at Imperial College London, a Simons Emmy Noether Visiting Fellow at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, and an adjunct professor of physics at Case Western Reserve University. She researches gravity, particle physics, and cosmology, in pursuit of a more fundamental description of the nature of our universe. De Rham is a 2020 Simons Investigator in Physics, a 2020 Blavatnik Laureate in Physical Sciences and Engineering, and winner of the 2018 Adams Prize for contributions to Mathematics (previous winners include Stephen Hawking and James Clerk Maxwell). She and her research have been featured in the Guardian, Los Angeles Times, Quanta, and BBC’s “The Naked Scientists,” among other outlets, and she appeared in “Through the Wormhole,” a science documentary series hosted by Morgan Freeman.