The Big Picture

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Pages: 480
Subject: Popular Science
Imprint: Oneworld

The Big Picture

On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself

Sean Carroll

The instant New York Times bestseller and one of Brian Cox's books of the year in the Mail on Sunday
Paperback
9781786071033 (4 May 2017)
RRP £12.99
Hardback
9781780746067 (1 Sep 2016)
RRP £20.00

The Book

‘Fascinating' - Brian Cox, Mail on Sunday Books of the Year

Where are we? Who are we? Do our beliefs, hopes and dreams hold any significance out there in the void? Can human purpose and meaning ever fit into a scientific worldview?

Award-winning author Sean Carroll brings his extraordinary intellect to bear on the realms of knowledge, the laws of nature and the most profound questions about life, death and our place in it all.

From Darwin and Einstein to the origins of life, consciousness and the universe itself, Carroll combines cosmos-sprawling science and profound thought in a quest to explain our world. Destined to sit alongside the works of our greatest thinkers, The Big Picture demonstrates that while our lives may be forever dwarfed by the immensity of the universe, they can be redeemed by our capacity to comprehend it and give it meaning.

Additional Information

Subject Popular Science
Pages 480
Imprint Oneworld

 

About the Author

Sean Carroll is a theoretical physicist at the California Institute of Technology. In addition to the Royal Society Winton Prize, he has been awarded prizes and fellowships from the National Science Foundation, NASA, the American Physical Society and the American Institute of Physics. He lives in Los Angeles.

Reviews

‘Bold...rich in detail and absorbing.'

- Tim Radford, Guardian

‘A humane and compelling story for our increasingly secular age.'

- Manjit Kumar, Literary Review

‘Sean Carroll's lucid The Big Picture reveals how the universe works and our place in it. Carroll, a philosophically sophisticated physicist, discusses consciousness without gimmicks, and deftly shows how current physics is so solid that it rules out ESP for ever.'

- Observer

‘Fascinating.'

- Brian Cox, Mail on Sunday Books of the Year

‘An extraordinarily ambitious synthesis of science and philosophy…The Big Picture impresses. Carroll is a lively and sympathetic author who writes as well about biology and philosophy as he does about his own field of physics'.

- Financial Times

‘A highly enjoyable and lucid tour through a wide range of topics…even if you don't agree with what [Carroll] says, you are unlikely to be enraged by such an urbane and engaging lecturer; more likely, you will be enthralled.'

- Wall Street Journal

‘Language, philosophy, quantum mechanics, general relativity - they're all in The Big Picture. Sean Carroll is a fantastically erudite and entertaining writer.'

- Elizabeth Kolbert, author of New York Times bestseller The Sixth Extinction

‘Weaving the threads of astronomy, physics, chemistry, biology, and philosphy into a seamless narrative tapestry, Sean Carroll enthralls us with what we've figured out in the universe and humbles us with what we don't yet understand. Yet in the end, it's the meaning of it all that feeds your soul of curiosity.'

- Neil deGrasse Tyson, host of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey

‘Carroll beautifully articulates the world view suggested by contemporary naturalism. Thorny issues like free will, the direction of time, and the source of morality are clarified with elegance and insight... This is a book that should be read by everybody.'

- Carlo Rovelli, author of Seven Brief Lessons on Physics

‘A tour de force that offers a comprehensive snapshot of the human situation in our infinitely strange universe, and it does this with highly accessible language and engaging storytelling.'

- Salon.com

‘Carroll's new book reveals how physicists' quest to better understand the fundamental laws of nature has led to astonishing insights into life, the universe, and everything.'

- Sabine Hossenfelder, Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies

‘[Carroll] sets out to show how various phenomena, including thought, choice, consciousness, and value, hang together with the scientific account of reality that has been developed in physics in the past 100 years. He attempts to do all this without relying on specialized jargon from philosophy and physics and succeeds spectacularly in achieving both aims.'

- Science

‘From the Big Bang to the meaning of human existence, The Big Picture is exactly that - a magisterial, yet deeply fascinating, grand tour through the issues that really matter. Blending science and philosophy, Sean Carroll gives us a humane perspective on the universe and our place in it. As gripping as it is important, The Big Picture can change the way you think about the world.'

- Neil Shubin, author of Your Inner Fish

‘Instead of feeling humbled and insignificant when gazing upward on a clear starry night, Carroll takes us by the hand and shows us how fantastic the inanimate physical Universe is and how special each animate human can be. It is lucid, spirited, and penetrating.'

- Michael Gazzaniga, author of Who's in Charge? and Tales from Both Sides of the Brain

‘In this timely exploration of the universe and its mysteries - both physical and metaphysical - Sean Carroll illuminates the world around us with clarity, beauty and, ultimately, with much needed wisdom.'

- Deborah Blum, director, Knight Science Journalism Program at MIT, author of The Poisoner’s Handbook

A nuanced inquiry into ‘how our desire to matter fits in with the nature of reality at its deepest levels,' in which Carroll offers an assuring dose of what he calls "existential therapy" reconciling the various and often seemingly contradictory dimensions of our experience.'

- Maria Popova, Brain Pickings

‘Sean Carroll is a leading theoretical cosmologist with the added ability to write about his subject with unusual clarity, flare, and wit.'

- Alan Lightman, author of The Accidental Universe and Einstein’s Dreams

‘Carroll is the perfect guide to this wondrous journey of discovery. A brilliantly lucid exposition of profound philosophical and scientific issues...'

- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

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