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Cosmic Jackpot: Why Our Universe Is Just Right for Lifeby Paul Davies
Synopses & Reviews
Cosmic Jackpot is Paul Davies's eagerly awaited return to cosmology, the successor to his critically acclaimed bestseller The Mind of God. Here he tackles all the "big questions," including the biggest of them all: Why does the universe seem so well adapted for life?
In his characteristically clear and elegant style, Davies shows how recent scientific discoveries point to a perplexing fact: many different aspects of the cosmos, from the properties of the humble carbon atom to the speed of light, seem tailor-made to produce life. A radical new theory says it's because our universe is just one of an infinite number of universes, each one slightly different. Our universe is bio-friendly by accident — we just happened to win the cosmic jackpot.
While this "multiverse" theory is compelling, it has bizarre implications, such as the existence of infinite copies of each of us and Matrix-like simulated universes. And it still leaves a lot unexplained. Davies believes there's a more satisfying solution to the problem of existence: the observations we make today could help shape the nature of reality in the remote past. If this is true, then life — and, ultimately, consciousness — aren't just incidental byproducts of nature, but central players in the evolution of the universe.
Whether he's elucidating dark matter or dark energy, M-theory or the multiverse, Davies brings the leading edge of science into sharp focus, provoking us to think about the cosmos and our place within it in new and thrilling ways.
"[A] truly mesmerizing book, no matter which you universe you may inhabit!" Michio Kaku, prof. of theoretical physics, author of Hyperspace and Parallel Worlds
Whether he's elucidating dark matter or dark energy, M-theory or the multiverse, physicist Davies brings the leading edge of science into sharp focus, challenging readers to think about the cosmos in new and thrilling ways.
About the Author
Paul Davies is an internationally acclaimed physicist and cosmologist now at Arizona State University, where he is setting up a pioneering center for the "study of life, the universe, and everything." In addition to his many scientific awards, he is the recipient of the 1995 Templeton Prize — the world's largest annual prize — for his work on science and religion. He is the author of more than twenty books, including The Mind of God, About Time, The Origin of Life, and How to Build a Time Machine. He also chairs the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence postdetection committee, so that if SETI succeeds in finding intelligent life, he will be among the first to know. The asteroid 1992OG was officially renamed Pauldavies in his honor. He lives in Phoenix, Arizona.
Table of Contents
Preface and Acknowledgments ix A Note on Numbers xv 1. The Big Questions 1 2. The Universe Explained 18 3. How the Universe Began 49 4. What the Universe Is Made of and How It All Holds Together 85 5. The Lure of Complete Unification 103 6. Dark Forces of the Cosmos 116 7. A Universe Fit for Life 129 8. Does a Multiverse Solve the Goldilocks Enigma? 151 9. Intelligent and Not-So-Intelligent Design 191 10. How Come Existence? 222 Afterword: Ultimate Explanations 261 Notes 273 Bibliography 293 Index 297
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