Friday, September 17, 2010

New Book by a Caltech Physicist

Leonard Mlodinow is a physicist at Caltech and the co-author with Stephen Hawking of The Grand Design which was released September 7, 2010. I recently saw a group of students from Caltech in a cafĂ©, and they weren’t talking, or texting, or looking at a laptop, they were just quietly thinking. Einstein came up with his greatest breakthroughs by just sitting quietly with his thoughts.

In this major new work, Hawking and Mlodinow look to the laws of nature and physics for the answers to the ultimate questions. You can’t find the book in our catalog today, but it has been ordered. If you hear about a newly published book, and can’t find it in the catalog, ask a librarian to see if it has been ordered. You can place a hold on the title when it appears in the catalog with a call number or coming soon.

Mlodinow is also the author of The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives, which is an irreverent look at how randomness influences our lives, and how our successes and failures are far more dependent on chance events than we recognize. He also wrote Feynman's Rainbow: A Search for Beauty in Physics and in Life and Euclid's Window: The Story of Geometry from Parallel Lines to Hyperspace. He also co-authored A Briefer History of Time with Stephen Hawking, which many have read, but few have understood.

In a recent interview on Shelf-Awareness, he quoted his favorite line from a book:
"We think that grass is green, that stones are hard, and that snow is cold. But physics assures us that the greenness of grass, the hardness of stones, and the coldness of snow, are not the greenness, hardness, and coldness that we know in our own experience, but something very different." (An Inquiry into Meaning and Truth by Bertrand Russell.) In other words, we should question our beliefs and experiences, perhaps by sitting quietly and thinking.

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