The Lightness of Being: Mass, Ether, and the Unification of Forces by Frank Wilczek

I’d like to read Frank Wilczek’s The Lightness of Being: Mass, Ether, and the Unification of Forces.

If it sounds familiar and you don’t know why, it’s probably because you’ve heard of Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Fantastic novel (set in Prague), but totally different.

I didn’t realize that Wilczek chose this name partly because his favorite novel is The Unbearable Lightness of Being until I took a look at his website just now.

Wilczek, a physics professor at MIT and a Nobel Laureate, also wrote with his wife Betsy Devine Longing for the Harmonies (which was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year) and Fantastic Realities: 49 Mind Journeys And a Trip to Stockholm.

Here’s what the publisher has to say about this book:

Physicists’ understanding of the essential nature of reality changed radically over the past quarter century. MIT’s Wilczek has played a lead role in establishing the new paradigms. Transcending the clash and mismatch of older ideas about what matter is, and what space is, Wilczek presents here some brilliant and clear syntheses. Space is a dynamic material, the engine of reality; matter is a subtle pattern of disturbance in that material.

Extraordinarily readable and authoritative, The Lightness of Being explores the implications of the newest findings in physics for basic questions about space, mass, energy, and the longed-for possibility of a fully unified theory of Nature. Along the way, Wilczek presents new perspectives on many strange aspects of our fantastic universe. Pointing toward new directions where the great discoveries in fundamental physics are likely to come, he envisions a new Golden Age in physics.

Sounds pretty nerdy huh? It’s been some time since I’ve read a serious science book…

Some of Wilczek theories will be among the first to be tested at the controversial Large Hadron Collider, a $9 billion machine outside of Geneva at CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research).

Click here to read an excerpt, click here to view the table of contents, or here to read more about this book from the author’s website dedicated to The Lightness of Being.

Also, Wilcek will be speaking about his book on Tuesday, October 28,2008 at 6:45 PM with the Smithsonian Resident Associate Program at the Navy Memorial, 701 Pennsylvania Ave, Washington, DC. Tickets cost $20 for the general public, $13 for seniors, and $15 for members.

Click here to register.

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