What Are the Basic Foundations of Modern Physics?

A preview of what to expect from “Seven Brief Lessons on Physics.”

The following is an excerpt from Seven Brief Lessons On Physicsby Carlo Rovelli.

These lessons were written for those who know little or nothing about modern science. Together they provide a rapid overview of the most fascinating aspects of the great revolution that has occurred in physics in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, and of the questions and mysteries that this revolution has opened up. Because science shows us how to better understand the world, but it also reveals to us just how vast is the extent of what is still not known.

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A Brief, Poetic Tour of Modern Physics

The first lesson is dedicated to Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity, the “most beautiful of theories.” The second to quantum mechanics, where the most baffling aspects of modern physics lurk. The third is dedicated to the cosmos: the architecture of the universe that we inhabit; the fourth to its elementary particles. The fifth deals with quantum gravity: the attempts that are under way to construct a synthesis of the major discoveries of the twentieth century. The sixth is on probability and the heat of black holes. The final section of the book returns to ourselves and asks how it is possible to think about our existence in the light of the strange world described by physics.

Adapted from Seven Brief Lessons On Physics. Copyright © 2016 by Carlo Rovelli. To be published by Riverhead Books, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, on March 1. 2016.

Meet the Writer

About Carlo Rovelli

Carlo Rovelli is the author of The Order of Time (Riverhead Books, 2018). He’s at Aix-Marseilles University in Marseilles, France.