Waves in an Impossible Sea: How Everyday Life Emerges from the Cosmic Ocean (Hardcover)

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Waves in an Impossible Sea: How Everyday Life Emerges from the Cosmic Ocean (Hardcover)


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A theoretical physicist takes us on an awe-inspiring journey from relativity to the Higgs field, showing how the universe creates everything from what seems like nothing at all 

In Waves in an Impossible Sea, physicist Matt Strassler tells a startling tale of elementary particles, human experience, and empty space. He begins with a simple mystery of motion. When we drive at highway speeds with the windows down, the wind beats against our faces. Yet our planet hurtles through the cosmos at 150 miles per second, and we feel nothing of it. How can our voyage be so tranquil when, as Einstein discovered, matter warps space, and space deflects matter?
The answer, Strassler reveals, is that empty space is a sea, albeit a paradoxically strange one. Much like water and air, it ripples in various ways, and we ourselves, made from its ripples, can move through space as effortlessly as waves crossing an ocean. Deftly weaving together daily experience and fundamental physics—the musical universe, the enigmatic quantum, cosmic fields, and the Higgs boson—Strassler shows us how all things, familiar and unfamiliar, emerge from what seems like nothing at all.
Accessible and profound, Waves in an Impossible Sea is the ultimate guide to our place in the universe.
Matthew Strassler is a theoretical physicist, blogger, and writer whose research often takes him to the Large Hadron Collider. An associate of the Harvard University Physics Department and a former member of the Institute for Advanced Study, he was previously a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Washington, and Rutgers University. He lives in rural Massachusetts. 
Product Details ISBN: 9781541603295
ISBN-10: 154160329X
Publisher: Basic Books
Publication Date: March 5th, 2024
Pages: 384
Language: English
“Strassler is a competent guide to complex topics, but most impressive is his approach to simpler concepts—mass, energy, light—where observation and common sense have been misleading…. Strassler is an imaginative thinker and capable writer… A fine introduction to the cosmos.”—Kirkus

“Matt Strassler has been one of the deepest thinkers in fundamental physics and quantum field theory for the past three decades. It is a cause for celebration to see him combine his penetrating insights together with a brilliant flair for beautifully clear and simple non-technical explanations, to produce a true masterpiece with this book. I have never seen its equal and don't expect I ever will.”—Nima Arkani-Hamed, Institute for Advanced Study

“It's not easy to convey the ideas of modern physics without any equations, but also without compromises, making sure every statement is precisely correct. Matt Strassler does it better than anyone I've ever read. If you want to know what's really going on in the realms of relativity and particle physics, read this book.”—Sean Carroll, author of The Biggest Ideas in the Universe

"Matt Strassler succeeds triumphantly in conveying the fascination of the physical reality that underpins our  world of atoms and stars. His distinguished expertise, combined with an entertaining and lucid writing style, enable him to lure readers into a ‘deeper dive’ than most physicists attempt when addressing a general readership -- and to do this without distortion. He conveys the essence of the deep structures that underpin our natural world in an engaging and accessible way. This book deserves wide readership."
 —Professor Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal

“This extraordinary work, reminiscent of the genius of Feynman, will awaken your sense of wonder and unveil the enchantment that surrounds our physical world. From the moment I delved into this captivating masterpiece, I found myself spellbound. It is a mesmerizing odyssey that will forever change how you perceive the world.”—Stephon Alexander, author of Fear of a Black Universe

“There is a particular zing you get from good explanations, and Matt Strassler knows how to deliver them. This book is a rare attempt by a noted particle physicist to convey the core concepts out of which the world is constructed in language that truly anyone can understand. Matt says he was motivated to write the book by the many egregious explanations he had read about how the Higgs field generates the masses of elementary particles—and indeed, his version delivers the zing I’ve long sought.”—Natalie Wolchover, senior editor, Quanta Magazine