Humans have worked to understand and explain the universe for millennia, but Marcelo says we’ll never know it all—and proceeds to explain why. We are driven “to make sense of the world” and our place in it, and advances in mathematics and technology, from geometry and lenses to calculus and computers, have expanded our reach, revealing details of the very small and the very large. But as that “island of knowledge” grows, Marcelo says, “so do the shores of our ignorance.” From Copernicus’s proof that the Earth orbited the Sun to Isaac Newton’s laws of gravitation and motion, and quantum theory’s uncertainty principle, solutions that solved major problems also made many uncomfortable because they revealed deeper mysteries, showing “the true vastness of space and time.” Marcelo covers a broad swath of subjects—from cognition and curved space to particle physics, superstring theory, and multiverses—with a thoughtful, accessible style that balances philosophy with hard science. His island imagery will capture readers’ imagination as it examines the ideas that unnerve us even as they illuminate our world.

 

What People Are Saying About The Island of Knowledge:

“We've come to know far more than our ancestors could possibly have imagined—including the depth of our ignorance. In Gleiser's lucid narrative, that marvelous paradox comes alive.”

— Frank Wilczek, Nobel laureate and author of The Lightness of Being

 

“Marcelo Gleiser brings a physicist's knowledge, a philosopher's wisdom, and a poet's language to elucidate our largest questions. If you finish The Island of Knowledge with all the same opinions with which you began it, then turn to page one and start reading again.”

— Rebecca Goldstein, MacArthur Fellow and author of Plato at the Googleplex

 

“Articulate, elegant, and at times poignant, The Island of Knowledge is a magnificent account of humanity's struggle to understand its place in the cosmos.  ... Gleiser shows how our efforts to comprehend the universe have transformed it into something rich and strange.”

— Seth Lloyd, professor of mechanical engineering at MIT and author of Programming the Universe

“Gleiser covers a broad swath of subjects—from cognition and curved space to particle physics, superstring theory, and multiverses—with a thoughtful, accessible style that balances philosophy with hard science. His island imagery will capture readers’ imagination as it examines the ideas that unnerve us even as they illuminate our world.”

— Publishers Weekly

 

The Island of Knowledge is a history of the mind, its gift for finding ideas in things. The brilliance of centuries of philosophic and scientific inquiry, never more remarkable than at present, bears a profound resemblance to the brilliance it discovers in the universe. Marcelo Gleiser makes us feel what a privilege it is to be human.”

— Marilynne Robinson, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Humanities Medal, and author of Gilead and Absence of Mind: The Dispelling of Inwardness from the Modern Myth of the Self

 

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