September 2, 1985
‘From microcosm to macrocosm, from its origin to its end, the universe is described by physical laws comprehensible to the human mind.’
Dr. Heinz Pagels, Executive Director of the New York Academy of Sciences and author of the hugely acclaimed The Cosmic Code, is that rarest of scientist/writers, one who can describe the most complex concepts of modern physics without mathematics. With characteristic elegance and clarity, his remarkable new book draws on the latest astronomical findings of radio telescopes and earthorbiting satellites, to provide the most complete popular account of the origin and evolution of the universe.
Pagels begins with an exciting description of the bewildering inhabitants of the universe – the stars, white dwarfs and black holes – and of current theories about the birth and structure of galaxies and quasars. He takes us, without mathematics, into the revolutionary ideas of quantum physics and the basic constituents of matter: quarks, leptons and gluons. Then, from the frontier of scientific thinking, he steers us back to the state of the universe before the big bang (a time before the first billionth of a second); and beyond that, to the creation of the universe out of absolutely nothing – a world without space, time or matter.
Challenging and thrilling, Perfect Symmetry enacts the most exciting intellectual adventure of our time: the synthesis of quantum particle physics – the microcosm – with cosmology – the study of the macrocosm. Written with all the lucid resources of art, it is science – and Pagels – at its extraordinary best.
Dr. Heintz Pagels is Associate Professor of Physics at Rockefeller University and Executive Director of the New York Academy of Sciences. His The Cosmic Code (Michael Joseph, 1982) won the American Institute of Physics 1982 Writing Award in Physics and Astronomy.