July 21, 2011
The Beginning of Infinity is a bold and all-embracing intellectual exploration. David Deutsch, the critically acclaimed author of The Fabric of Reality, explores the big issues that inform our understanding of how the physical world works. The Fabric of Reality described the four deepest strands of our current knowledge – evolution, quantum physics, knowledge and computation – and the worldview that follows from them. The Beginning of Infinity applies that worldview to a wide range of issues and unsolved problems. It is about free will, creativity and the laws of nature, the future of the human species and its origin, reality and appearance, explanation and infinity.
Uncompromisingly rational and optimistic, Deutsch comes to startling new conclusions about the nature of human choice, scientific explanation and the evolution of culture. Deriving his stance not from hopeful axioms but from the facts about how the physical world works, his central conclusion is that ‘explanations’ have a fundamental place in the universe. They are limited in their scope and power to cause change. Their sole creators – thinking beings such as humans – are the most significant entities in the cosmic scheme of things. Everything is within reach of reason – not only science and mathematics, but also moral philosophy, political philosophy and aesthetics. Within the universal laws of physics, there are no limits to progress.
This is a paradigm-changing book that is destined to become a classic of its kind.
David Deutsch’s research in quantum physics has been influential and highly acclaimed. His papers on quantum computation laid the foundations for that field, breaking new ground in the theory of computation as well as physics, and have triggered an explosion of research efforts worldwide.
Born in Haifa, Israel, David Deutsch was educated at Cambridge and Oxford universities. After several years at the University of Texas at Austin, he returned to Oxford, where he now lives and works. Since 1999 he has been a non-stipendiary visiting Professor of Physics at the University of Oxford, where he is a member of the Centre for Quantum Computation at the Clarendon Laboratory, Oxford University.
In 1998 he was awarded the Institute of Physics’ Paul Dirac Prize and Medal. This is the premier award for theoretical physics within the gift of the Council of the Institute of Physics. It is made for ‘outstanding contributions to theoretical (including mathematical and computational) physics’. In 2002 he received the fourth International Award on Quantum Communication for ‘theoretical work on quantum computer science.’
His previous book, The Fabric of Reality, was shortlisted for the Rhone-Poulenc science book award in 1998.