April 17, 2001
From one of our foremost mathematicians and cosmologists comes this fascinating exploration of the surprisingly substantial and varied nature of nothing.
With unassailable expertise and a proven ability to make complex theories and ideas clearly accessible, John Barrow examines and explains every aspect of nothingness. From the zeros of mathematicians to the void of philosophers, from Shakespeare to the null set, from ether to the quantum vacuum, this book illustrates the fact that nothing is real.
Barrow begins with the origins of zero in ancient India, its rocky reception in Europe, and the early abhorrence and eventual acceptance of the concept of the void by Christianity. He traces the notion through the work of writers and thinkers from the ancient Greeks to our own time. He looks at mathematics, cosmology, theology, and physics to uncover the nothing that is at the heart of most things. Finally, he discusses recent concepts of nothing, which are having profound effects on our search for the origins and overall structure of the universe.
Illuminating the many ways in which humankind has come to understand “nothing,” The Book of Nothing brilliantly belies its title.
John D. Barrow is research professor of mathematical sciences in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics at Cambridge University. His previous books include Theories of Everything, The Artful Universe, Impossibility, Between Inner and Outer Space, The Universe That Discovered Itself, and The Origin of the Universe. He lives in England.