In the successor to his provocative bestseller The Mind of God, the cosmologist Paul Davies tackles another big question: Why does the universe seem so well suited for life? One popular explanation is the “multiverse theory,” which sounds like it came straight from a science fiction plot. It posits that our universe is just one of an infinite number of universes--each slightly different. Only in those rare universes where things are accidentally “just right” for life could observers emerge to puzzle over the fact.
In The Goldilocks Enigma, Davies ponders this and other seemingly bizarre answers to the grand question of existence. He offers lucid descriptions of the science behind these theories and delights in their philosophical implications. Once again, Davies invites us to think about the cosmos and our place within it in new and thrilling ways.
The Goldilocks Enigma is Paul Davies’s eagerly awaited return to cosmology, the successor to his critically acclaimed bestseller The Mind of God. Here he tackles all the "big questions," including the biggest of them all: Why does the universe seem so well adapted for life?
In his characteristically clear and elegant style, Davies shows how recent scientific discoveries point to a perplexing fact: many different aspects of the cosmos, from the properties of the humble carbon atom to the speed of light, seem tailor-made to produce life. A radical new theory says it’s because our universe is just one of an infinite number of universes, each one slightly different. Our universe is bio-friendly by accident -- we just happened to win the cosmic jackpot.
While this "multiverse" theory is compelling, it has bizarre implications, such as the existence of infinite copies of each of us and Matrix-like simulated universes. And it still leaves a lot unexplained. Davies believes there’s a more satisfying solution to the problem of existence: the observations we make today could help shape the nature of reality in the remote past. If this is true, then life -- and, ultimately, consciousness -- aren’t just incidental byproducts of nature, but central players in the evolution of the universe.
Whether he’s elucidating dark matter or dark energy, M-theory or the multiverse, Davies brings the leading edge of science into sharp focus, provoking us to think about the cosmos and our place within it in new and thrilling ways.
"Paul Davies' Cosmic Jackpot is a truly mesmerizing book, no matter which you universe you may inhabit!" --Michio Kaku, prof. of theoretical physics, author of Hyperspace and Parallel Worlds
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