'His fierce and refreshing polemic does a fine job of helping readers understand some of the knottiest ideas in contemporary physics. This is all the more remarkable as he eschews analogies, arguing that they tend to confuse rather than illuminate the counterintuitive ideas and phenomena he describes' – Economist
Farewell to Reality
How Fairytale Physics Has Betrayed the Search for Scientific Truth
Stephen Hawking recently remarked, ‘There is no heaven; it’s a fairy story’. But might the same be said of modern theoretical physics?
Although we know a lot more about the nature of reality, there is a sense in which we understand less. So far there is no observational or experimental evidence for many of the ideas of modern theoretical physics such as super-symmetric particles, superstrings, the multiverse, the holographic principle or the anthropic cosmological principle. For some of the wilder speculations of theorists such as Hawking there can by definition never be any such evidence. This stuff is not only not true, it is not even science. It is fairytale physics: fantastical, bizarre and often outrageous – borderline confidence-trickery, even, claims Jim Baggott.
With Farewell to Reality, Baggott provides a much-needed antidote. Informed, comprehensive and balanced, the book offers lay readers an up-to-date summary of the latest thinking about the nature of physical reality while clearly distinguishing between fact and fantasy. With its engaging portraits of many central figures of modern physics, including Paul Davies, John Barrow, Brian Greene, Stephen Hawking, Leonard Susskind and other ‘high priests of fairytale physics’, it is essential reading for all readers interested in what we do and don’t know about the Universe – and in the future of science itself.