The review of "FUNDAMENTALS" will go live on our site on Sept. 17th, 2020. The review will also be published in the Oct. 1st edition of Kirkus Reviews. In some cases, a review may be held until the following edition. Please understand that some minor changes may be made before the review is published on the website; check there for final language.
FUNDAMENTALS [STARRED REVIEW!] Ten Keys to Reality Author: Frank Wilczek Review Issue Date: October 1, 2020 Online Publish Date: September 17, 2020 Publisher:Penguin Press Pages: 272 Price ( Hardcover ): $26.00 Publication Date: January 12, 2021 ISBN ( Hardcover ): 978-0-7352-2379-0 Section: NonFiction
The Nobel laureate digs back in to the fundamentals of modern physics, which not only provide a basic structure for how the universe works, but also suggest how humanity fits into the frame.
In his fifth book on the nature of physical reality, MIT physics professor Wilczek delivers a breathtaking feat of popularization, especially in the “simplified” way he presents and dissects 10 fundamental principles in fields of study ranging from cosmology to quantum mechanics. He is rigorous in distinguishing fact from speculation and science from pseudo-science, and he is comprehensive (given the limitations of his condensed approach) in describing the nature of the observations and experiments that establish those facts. The author makes some informed guesses about the future of research and discovery, and he offers a detailed appendix that expands on some of the principles discussed in the main text. While the book will be most accessible to readers with some familiarity with the science, Wilczek is a cogent writer with the ability to lend clarity to many complex, esoteric principles and theories. To be sure, the narrative is a mind-bender of the first order—in the best way possible—but what makes it so engrossing is that the author does far more than just present the facts and speculations, however fascinating; on every page, readers will glean his exhilaration and joy in discovery. Although Wilczek does not consider the troublesome role hubris has played in the history of science, and some of his enthusiasms for “exploitation” (genetic engineering, artificial intelligence, etc.) don’t always address the risks of incautious development, he is a voice of reason above all—not least on human potential and responsibility and the critical divide between physical reality and the delusions of religious fundamentalism.
Another winner from Wilczek, who invites us to be born again into a richer, deeper understanding of the world.