Nothing: A Very Short Introduction

Paperback | July 15, 2009

byFrank Close

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What is 'nothing'? What remains when you take all the matter away? Can empty space - a void - exist? This Very Short Introduction explores the science and the history of the elusive void: from Aristotle who insisted that the vacuum was impossible, via the theories of Newton and Einstein, toour very latest discoveries and why they can tell us extraordinary things about the cosmos. Frank Close tells the story of how scientists have explored the elusive void, and the rich discoveries that they have made there. He takes the reader on a lively and accessible history through ancient ideas and cultural superstitions to the frontiers of current research. He describes how scientistsdiscovered that the vacuum is filled with fields; how Newton, Mach, and Einstein grappled with the nature of space and time; and how the mysterious 'aether' that was long ago supposed to permeate the void may now be making a comeback with the latest research into the 'Higgs field'. We now know that the vacuum is far from being empty - it seethes with virtual particles and antiparticles that erupt spontaneously into being, and it also may contain hidden dimensions that we were previously unaware of. These new discoveries may provide answers to some of cosmology's mostfundamental questions: what lies outside the universe, and, if there was once nothing, then how did the universe begin? Nothing: A Very Short Introduction was first published in hardback as The Void.

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What is 'nothing'? What remains when you take all the matter away? Can empty space - a void - exist? This Very Short Introduction explores the science and the history of the elusive void: from Aristotle who insisted that the vacuum was impossible, via the theories of Newton and Einstein, toour very latest discoveries and why they can t...

Frank Close, OBE, is Professor of Physics at Oxford University and a Fellow of Exeter College. He was formerly vice president of the British Association for Advancement of Science, Head of the Theoretical Physics Division at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, and Head of Communications and Public Education at CERN. He is the author o...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:144 pages, 6.85 × 4.37 × 0.02 inPublished:July 15, 2009Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199225869

ISBN - 13:9780199225866

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Table of Contents

1. Much Ado About Nothing2. How Empty is an Atom?3. Space4. Waves in What?5. Travelling on a Light Beam6. The Cost of Free Space7. The Infinite Sea8. The Higgs Vacuum9. The New VoidNotesBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

`A fascinating subject covered by a fascinating book.'Marcus Chown, Focus