The End of Discovery: Are we approaching the boundaries of the knowable?

Paperback | April 24, 2012

byRussell Stannard

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It is generally thought that science, by its very nature, must always progress. But this is not so. One day, fundamental science will come to an end. Not when we have discovered everything, but when we have discovered whatever is open to us to understand - which is not the same thing. Limitations as to what the human brain can comprehend, together with practical considerations to do with the need for ever more elaborate and expensive equipment, are likely to ensure that our knowledge will remain for ever incomplete. A further indication that the world will ultimately retain someof its mystery is suggested by evidence that in certain directions, scientific enquiry might already have come up against the boundaries of the knowable. Author and broadcaster Russell Stannard, himself a high-energy physicist and former Head of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the Open University, introduces the general reader to the deepest questions facing us today - questions to do with consciousness, free will, the nature of space,time, and matter, the existence of extraterrestrial life, and why there should be a world at all. In doing so, he speculates as to whether some of these questions will never be answered.

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It is generally thought that science, by its very nature, must always progress. But this is not so. One day, fundamental science will come to an end. Not when we have discovered everything, but when we have discovered whatever is open to us to understand - which is not the same thing. Limitations as to what the human brain can comprehe...

Russell Stannard is Emeritus Professor of Physics at the Open University where for 21 years he headed the Department of Physics and Astronomy. A high energy nuclear physicist, he has carried out research at CERN in Geneva and at other laboratories in USA and Europe. Among his awards he has the OBE, he received the Bragg Medal from the...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:240 pagesPublished:April 24, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019964571X

ISBN - 13:9780199645718

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. Brain and consciousness2. Creation of the cosmos3. The laws of nature4. The anthropic principle5. The size of the cosmos6. Extraterrestrial life7. The nature of space8. Space in relation to time9. The nature of time10. High energy physics11. The quantum world12. Quantum gravity and string theory13. Concluding remarks

Editorial Reviews

"Stannard takes readers on a tour of some of the deepest questions facing science." --The Independent