Looks at the changing concept of the laws of nature, discusses their connection with mathematics, and examines the philosophical questions raised by physics
Until recently "popular science" has produced neither rigorously scientific works nor especially popular ones. Only in the last three or four years have scientists begun to realize the field's full potential with books aimed at the intelligent non-scientist presenting more challenging subjects previously reserved for scholars. Still, none of these studies fully addresses the question of whether laws of Nature really exist and are just waiting to be discovered; or how the notion of laws of Nature arose and how they can be so well described by mathematics; or even how our own existence limits what we can learn about the Universe. John D. Barrow, renowned scientist and philosopher of science, fills the gap by responding to these and myriad other questions in this remarkably wide-ranging interdisciplinary study of the evolving concept of laws of Nature. Tackling the philosophical and theological problems raised by modern physics and mathematics, he goes well beyond the familiar ground of relativity and quantum theory. From the magical notions of primitive cultures to the latest ideas about chaos, black holes, inflation, and superstrings, he traces the gradual development of our understanding of what laws of Nature mean and how we have come to know them. Written in a serious but non-technical style, The World Within the World will fascinate scientists, philosophers, and general readers alike.