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Impossibility
About the book
  • Published: 7 May 1999
  • ISBN: 9780099772118
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 304
  • RRP: $24.99
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Impossibility

The Limits of Science and the Science of Limits


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'If you are fascinated by the limits of knowledge, you will be richly rewarded by this book' New Scientist

What can we never do? Barrow looks at what limits there might be to human discovery, and what we might find, ultimately, to be unknowable, undoable, or unthinkable. Science is a big success story, but where will it end? And, indeed, will it end? Weaving together a tapestry of surprises, Barrow explores the frontiers of knowledge. We find that the notion of 'impossibility' has played a striking role in our thinking. Surrealism, impossible figures, time travel, paradoxes of logic and perspectives - all stimulate us to contemplate something more than what is. Using simple explanations, it shows the reader that impossibility is a deep and powerful notion; that any Universe complex enough to contain conscious beings will contain limits on what those beings can know about their Universe; that what we cannot know defines reality as surely as what we can know.

  • Pub date: 7 May 1999
  • ISBN: 9780099772118
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 304
  • RRP: $24.99

About the Author

John D. Barrow

John D. Barrow is Professor of Mathematical Sciences and Director of the Millennium Mathematics Project at Cambridge University, Fellow of Clare Hall, Cambridge, a Fellow of the Royal Society, and formerly Professor of both Geometry and Astronomy at Gresham College, London. His previous books include The Book of Nothing, The Constants of Nature, The Infinite Book, Cosmic Imagery, the bestselling 100 Essential Things You Didn't Know You Didn't Know, The Book of Universes, and, most recently, 100 Essential Things You Didn't Know You Didn't Know About Sport.

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Praise for Impossibility

“Barrow conducts a tour of many of the most interesting topics in recent popular science, giving most of them a new twist in the telling... Trying to improve our understanding of just what is possible, and what is not, seems a vital part of the enterprise our kind of consciousness has called science”

Financial Times

“[An] illuminating, well-written account... One can only wonder how Barrow can possibly make all these [concepts] fit together into a coherent story about the limits to science. Well, contrary to all expectations, he does make them fit, and in only 250 pages! So for about as good an account as youre going to get of where science stops, read this book”

Nature

“Delightful and fascinating... Impossibility is a thoughtful, careful, and insightful book that is presented in a skillfully woven narrative, guiding the reader gently through the thicket of logic, physics, and mathematics... If you are fascinated by the limits of knowledge, you will be richly rewarded by this book”

New Scientist


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