Impossibility : The Limits of Science and the Science of Limits

3.97 (245 ratings by Goodreads)
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In Impossibility, John D. Barrow--one of our most elegant and accomplished science writers--argues convincingly that there are limits to human discovery, that there are things that are ultimately unknowable, undoable, or unreachable. Barrow first examines the limits of the human mind: our brain evolved to meet the demands of our immediate environment, and much that lies outside this small circle may also lie outside our understanding. He investigates practical impossibilities, such as those imposed by complexity, uncomputability, or the finiteness of time, space, and resources. Is the universe finite or infinite? Can information be transmitted faster than the speed of light? The book also examines deeper theoretical restrictions on our ability to know, including Godel's theorem, which proved that there were things that could not be proved. Finally, having explored the limits imposed on us from without, Barrow considers whether there are limits we should impose upon ourselves. Weaving together this intriguing tapestry, Barrow illuminates some of the most profound questions of science, from the possibility of time travel to the very structure of the more

Product details

  • Paperback | 304 pages
  • 136.7 x 202.9 x 15.2mm | 298.59g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 62ill.
  • 0195130820
  • 9780195130829
  • 2,020,764

Review quote

"[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."--Michio Kaku, New Scientistshow more

About John D. Barrow

John Barrow is Professor of Astronomy at the University of Sussex. Among his many popular books on science are Pi in the Sky, Theories of Everything, and The Origin of the Universe. He lives in Sussex, more

Rating details

245 ratings
3.97 out of 5 stars
5 31% (77)
4 40% (98)
3 24% (59)
2 3% (8)
1 1% (3)
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