Fear of a Black Universe: An Outsider’s Guide to the Future of Physics

Basic. Sept. 2021. 256p. ISBN 9781541699632. $28. SCI
Dark matter remains a mystery to physicists, but scientists regardless make assumptions based on known physics, rather than accepting the unknown or a deviation from the known. Theoretical physicist Alexander (Brown Univ.; The Jazz of Physics) proposes that this attitude is the field’s major flaw, which keeps it from accepting ideas from outsiders and makes scientists play it safe. His book promises to be frank and sometimes controversial: he encourages creativity in theoretical physics and challenges the idea that science is purely mathematical. He aims to inspire readers who feel unwelcome in scientific communities (drawing on his own experience as a Black man in STEM) and prove to academe that diversity is better for everyone and every field. In engaging and accessible writing, Alexander explains how physics is inflected by non-science disciplines, including art, philosophy, sociology, and psychology. He also looks at the past, present, and future of physics in relation to theory (the principle of invariance of light, the quantum superposition principle, the principle of emergence).
VERDICT An interesting and thorough collection of thought experiments for physicists, cosmologists, and aspiring scientists who want to think outside the box. The book will especially appeal to readers of popular science.
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