A Tear at the Edge of Creation: A Radical New Vision for Life in an Imperfect Universe (Paperback)

A Radical New Vision for Life in an Imperfect Universe

By Marcelo Gleiser

Dartmouth, 9781611683974, 312pp.

Publication Date: August 6, 2013



The search for universal truth, the underlying "oneness" connecting all things, has been the abiding obsession of philosophers and alchemists, prophets and string theorists. We would cross a bridge from Occam's razor to quantum theory on a path of symmetry and elegance toward a grand, unifying Theory of Everything--a place, just over the horizon, where the physical laws governing very large bodies (Einstein's theory of relativity) and those governing tiny ones (quantum mechanics) unite in a single, orderly framework. Yet somehow, despite the strivings of some of history's best minds, it turns out that the universe is probably not elegant. It is most likely gloriously messy. In A Tear at the Edge of Creation, the award-winning physicist Marcelo Gleiser argues that the quest for a Theory of Everything is fundamentally misguided: imbalance, asymmetry, and imperfection--not order--are the engines of creation. In this lucid, down-to-earth narrative, which has been translated into twelve languages, Gleiser walks us through the basic and cutting-edge science that fueled his own transformation from unifier to doubter: a fascinating scientific quest that leads him--and us--to a new understanding of what it is to be human.

About the Author

MARCELO GLEISER is a theoretical physicist and Appleton Professor of Natural Philosophy at Dartmouth College. He is a Fellow and General Councillor of the American Physical Society, author of The Dancing Universe and The Prophet and the Astronomer, and co-founder of and regular contributor to a blog on science and culture hosted by NPR, 13.7.