Information: The New Language of Science
Today we live in the information age. Wherever we look it surrounds us, and, with the help of ever more efficient devices from the internet through ... Show synopsis Today we live in the information age. Wherever we look it surrounds us, and, with the help of ever more efficient devices from the internet through to mobile phones, we are producing, exchanging and harnessing more than ever before. But information does far more than define our modern age - at a fundamental it defines the material world itself, for it is through its mediating role that we gain all of our knowledge, and everything derives its function, existence and meaning from it. In twenty-five short chapters, von Baeyer takes us from the birth of the concept of information and its basic language, the bit - which encodes it in zeroes or ones like the heads or tails result of a coin toss - through to the coal-face of contemporary physics and beyond in quantum mechanics, quantum computing and qubits - the quantum equivalent of the bit, where information is encoded in the form of zeroes and ones, as if a tossed coin came up heads and tails at once. Along the way, he illuminates such diverse issues as Morse code; gaming theory and probability; genetics and heredity; Einstein and general relativity; black holes; randomness; abstraction; the impossibility of true objectivity and the role of philosophy in modern physics - deftly unpicking the many strands that knit information so tightly into the fabric of the universe, and explaining why it has the power to become the most fundamental concept in physics. This is a snappily written and utterly absorbing work, which, with its deceptively simple presentation, gives an incredible insight into a new language of science and a new way of understanding.