The Number of the Heavens: A History of the Multiverse and the Quest to Understand the Cosmos

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Product Details

Harvard University Press
Publish Date
5.7 X 8.3 X 1.1 inches | 1.2 pounds

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About the Author

Tom Siegfried is the former Editor-in-Chief of Science News. Before that he was the science editor of the Dallas Morning News. His previous books include The Bit and the Pendulum, Strange Matters, and A Beautiful Math. He has written for Nature, Science, Astronomy, New Scientist, and Smithsonian, and his work has been included in The Best American Science Writing. He has received a number of awards, including the Science Communication Award from the American Institute of Physics and the Robert C. Cowen Award from the American Geophysical Union.


The best new book on the Multiverse out this year.--Ethan Siegel"Forbes" (11/29/2019)
The Number of the Heavens is a thrilling history of our quest to grasp the whole of reality and determine our place within it. Whether there is one universe or many, Siegfried's masterful prose allows us all to delight in our species' passionate urge to look up and wonder.--Brian Greene, author of The Elegant Universe
While it is debatable how closer we might be to verifying the multiverse compared to Aristotle, a recounting of the history of this philosophical and scientific debate in the entertaining and often tongue-in-cheek tone of Siegfried is certainly fascinating.--Nature Astronomy (10/01/2019)
This 'multiverse, ' a hot topic of debate in physics today, is only the latest example of how scientists have expanded our horizons...This intriguing book examines that changing understanding of the universe, and of science as well.--Jeff Foust"Space Review" (10/14/2019)
You might think this book is only about the multiverse, but it's really about something bigger: how science has been done through the ages--and how our perspective changes along with our view of the cosmos.--Alan Boyle"GeekWire" (11/28/2019)
This clear and thoughtful work of popular science serves as a fascinating history of one of the most provocative concepts in modern physics, while also tracing its roots in ancient ideas and exploring its implications for this universe and others.--Publishers Weekly (starred review) (07/15/2019)
What sets this book by Siegfried apart from others is the quality of his writing, as well as the direct links he draws between contemporary and ancient views of the multiverse concept.--Library Journal (09/01/2019)
Starting with the ancient Greeks...chronicles how the concept of the multiverse has evolved as scientists' understanding of the universe has expanded.--Science News (12/12/2019)
Packed with surprising historical tidbits and witty asides, Siegfried tells the riveting tale of millennia-long efforts to define not merely the extent of existence, but also the nature of science itself.--K. C. Cole, author of The Universe and the Teacup: The Mathematics of Truth and Beauty
Prepare to enter the mysterious realm of the multiverse! The Number of the Heavens displays unusual depth across several fields of research, allowing scientists, historians, and the general public to experience firsthand a debate of great cosmological import.--Steven J. Dick, former NASA Chief Historian
Examining the positions of medieval thinkers and today's physicists alike, this book is a very thorough and timely study of the concept of the multiverse through the ages.--Marcelo Gleiser, author of The Simple Beauty of the Unexpected
Combining interviews of modern physicists and philosophers with a detailed historical narrative of ancient, medieval, and Renaissance interpretations of the word 'world, ' Siegfried's text fills an important gap in the expanding body of multiverse literature.--Brian Keating"Physics Today" (01/01/2020)