One, Two, Three ... Infinity: Facts & Speculations of Science

By George Gamow | Go to book overview

"The time has come," the Walrus said, "To talk of many things". . .

LEWIS CARROLL, Through the Looking-Glass


Preface

. . . of atoms, stars, and nebulae, of entropy and genes; and whether one can bend space, and why the rocket shrinks. And indeed, in the course of this book we are going to discuss all these topics, and also many others of equal interest.

The book originated as an attempt to collect the most interesting facts and theories of modern science in such a way as to give the reader a general picture of the universe in its microscopic and macroscopic manifestations, as it presents itself to the eye of the scientist of today. In carrying out this broad plan, I have made no attempt to tell the whole story, knowing that any such attempt would inevitably result in an encyclopedia of many volumes. At the same time the subjects to be discussed have been selected so as to survey briefly the entire field of basic scientific knowledge, leaving no corner untouched.

Selection of subjects according to their importance and degree of interest, rather than according to their simplicity, necessarily has resulted in a certain unevenness of presentation. Some chapters of the book are simple enough to be understood by a child, whereas others will require some little concentration and study to be completely understood. It is hoped, however, that the layman reader will not encounter too serious difficulties in reading the book.

It will be noticed that the last part of the book, which discusses the "Macrocosmos," is considerably shorter than the part on "Microcosmos." This is primarily because I have already discussed in detail so many problems pertaining to the macrocosmos in The Birth and Death of the Sun, and Biography of the Earth,1 and further detailed discussion here would be a tedious repeti-

____________________
1
The Viking Press, New York, 1940 and 1941, respectively.

-v-

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One, Two, Three ... Infinity: Facts & Speculations of Science
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Other Books by George Gamow ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations viii
  • Part I - Playing with Numbers 1
  • Chapter I - Big Numbers 3
  • Chapter II - Natural and Artificial Numbers 24
  • Part II - Space, Time: & Einstein 39
  • Chapter III - Unusual Properties of Space 41
  • Chapter IV - The World of Four Dimensions 64
  • Chapter V - Relativity of Space and Time 84
  • Part III - Microcosmos 113
  • Chapter VI - Descending Staircase 115
  • Chapter VII - Modern Alchemy 149
  • Chapter VIII - The Law of Disorder 192
  • Chapter IX - The Riddle of Life 231
  • Part IV - Macrocosmos 267
  • Chapter X - Expanding Horizons 269
  • Chapter XI - The Days of Creation 298
  • Index 336
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