A Beautiful Question: Finding Nature’s Deep Design


Nobel prize winning physicist Frank Wilczek’s book “A Beautiful Question: Finding Nature’s Deep Design” is certainly worth reading although I think to be honest I was expecting too much of it.

I enjoyed the first few chapters a great deal but became rather bored and bogged down when the author hit his specialist subject – the atomic world and below.

I general terms I certainly get the gist of it and have done for some years. At heart, at the very small end of the scale everything is made of the same minute building blocks and the universe is incredibly simple, beautiful and symmetric.

Where I became a little bored was in the description of all the various sub atomic particles. Any layman is likely to have a very hard time indeed with the minutiae of the subject and may come away, like I did, wondering whether it is necessary to try and grasp every spin, gluon, quark and particle zoo specimen.

Perhaps for the layman a science book written by a philosopher may make more sense. I have read countless books on physics for the layman by authors from Stephen Hawking, Brian Greene, David Deutsch and on.

The Deutsch approach suits me far better. And in particular his book The Fabric of Reality which I have read several times.

To me at least broad brush concepts are what I am seeking not detailed explanations (even if in simplified terms) of subjects I will never managed to grasp in their entirety.

Deutsch is a physicist but with a wonderful way with philosophical concepts.  His life long ambition has been to know everything and he managed to convey his enthusiasm and knowledge of “everything” in a way which made intuitive sense to me.

I am glad I read Frank Wilczek’s book but it was more about “where every sparrow fell” in the sub atomic-world than a treatise which made me feel I had accomplished a broad grasp of reality.

Mea Culpa.

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