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The Primacy of Doubt

From climate change to quantum physics, how the science of uncertainty can help predict and understand our chaotic world

Tim Palmer author


Publisher:Oxford University Press

Published:18th Oct '22

Should be back in stock very soon

This hardback is available in another edition too:

The Primacy of Doubt cover

A bold, visionary, and mind-bending exploration of how the geometry of chaos can explain our uncertain world - from weather and pandemics to quantum physics and free will Covering a breathtaking range of topics - from climate change to the foundations of quantum physics, from economic modelling to conflict prediction, from free will to consciousness and spirituality - The Primacy of Doubt takes us on a unique journey through the science of uncertainty. A key theme that unifies these seemingly unconnected topics is the geometry of chaos: the beautiful and profound fractal structures that lie at the heart of much of modern mathematics. Royal Society Research Professor Tim Palmer shows us how the geometry of chaos not only provides the means to predict the world around us, it suggests new insights into some of the most astonishing aspects of our universe and ourselves. This important and timely book helps the reader makes sense of uncertainty in a rapidly changing world.

important book * Andrew Robinson, Nature *
The Primacy of Doubt also contains very informative explanations as to the application of chaos theory in climate and meteorological models, and why meteorologists failed to predict southern Britain's 1987 hurricane. To my mind this were probably the book's strongest areas and are 'must reads' for those with an interest in climate forecasting. * Jonathan Cowie, SF2 Concatenation *
Quite possibly the best popular science book I've ever read... The Primacy of Doubt is like getting off one of those exciting roller coaster rides, when your immediate inclination is to think 'I want to do that again, but I'll have a bit of a break first.' I will be reading this book again, without doubt. Remarkable. * Brian Clegg, Popular Science *
delightful and substantive * William Hooke, Living on the Real World *
The Primacy of Doubt provides a remarkably broad-ranging account of uncertainty in physics, in all its various aspects. I strongly recommend this highly thought-provoking book. * Roger Penrose, OM, FRS, winner of the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics *
Tim Palmer is a scientific polymath. It's hard to think of anyone else who could have written so authoritatively—and so accessibly—on themes extending from quantum gravity to climate modelling. This fascinating and important book offers some profoundly original speculations on conceptual linkages across different sciences. * Lord Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal of the United Kingdom *
The Primacy of Doubt is an important book by one of the pioneers of dynamical weather prediction, indispensable for daily life. * Suki Manabe, winner of the 2021 Nobel Prize in Physics *
In a whirlwind of a book that's partly scientific autobiography and partly the manifest of a visionary, Tim Palmer masterfillly weaves together climate change and quantum mechanics into one coherent whole. Using uncertainty as a unifring principle, Palmer puts forward new perspectives on old problems. A revolutionary thinker way ahead of his time. * Sabine Hossenfelder, author of Lost in Math *
An exploration of the amorphous concept of uncertainty... [an] informative, ingenious book. * Kirkus Reviews *
Physicist Palmer delivers a challenging but rewarding look at how uncertainty helps scientists make sense of the world... Despite the complexity of his arguments, the author succeeds at bringing complicated theories within reach of those who have a basic familiarity with physics. Science-minded readers, take note. * Publishers Weekly *
Provocative... useful for scientists and non-scientists alike * Jessica Flack, Physics World *

ISBN: 9780192843593

Dimensions: 240mm x 160mm x 29mm

Weight: 528g

320 pages