The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself
Over the last few hundred years an avalanche of discoveries have changed our world dramatically, having a profound effect on what we think really matters. Now, in his most ambitious book yet, Sean Carroll breaks down how the universe works at the quantum, cosmic and human levels to reveal how our everyday lives connect to the underlying laws of nature. A synthesis of cosmos-sprawling science and the most profound questions about life, death and our place in it all, The Big Picture is the ultimate guide to the scientific revolution that has taken us from Darwin and Einstein to the origins of life, consciousness and the universe. Carroll demonstrates that while our lives may forever be dwarfed by the immensity of the universe, they can be redeemed by our capacity to comprehend it and give it meaning.
'Language philosophy, quantum mechanics, general relativity - they're all in The Big Picture. Sean Carroll is a fantastically erudite and entertaining writer.' -- Elizabeth Kolbert, author of New York Times bestseller The Sixth Extinction 'Carroll beautifully articulates the world view suggested by contemporary naturalism. Thorny issues like free will, the direction of time, and the source of morality are clarified with elegance and insight... This is a book that should be read by everybody.' -- Carlo Rovelli, author of Seven Brief Lessons on Physics 'Weaving the threads of astronomy, physics, chemistry, biology, and philosphy into a seamless narrative tapestry, Sean Carroll enthralls us with what we've figured out in the universe and humbles us with what we don't yet understand. Yet in the end, it's the meaning of it all that feeds your soul of curiosity.' -- Neil deGrasse Tyson, host of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey 'Carroll's new book reveals how physicists' quest to better understand the fundamental laws of nature has led to astonishing insights into life, the universe, and everything.' -- Sabine Hossenfelder, Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies 'From the Big Bang to the meaning of human existence, The Big Picture is exactly that - a magisterial, yet deeply fascinating, grand tour through the issues that really matter. Blending science and philosophy, Sean Carroll gives us a humane perspective on the universe and our place in it. As gripping as it is important, The Big Picture can change the way you think about the world.' -- Neil Shubin, author of Your Inner Fish 'Instead of feeling humbled and insignificant when gazing upward on a clear starry night, Carroll takes us by the hand and shows us how fantastic the inanimate physical Universe is and how special each animate human can be. It is lucid, spirited, and penetrating.' -- Michael Gazzaniga, author of Who's in Charge? and Tales from Both Sides of the Brain 'In this timely exploration of the universe and its mysteries - both physical and metaphysical - Sean Carroll illuminates the world around us with clarity, beauty and, ultimately, with much needed wisdom.' -- Deborah Blum, director, Knight Science Journalism Program at MIT, author of The Poisoner's Handbook 'Sean Carroll is a leading theoretical cosmologist with the added ability to write about his subject with unusual clarity, flare, and wit.' -- Alan Lightman, author of The Accidental Universe and Einstein's Dreams 'Carroll is the perfect guide to this wondrous journey of discovery. A brilliantly lucid exposition of profoundphilosophical and scientific issues...' Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Sean Carroll is a theoretical physicist at the California Institute of Technology. In addition to the Royal Society Winton Prize, he as been awarded prizes and fellowships from the National Science Foundation, NASA, the American Physical Society and the American Institute of Physics. He lives in Los Angeles.