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Alice and Bob Meet the Wall of Fire: The Biggest Ideas in Science from Quanta

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  159 ratings  ·  24 reviews
Accessible and essential coverage of today's challenging, speculative, cutting-edge science from Quanta Magazine.

These stories reveal the latest efforts to untangle the mysteries of the universe. Bringing together the best and most interesting science stories appearing in Quanta Magazine over the past five years, Alice and Bob Meet the Wall of Fire reports on some of the g
Paperback, 328 pages
Published November 20th 2018 by MIT Press
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Brian Clegg
Feb 13, 2019 rated it liked it
This book contains a considerable amount of good (and interesting) science - but, for me, it's not a good science book. A book should have structure and flow, leading the reader through its narrative. This is a collection of articles (from the website Quanta). As a result, what we've got here is a magazine in book's clothing. And at that it's not a very good magazine.

What do we look for in a science magazine? Good illustrations, for one. Even a top-level science magazine such as Nature has plent
This book was too dense for audio, so I'll have to track down a print version at some point. The material is fascinating.
R Nair
Sep 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Don't let the title fool you. This is a serious, well-written book expounding some of the most fascinating ideas being thrown around in modern science at the moment. And that makes it worth going through even if you don't grasp or agree with every single topic of discussion mentioned herein.
Allen Cobb
Jun 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent, but too short

These essays are great, but as a book, the material is somewhat sparse. I'm sure Quanta has much more on these topics.
May 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Quanta Magazine and the Simons Institute are organizations that bring me a lot of enrichment, far more than any other two media organizations that I interact with regularly. This book is a collection of articles from Quanta Magazine, which is funded by the Simons Institute.

Quanta's articles can be put in two categories, the sciences that have to do with mathematics and everything else. This book falls under the everything else category. The articles are less about education, which can only trul
Jan 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
Great way to stay updated

I am an armchair,wannabe scientist. I found this book/series of articles to be a good update on the current research and thought. The book was broken down well and very well organized. For the most part the writing and language was very approachable. I would recommend this to anyone with interest in the roads that scientific development is traveling.
Nov 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
When I was twelve I wanted to be an astrophysicist. I read everything I could on the subject, and my librarian, Mrs. Darcy, even made an exception to library policy to let me check out the physics and astronomy volumes of the Popular Science Encyclopedia. To my knowledge, I remain the only student ever allowed to check out reference materials. On the other hand, I'm not sure any other students ever tried. I was an unabashed nerd.

Fast forward twenty years, and, spoiler, I did not become an astrop
Viraj Sabane
Feb 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book falls under a unique area where a science content is not compromised but it is appealing to a curious person. I'll admit some time or a lot of time I did not understand terms, details or puns but it did not stop me from appreciating the beauty of the content. Science people will have a greater appreciation for it but I believe everyone should read it. You should gift this book right and left.
Apr 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Relative Reality Breaksdown

At the extreme edge of science lies the untestable, like string theory or the multiverse. Are these scientific principles? This is just one of the many questions tackled in this book. An anthology of the latest work in science; from the delightful to the disturbing, it's all delightful.
Jul 29, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: ebook, scribd
Carmelo Valone
Aug 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Just an amazing collection of well....the best science magazine out there...
Jun 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
The science magazines I subscribe to are Quanta and Scientific American. Of those two, Quanta most consistently focuses on theoretical developments in hard sciences (esp. physics). It also covers mathematics far better than SciAm. So I was excited when this Quanta anthology came out.

This book is a collection of the most ground-breaking and thought-provoking articles published in Quanta magazine from 2013 to 2018. Topics range from quantum physics to molecular biology to artificial intelligence.
Arnab Chakrabarty
Nov 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wonderfully presented for the general public with interest in science. Even though did not grasp everything and some places it takes time to digest, it is a delight to listen/read the book.
Nov 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely wonderful book for those curious about what’s going on in physics and other sciences these days. The book is edited wonderfully, presenting ideas that raise questions, only to delve deeper and answer them in the following article or segway into the next section.

Thoroughly enjoyable and insightful. I would recommended to anyone who has high school understanding of science and is open to learning more!
Vance J.
Jan 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
I am a regular reader of Quanta, and I appreciated this compilation of recent and relevant articles on scientific developments. Well, except the machine learning sections, but that’s only because I consider that more technology than natural science. For those that don’t read Quanta, I recommend that you do :)
Jun 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
This a great collection of journal articles that explain recent studies in physics, machine learning, and biology. If you what to know what's happened in science in recent years and would be glad to read intuitive and approachable explanations then this is the book you are looking for. Here are my notes for some parts of the book:

The chapter about the origins of our world and quantum mechanics

This is an interesting collection of articles about cutting-edge physics from Quanta magazine. The best
Ray Savarda
Nov 02, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-and-sold
Physics, Quantum Physics, Time, Biology, Learning / AI; a bunch of short articles from the Quanta Magazine.
Most were a little light on details, these were not deep dives into narrow subjects, but more overviews of items on the leading edge. I was hoping for more details.
Either prepared for recreational science aficionados, or more likely written by grad students working on science-journalism degrees?
Good but not great.
Jul 18, 2019 rated it liked it
I’m sure that this book, for physicists, is exciting. I admit, also, that I found it interesting in many instances — but had some difficulty seeing practical uses for the theory. I’m sure that a physicist could tell me all sorts of applications, but the book did not. It was fun to read nonetheless and the individual articles are short.
Yassine Alouini
Sep 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The best physics (and science more generally) outreach book I have read over the last years.
The only drawback is the small amount of illustrations (which are plenty in the magazine edition).
Waiting for the second edition when it comes. ;)
Oct 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a collection of articles from the online science magazine "Quanta." Science journalism at its very best. A must read.
Jun 30, 2020 rated it it was ok
It was my own fault for picking up this book thinking it would be a good book to read. Still, this book deserves a 2.
May 25, 2020 rated it liked it
A bit of everything from the vast span of fields of modern science.
Tim Dugan
Nov 11, 2019 rated it liked it
I understood some
Missed a lot
Feb 09, 2019 rated it liked it
The biology and AI sections are ok, but the physics section sucks, since it doesn't mention many theories and theorists by name, which makes further researching difficult.
rated it it was amazing
Apr 23, 2020
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Oct 16, 2019
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Dec 20, 2019
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Thomas Lin is the founding editor-in-chief of Quanta Magazine, an award-winning publication that reports on developments in science and mathematics, with content syndicated in Wired, The Atlantic, Scientific American and The Washington Post. Lin previously worked at The New York Times, where he edited online features and wrote about science, technology and tennis. He has also written for Quanta, T ...more

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