A renowned cosmologist argues that empowering scientific outsiders and taking risks on nontraditional ideas will result in transformative science.
“I hope to convince my readers that diversity in science is not simply a social justice concern, but that it enhances the quality of the science we accomplish.” So writes Brown University physics professor Alexander, the 2020 president of the National Society of Black Physicists as well as an electronic musician, at the beginning of this captivating scientific journey. He points out that deviance often results in innovation, and women and minorities often innovate more, leading to a logical conclusion: “Perhaps it is time to value and elevate minorities, thus enabling them to make major contributions, not in spite of their outsider’s perspective, but because of it.” The author’s own contributions include unraveling the mysteries of the early universe and advancing ideas relating to quantum gravity, and he deftly explains these and more in accessible and often personal prose. But it’s Alexander’s enthusiasm for seriously exploring theories on the frontier of physics that makes this more exciting than most similar books: Are life and the universe truly decoupled? Did the wave function of the universe undergo self-observation at its realization, and was this a form of cosmic proto-consciousness? The author draws on research from a variety of disciplines—physics, cosmology, biology, philosophy—to bolster his compelling arguments. As he shows, the current models of our universe—and the theories scientists use to construct them—may be called into question, requiring creative, interdisciplinary thinking to resolve. This beautiful and surprising book will leave readers wanting to learn more about the author and his mind-bending ideas, and it makes a perfect complement to Chanda Prescod-Weinstein’s recent book, The Disordered Cosmos.
Lush with ideas and bold in its analysis of the status quo, this book reorients our view of science and the universe.