Reflections on the Mass of the World
How goes the world, Sir, now? asks one of Shakespeare's characters in Macbeth. This question is one that physicists do not cease posing. More precisely, they ask: How is the world? What reality does it offer us? And how can we get to it? In this book, presented in the form of a dialogue, the writer Jean-Claude Carrière and the physicist Thibault Damour guide the amazed and sometimes dumbfounded reader through the least-known and most exciting mysteries of Matter the substance that we are all made of, but that we now know is far from being the only type of matter in the universe. Physicists are now faced with the disturbing certainty that the reality of the world is multiple. We do not exist in a single story, with a middle and an ending. Instead, we live in a multitude of superimposed stories although we see only our own because our perception is limited by the narrow beam of light in which we exist. This clear, precise and highly readable book shows that pure science can be explained in accessible language, and that it can transport the readers imagination further than any work of fiction.
Thibault Damour is a physicist, a tenured professor at the Institut des hautes études scientifiques and a member of the French Academy of Science.
Jean-Claude Carrière is a writer, playwright and screenwriter.