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Publisher's Summary

One of our great contemporary scientists reveals the 10 profound insights that illuminate what everyone should know about the physical world

In Fundamentals, Nobel laureate Frank Wilczek offers the listener a simple yet profound exploration of reality based on the deep revelations of modern science. With clarity and an infectious sense of joy, he guides us through the essential concepts that form our understanding of what the world is and how it works. Through this audiobook, we come to see our reality in a new way - bigger, fuller, and stranger than it looked before.

Synthesizing basic questions, facts, and dazzling speculations, Wilczek investigates the ideas that form our understanding of the universe: time, space, matter, energy, complexity, and complementarity. He excavates the history of fundamental science, exploring what we know and how we know it, while journeying to the horizons of the scientific world to give us a glimpse of what we may soon discover. Brilliant, lucid, and accessible, this celebration of human ingenuity and imagination will expand your world and your mind. 

This audiobook includes a PDF of tables from the book. 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio. 

©2021 Frank Wilczek (P)2021 Penguin Audio

What the critics say

"A gorgeous and inviting overview of the fundamental facts of physical reality.” (Steven Pinker, author of Enlightenment Now)

“This is an exuberant, gorgeously crafted, and intellectually thrilling book, written by one of our greatest living scientists yet hospitable to all. To be reminded that time and space, mystery and order, are so much stranger and more generous than we can comprehend - this is a gift to public life and moral imagination in a young century where what is visible and tangible feels chaotic and constricting. This book is also unexpectedly spiritually thrilling. Wilczek makes the remarkable move of picking up and evolving the classic scientists’ faith that their investigations would reveal the mind of our maker, as well as Einstein’s self-described ‘cosmic spiritual sensibility.’ What began as an exposition, as Wilzcek writes, ‘grew into a contemplation.’ The result is a profoundly enriched understanding, accessible to the religious and non-religious alike, of what it means to be human - and what we might be pointing at when we use the word God.” (Krista Tippett, host of On Being and author of Becoming Wise)  

"If you were to go back just two hundred years and tell people what we knew, from the origins of the universe to the molecular basis of life, and how weird and unintuitive nature is at the atomic scale, they would think we were crazy. But if you showed them what we have created with that knowledge, they would think we were magicians. In this engaging and highly accessible book, Frank Wilczek shows how the vast edifice that is modern science was constructed with only a few ingredients and assumptions, but depended crucially on a way of thinking—about the nature of evidence and how it applied to the world around us. Anyone interested in the underlying basis of the complexity of today’s science will enjoy this book.” (Venki Ramakrishnan, winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry and author of Gene Machine)    

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  • Lee Ward
  • 2021-01-13

Precious knowledge explained well

I love the content - beautiful. What's odd is the rising inflection in the middle of sentences, creating questions where none was intended. Listen to the full sample and you'll hear it in a few places, and believe me it gets a lot worse in the rest of the book where the content is scientific. Its effect is to cast a blanket of doubt on the author's math and science. But the author has great clarity and you'll appreciate that. Sure a lot went over my head, but I think I could grasp all of it if I knew how to cancel out the rising inflections also known as uptalk. The author describes space, time, energy and matter in a way that invites your own visualization techniques, and it's powerful.

3 people found this helpful