Research Fellow at Wolfson College, University of Oxford
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The Science of Can and Can’t
A Physicist’s Journey Through the Land of Counterfactuals
A luminous guide to how the radical new science of counterfactuals can reveal the full scope of our universe
There is a vast class of properties, which science has so far neglected, that relate not only to what is true - the actual - but to what could be true: the counterfactual.
This is the science of can and can't.
A pioneer in the field, Chiara Marletto explores the extraordinary promise that this revolutionary approach holds for confronting existing technological challenges, from delivering next-generation processors to designing AI. But by contemplating the possible as well as the actual, Marletto goes deeper still, showing how counterfactuals can break down barriers to knowledge and form a more complete, abundant and rewarding picture of the universe itself.
Chiara Marletto is trying to build a master theory - a set of ideas so fundamental that all other theories would spring from it. Her first step: Invoke the impossible.
[A] lyrical yet complex debut . . . References to Greek mythology, Shakespeare, chess, and Legos add life to her survey . . . Marletto's love of physics shines through . . . Those with an interest in physics will appreciate her passion and her provocative approach.
Chiara Marletto writes well about deep issues. I particularly like her suggestion that the current impasse in attempts to unite gravity and quantum mechanics might be broken if we concentrate on what things the two theories tell us can and can't be done
Julian Barbour, author of The Janus Point
Hugely ambitious, Chiara Marletto is the herald for a revolutionary new direction for physics. This book is essential reading for anyone concerned with the future of physics
Professor Lee Smolin, author of Time Reborn
A revolutionary recasting of physics... [It] re-enchants the world and enriches our place in it.
I enjoyed this book very much, not least because of the freshness of its approach to a subject that can easily become hard for the non-scientific mind to grasp.
Clear, sharp and imaginative... The Science of Can and Can't will open the doors to a dazzling set of concepts and ideas that will change deeply the way you look at the world
David Deutsch, author of The Beginning of Infinity
Chiara Marletto is a Research Fellow at Wolfson College, University of Oxford. She holds degrees from the universities of Oxford and Turin.
Her main research focus is in theoretical physics, and she also pursues interests in theoretical biology, epistemology, and Italian literature.
The Science of Can and Can't is her first trade book.