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MIT Press
16 November 2017
Astronomical charts & atlases; Astrophysics; Cryogenics
Series: The MIT Press
A series of conversations about science in graphic form, on subjects that range from the science of cooking to the multiverse.

Physicist Clifford Johnson thinks that we should have more conversations about science. Science should be on our daily conversation menu, along with topics like politics, books, sports, or the latest prestige cable drama. Conversations about science, he tells us, shouldn't be left to the experts. In The Dialogues, Johnson invites us to eavesdrop on a series of nine conversations, in graphic-novel form-written and drawn by Johnson-about the nature of the universe. The conversations take place all over the world, in museums, on trains, in restaurants, in what may or may not be Freud's favorite coffeehouse. The conversationalists are men, women, children, experts, and amateur science buffs. The topics of their conversations range from the science of cooking to the multiverse and string theory. The graphic form is especially suited for physics; one drawing can show what it would take many words to explain. In the first conversation, a couple meets at a costume party; they speculate about a scientist with superhero powers who doesn't use them to fight crime but to do more science, and they discuss what it means to have a beautiful equation in science. Their conversation spills into another chapter ( Hold on, you haven't told me about light yet ), and in a third chapter they exchange phone numbers. Another couple meets on a train and discusses immortality, time, black holes, and religion. A brother and sister experiment with a grain of rice. Two women sit in a sunny courtyard and discuss the multiverse, quantum gravity, and the anthropic principle. After reading these conversations, we are ready to start our own.
By:   Clifford V. Johnson (Professor of Physics University of Southern California)
Foreword by:   Frank Wilczek (Herman Feshbach Professor of Physics Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Frank Wilczek
Imprint:   MIT Press
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 260mm,  Width: 210mm,  Spine: 24mm
ISBN:   9780262037235
ISBN 10:   0262037238
Series:   The MIT Press
Pages:   246
Publication Date:   16 November 2017
Recommended Age:   From 18 years
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Clifford V. Johnson, Professor of Physics at the University of Southern California, gives many public lectures about his research and appears often in television documentaries as an expert. He has been science advisor for several movies and television series, including Marvel's Thor- Ragnarok and the National Geographic Channel's Genius. He received the American Association of Physics Teachers 2018 Klopsteg Memorial Award foroutstandingcommunication of the excitement of contemporary physics to the general public.

Reviews for The Dialogues: Conversations about the Nature of the Universe

Readers of The Dialogues will likely appreciate Johnson's unique approach to starting a conversation about physics with a broader audience, and they'll admire his passion for the subject matter. -Physics Today * Reviews * ...does a fantastic job of explaining complex concepts in a way that's not only easy to understand but also pleasant to follow. But what really sets it apart is the sheer quality of the writing. He effortlessly blends the natural, down-to-earth curiosity within us all with a patient knowledge that comes with decades of study. -ZME Science * Reviews * There are a great many unsubtle ways to address diversity as an issue of social justice, from polemic proclamations to crude finger-pointing to passive complaint. All of them are, in my view, invariably inferior to what is perhaps the only effective approach: Simply enacting, without fuss and fanfare, a juster alternative. That is what Johnson - a black Englishman himself - accomplishes by populating his panels with characters of varied races, genders, and nationalities, who interpolate between the roles of explainer and explainee without any dominant pattern of authority. -Brainpickings * Reviews * Johnson explicity rejects the notion that some science is for uniquely talented abstract thinkers, arguing that the questions that theoretical physicists explore are not too complicated for the rest of us, and are relevant to all. And he proves it in his book: His characters are adults and kids who ponder how rice grains appear to multiply when cooked and how to calculate the number of jelly beans in a jar, and discuss the notion of a unified theory of everything and the meaning of life and death. -Quartz * Reviews * The Dialogues illustrates how science can be a topic of everyday conversation for anyone. -CBC * Reviews * Johnson's new book... is a penetrating exploration of questions - that are both ancient and modern - about the nature of the universe. I found The Dialogues to be compelling, and the use of the graphic novel format only deepened that impression. -Adam Frank, NPR * Reviews * There is nothing new under the sun. And Johnson has merely revived an old method of presenting scientific ideas. As Nobel prizewinner Frank Wilczek points out in the foreword, scientists - most notably Galileo - presented their ideas in dialogue between debating characters on which readers could eavesdrop. And, given the chance, I bet that many of us would love the chance to quiz an Einstein down the pub. Since that is rarely, if at all, possible, The Dialogues is the next best thing. -Times Higher Education * Reviews * The author shows himself to be a highly talented graphic artist as well as being a distinguished theoretician. -The Spectator * Reviews *

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