About this item

A few million years ago, our ancestors came down from the trees and began to stand upright, freeing our hands to create tools and our minds to grapple with the world around us. Leonard Mlodinow takes us on a passionate and inspiring tour through the exciting history of human progress and the key events in the development of science. In the process, he presents a fascinating new look at the unique characteristics of our species and our society that helped propel us from stone tools to written language and through the birth of chemistry, biology, and modern physics to today's technological world. Along the way he explores the cultural conditions that influenced scientific thought through the ages and the colorful personalities of some of the great philosophers, scientists, and thinkers: Galileo, who preferred painting and poetry to medicine and dropped out of university; Isaac Newton, who stuck needlelike bodkins into his eyes to better understand changes in light and color; and Antoine Lavoisier, who drank nothing but milk for two weeks to examine its effects on his body.

About the Author

Leonard Mlodinow

Leonard Mlodinow is a physicist and author. Mlodinow was born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1959, of parents who were both Holocaust survivors. His father, who spent more than a year in the Buchenwald death camp, had been a leader in the Jewish resistance under Nazi rule in his hometown of Cz?stochowa, Poland. As a child, Mlodinow was interested in both mathematics and chemistry, and while in high school was tutored in organic chemistry by a professor from the University of Illinois. As recounted in his book, , his interest turned to physics during a semester he took off from college to spend on a kibbutz in Israel, during which he had little to do at night beside reading , which was one of the few English books he found in the kibbutz library. While a doctoral student at the University of California, Berkeley, and on the faculty at Caltech, he developed (with N. Papanicolaou) a new type of perturbation theory for eigenvalue problems in quantum mechanics. Later, as an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Physics and Astrophysik in Munich, Germany, he did pioneering work (with M. Hillery) on the quantum theory of dielectric media. Apart from his research and books on popular science, he also wrote the screenplay for the film (currently in production) and has been a screenwriter for television series, including and He co-authored (with Matt Costello) a children's chapter book series entitled Between 2008 and 2010, Mlodinow worked on a book with Stephen Hawking, entitled A step beyond Hawking's other titles, The Grand Design is said to explore both the question of the existence of the universe and the issue of why the laws of physics are what they are. Mlodinow currently teaches at Caltech and is in discussions about producing a book with the controversial spiritualist Deepak Chopra.

Read Next Recommendation

Discuss with your friends

Report incorrect product information.