Thomas Lin – editor, Sean Carroll – foreword – Alice and Bob Meet the Wall of Fire

Bringing together the best and most interesting science stories appearing in Quanta Magazine over the past five years, Alice and Bob Meet the Wall of Fire reports on some of the greatest scientific minds as they test the limits of human knowledge. It communicates science by taking it seriously, wrestling with difficult concepts, and clearly explaining them in a way that speaks to our innate curiosity about our world and ourselves.

In the title story, Alice and Bob – beloved characters of various thought experiments in physics – grapple with gravitational forces, possible spaghettification, and a massive wall of fire as Alice jumps into a black hole. Another story considers whether the universe is impossible, in light of experimental results at the Large Hadron Collider. We learn about quantum reality and the mystery of quantum entanglement; explore the source of time’s arrow; and witness a eureka moment when a quantum physicist exclaims: “Finally, we can understand why a cup of coffee equilibrates in a room.” We reflect on humans’ enormous skulls and the Brain Boom; consider the evolutionary benefits of loneliness; peel back the layers of the newest artificial-intelligence algorithms. These stories from Quanta give us a front-row seat to scientific discovery.

Author: Thomas Lin – editor, Sean Carroll – foreword
Narrator: Bob Souer
Duration: 10 hours 31 minutes
Released: 19 Nov 2006
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Language: English

User Review:

lapel gory

The passages compiled in this audibook get straight to the point in their coverage of deep physics concepts, unlike a lot of reviews that treat the reader as if they were in elementary school. And they do it without burying you with needless equations or details.

The contents include many aspects of the theory and applications of physics, though a lot of concepts are not discussed (e.g. loop quantum gravity is only mentioned in passing, quantum computing is hardly exposed, etc.). I would’ve preferred a 30 hr audibook with adequately broad scope, but I think the depth of this is about as perfect as any audibook can be expected to exhibit without scaring away most listeners.

The narrator is as good as they come for this sort of audibook.