Ever since Copernicus, scientists have continually adjusted their view of human nature, moving it further and further from its ancient position at the center of Creation. But in recent years, a startling new concept has evolved that places it more firmly than ever in a special position. Known as the Anthropic Cosmological Principle, this collection of ideas holds that the existence of intelligent observers determines the fundamental structure of the Universe. In its most radical version, the Anthropic Principle asserts that "intelligent information-processing must come into existence in the Universe, and once it comes into existence, it will never die out."
This wide-ranging and detailed book explores the many ramifications of the Anthropic Cosmological Principle, covering the whole spectrum of human inquiry from Aristotle to Z bosons. Bringing a unique combination of skills and knowledge to the subject, John D. Barrow and Frank J. Tipler--two of the world's leading cosmologists--cover the definition and nature of life, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, and the interpretation of the quantum theory in relation to the existence of observers. The book will be of vital interest to philosophers, theologians, mathematicians, scientists, and historians, as well as to anyone concerned with the connection between the vastness of the universe of stars and galaxies and the existence of life within it on a small planet out in the suburbs of the Milky Way.
`an engaging book ... practically a universal education in both the history of modern science and the history of the Universe ... will be much quoted, much debated and much praised'
`a feast: the kind of book which tells you everything you want to know about everything'
`I was infuriated by it, disagreed with it and loved reading it.'
Timothy Ferris, New York Times Book Review
`in the speculative and intellectual richness of its pages, this book is probably unsurpassed'
`a masterly exposition of what seems bound to become one of the most important developments to have taken place in physical science'
`Intriguing analysis of new scientific thinking.'
`unique and wide-ranging book ... The reader is taken on an eclectic study of many scientific disciplines and is presented with a revealing picture of the structure of the physical world solely in terms of its invariant constants. There are also fascinating chapters on the definition and nature of life, the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence and the interpretation of quantum theory in relation to the existence of observers.'
Europe & Astronomy 1992
`If you get a kick out of cosmic coincidences The Anthropic Cosmological Principle ... is definitely for you. The "anthropic" idea, which is that our very existence may explain why the Universe is the way it is, is an extraordinary one. So too is Barrow and Tipler's account.'