The Primacy of Doubt: From climate change to quantum physics, how the science of uncertainty can help predict and understand our chaotic world


Available for Pre-order. Due October 2022.
The Primacy of Doubt: From climate change to quantum physics, how the science of uncertainty can help predict and understand our chaotic world Author: Format: Hardback First Published: Published By: Oxford University Press
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Pages: 320 Illustrations and other contents: 51 Language: English ISBN: 9780192843593 Categories: , , , , ,

A bold, visionary, and mind-bending exploration of how the geometry of chaos can explain our uncertain world – from weather and pandemics to quantum physics and free will Covering a breathtaking range of topics – from climate change to the foundations of quantum physics, from economic modelling to conflict prediction, from free will to consciousness and spirituality – The Primacy of Doubt takes us on a unique journey through the science of uncertainty. A key theme that unifies these seemingly unconnected topics is the geometry of chaos: the beautiful and profound fractal structures that lie at the heart of much of modern mathematics. Royal Society Research Professor Tim Palmer shows us how the geometry of chaos not only provides the means to predict the world around us, it suggests new insights into some of the most astonishing aspects of our universe and ourselves. This important and timely book helps the reader makes sense of uncertainty in a rapidly changing world.

Weight0.6059664 kg


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It's hard to think of anyone else who could have written so authoritatively-and so accessibly-on themes extending from quantum gravity to climate modelling. This fascinating and important book offers both breadth and depth-delineating the scope of the scientific enterprise, but highlighting fundamental limits to what we can ever understand or predict. * Lord Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal * In a whirlwind of a book that's partly scientific autobiography and partly the manifest of a visionary, Tim Palmer masterfully weaves together climate change and quantum mechanics into one coherent whole. Using uncertainty as a unifying principle, Palmer puts forward new perspectives on old problems. A revolutionary thinker way ahead of his time. * Sabine Hossenfelder, physicist and author *

Author Biography

Tim Palmer is a Royal Society Research Professor in the Department of Physics at the University of Oxford. Following a PhD in general relativity theory, he spent much of his career working on the predictability and dynamics of weather and climate, developing probabilistic ensemble prediction systems across a range of weather and climate timescales. He also researches the foundations of quantum physics, in addition to applications of quantum and imprecise computing. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society and an International Member of the US National Academy of Sciences. Amongst other awards, he has won the Institute of Physics Dirac Gold Medal, and the top medals of the American and European Meteorological Societies.