Journals Higher Education



Published: 10 March 2011

336 Pages | 16 pages of b/w plates; 60 integrated b/w figs.


ISBN: 9780199601332

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The Artful Universe Expanded

Second Edition

John Barrow

  • Examines how our aesthetic preferences are moulded by the physical nature of the Universe
  • Explores the underlying mathematical relationships and patterns behind art and music and their connections with natural forms
  • Draws out the ways in which the rhythms of our world - of day and night, and the yearly cycle of seasons - have impinged on the human psyche throughout history
  • Previous edition sold over 25,000 copies

New to this Edition:

  • Eight new sections of text, covering fascinating new areas: 1) The world is not enough: the grand illusion (about multiverses, and whether we might be in a simulated universe, in which case how might we know) 2) Bilateral agreements: appreciating curves (how we have evolved to appreciate symmetry and shapes with particular ratios) 3) Fractal expressionism: the strange case of Jack the Dripper (mathematical analysis shows that we are appreciating deep patterns in Pollock that are not found in other drip paintings) 4) Network news: branching out (the recent discovery of why the ratio of 3/4 crops up in biological relationships - the metabolic rate of different animals plotted against their mass gives a straight line of that slope; it's all to do with supply networks) 5) The Go-Betweenies: messing with Mister In-between (brain size vs body size, intelligence, and what made hominin brains swell)
  • 6) Extrasolar planets: a case of spatial prejudice (over 120 planets orbiting other stars have been discovered in the past 9 years; how do they and their orbits differ from those in our Solar System, and what does this tell us about the conditions necessary for life to evolve?) 7) Mars in your eyes: tthey came from outer space (our historical and current obsession with the possibility of life on Mars) 8) Outward bound: the way of the world (how mathematics has enabled us to understand a universe far beyond our human experience and intuition; and hence why sociologists of science are wrong when they describe science as purely a social construct; this section emphasizes the basic point of the book, with reference to fashionable but mistaken postmodern tendencies)
  • Over ten new figures, including two additional colour plates in the central colour section
  • Short updates to text throughout
  • Stylish new page design, and striking new cover

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