Programming the Universe by Seth LloydAn outstanding book, but not a perfect one. The core subject interests me to no end, the computational theory of the universe; long story short a theory which states that if you had a computer so immensely powerful that it could simulate the universe perfectly, that it would itself be the universe. The logical next step, of course, being that the universe itself is a computer of sorts. Constantly flipping bits and computing its next move. I’m not a physicist so I bought the book to gain insights into this fascinating theory while avoiding the technicalities of digging through scientific papers. Two thirds of the book where spent laying the foundation; what are bits, what is the definition of a computer, what are the first and second laws of thermodynamics. Topics I am familiar with but still found interesting. The final third is devoted to the real meat, but Seth Lloyd’s delivery was a little to vague, teasing me with interesting concepts but ultimately never fully explaining them. Seth Lloyd provides a great overall read and an interesting primer on the computational universe, but the book fails in the way many scientific books do — not picking the perfect audience — it leaves the layman bewildered at page one and those truly interested and possessing the requisite background knowledge unsatiated.

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