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The Quantum Astrologer's Handbook
a history of the Renaissance mathematics that birthed imaginary numbers, probability, and the new physics of the universe
A Daily Telegraph book of the year.
A book of science like no other, about a scientist like no other.
This is a landmark in science writing. It resurrects from the vaults of neglect the polymath Jerome Cardano, a Milanese of the sixteenth century. Who is he? A gambler and blasphemer, inventor and chancer, plagued by demons and anxieties, astrologer to kings, emperors and popes. This stubborn and unworldly man was the son of a lawyer and a brothel keeper, but also a gifted physician and the unacknowledged discoverer of the mathematical foundations of quantum physics. That is the argument of this charming and intoxicatingly clever book, which is truly original in its style, and in the manner of the modernists embodies in its very form its theories about the world.
The Quantum Astrologer's Handbook is a science book with the panache of a novel, for readers of Carlo Rovelli or Umberto Eco. It is a work of and about genius.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
'This is one of the best & imaginative non-fiction books I've ever read. Hands down. US readers ... I promise. Absolutely fantastic.' -- Andrea Wulf 'The most original non-fiction book I've read in years.' -- <p>Andrea Wulf, author of <em>The Invention of Nature</em> and <em>Founding Gardeners</em></p> 'The premise of Michael Brooks's book linking Cardano and quantum physics is bonkers but curiously effective.' * New Statesman * 'This unconventional biography reads like a playful, postmodern novel full of ambition, intrigue, tragedy and an amazing array of scientific discoveries ... a risky conceit but Brooks pulls it off magnificently.' * The Sydney Morning Herald * '[A] fascinating and accessible primer on some of the meatiest and most controversial ideas in modern science ... Brooks is known for his ability to explain difficult science to non-specialist audiences, and his passionate interest in quantum physics and history animates every page of this engrossing book.' * The Saturday Paper * 'Michael Brooks is a magician in the old sense - both scientist and artist. He uses both disciplines to create a compelling, fresh look at the quantum world. A fantastic read for students of reality.' -- Gwyneth Lewis, author of <i>Sunbathing in the Rain</i> 'Brooks communicates difficult stuff in an amiable and lucid manner.' * New Statesman * 'A beautifully novelistic fusion of physics and biography.' * The Daily Telegraph * 'Jerome Cardano is my all-time favourite mathematical rogue. Michael Brooks has brought him vividly to life in entertaining, informative, and highly original conversations about frontier physics, held across a gulf of centuries. A daring and successful experiment and a new kind of popular science writing.' -- Ian Stewart 'Michael Brooks is the canniest science writer around. He writes, above all, with attitude.' * The Independent * '[Brooks's] history of [quantum theory] and his sketches of its principals - Einstein, Schro dinger, Bohr - are swift and precise, but he really shines in his lucid discussions of theory and experiment.' * Financial Times * 'Brooks is an exemplary science writer. His explanations have the sort of clarity you often yearn for when you read about science, but rarely find.' * The Daily Telegraph * '4 stars ... Cardano turns out to be an intriguing figure, deserving of Brooks' obsession ... [they] make for very entertaining and illuminating companions.' * The Mail on Sunday * 'An enthralling biography of the polymath Jerome Cardano, which doubles as a primer on the strangeness of quantum physics ... This vivid book offers belated recompense to a gambler who lost more than he won in an eventful and turbulent life.' * The Sunday Times * "A near-novelistic account that's part quantum science, part biography, and part history, this story of 16th-century polymath Jerome Cardano delivers enjoyment on every level ... The author breathes life into the intrigues of the 16th century, from a political crisis point which turns on a king receiving a favorable horoscope, to public math battles in the town square between bitter rivals. Brooks's work offers a bewitching and intimate mix of biography and science." STARRED REVIEW -- Publishers Weekly 'This beautifully written book is a kind of experimental scientific biography that mashes up science with what seems to be non-science, the better to explore the boundaries of what we still don't know ... a quite superb book.' * The Guardian *