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From the 2021 Nobel Prize winner in Physics, an enlightening and personal journey into the practice of groundbreaking science
“[Giorgio Parisi is] an extraordinary scientist.” —Carlo Rovelli
With In a Flight of Starlings, celebrated physicist Giorgio Parisi guides us through his unorthodox yet exhilarating work, starting with investigating the principles of physics by observing the flight of flocks of birds. Studying the movements of these communities, he has realized, proves an illuminating way into understanding complex systems of all kinds—collections of everything from atoms and planets to other animals, such as ourselves.
Along the way, he reflects on the lessons he has taken from a life in pursuit of scientific truth: the importance of serendipity to the discovery of new ideas, the surprising kinship between physics and other disciplines, and the value of science to a thriving society. In so doing, he removes the practice of science from the confines of the laboratory and brings it into the real world.
Part elegant scientific treatise, part thrilling journey of discovery, In a Flight of Starlings is an invitation to find wonder in the world around us.
About the Author
Giorgio Parisi is an Italian theoretical physicist and professor of theoretical physics at the Sapienza University of Rome. Together with Klaus Hasselmann and Syukuro Manabe, he received the 2021 Nobel Prize in Physics.
“It doesn’t take interest or a background in physics to appreciate Parisi’s work. Writing in clear terms for the layperson that avoid making the reader feel like they’ve wandered into a lecture hall, the physicist offers a glimpse into his work and a look at how scientific research has evolved over the years . . . The deceptively slim volume serves as a forceful argument for the value of scientific literacy at a time when it’s increasingly being challenged by misinformation . . . Parisi’s book is a step toward making physics feel more accessible.” —Associated Press
“An interesting collection of essays reflecting on [Parisi’s] long career in science . . . The scientific explanations are admirably lucid.” —The Wall Street Journal
“Stimulating . . . This ode to the scientific process fascinates.” —Publishers Weekly
“Parisi’s voice is amiable and conversational, which endows [In a Flight of Starlings] with the feel of a conversation with a wise and generous elder.” —Kirkus
“[Giorgio Parisi is] an extraordinary scientist.” —Carlo Rovelli “Giorgio Parisi is renowned for his scientific creativity, originality, and power. In this exhilarating little book, he shows his human side, too. By its end, readers will feel they’ve made a charming, witty new friend.” —Frank Wilczek, winner of the Nobel Prize and author of Fundamentals “In this delightful and deeply thoughtful book, Giorgio Parisi weaves a tapestry of experiences and ideas that connects disciplines and prepares us to appreciate the beauty, importance, and cultural value of science.” —Frances Arnold, winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry