Alexander Unzicker

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One hundred years after the completion of the General Theory of Relativity, conferences, meetings, and celebrations are taking place all around the world.

Yet a decisive consideration on the subject by Albert Einstein has completely fallen into oblivion. Already in 1911, he held the key to an even greater discovery in his hands: a theory concerning the variable speed of light that would have explained the origin of gravity by referring to distant masses in the universe. Eventually, the consequences for modern cosmology would be revolutionary: the picture of an expanding universe and the Big Bang would need to be revised.

Sadly, Einstein's ingenious idea came twenty years too early. For it took until the 1930s before the true size of the universe was revealed, which would have confirmed his formula about the variable speed of light. Due to a series of accidents, the theory remained practically unknown, although the Nobelists Erwin Schrödinger and Paul Dirac had worked on similar ideas.

Einstein's Lost Key is a description of relativity comprehensible for lay people, a vividly exposed history of science, and a serious, though controversial input for modern research..

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The book is a merciless critique of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN and of the theoretical model on which the world's most expensive experiment is based. Unzicker, a German physicist and award-winning science writer, argues that the greatest physicists such as Einstein, Dirac or Schrödinger would have considered the 'discovery' of the Higgs particle ridiculous. According to the author, the standard model has grown unbelievably complicated and doesn't solve any of the great riddles of physics. Moreover, with their increasingly intricate techniques, particle physicists are fooling themselves with alleged results, while their convictions are based on group-think and parroting. Altogether, the data analysis cannot be overseen by anybody.

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Bankrupting Physics is a blunt, but entertaining account of the current state of fundamental physics. The reader may not necessarily have the same opinion as the authors, but they will bear witness to some of the field's unchallengeable high priests in action, and question whether the system itself is now in a period of stagnation. How does the struggle for power and money among modern scientists compromise the quest for uncovering the true secrets of nature? This is a worthwhile book to read that is guaranteed to raise some controversy, and is likely to receive a critical reception by the very actors it is reporting on. (Pavel Kroupa, University of Bonn)

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