Reviews elsewhere on the web:
PhysicsWeb
Bob DuCharme
2think.org

Hans C Von Baeyer

Information, the new language of science

As we are always being told, we are constantly bombarded with information. We have Information technology and Information science to try to deal with it. Von Baeyer's book concerns the philosophy of information - it looks at how we are beginning to see the world in terms of it. The preface describes the inspiration from John AWheeler's ideas of 'It from Bit', that is the idea that reality can be thought of as pure information. The book is aimed at the non-technical reader. Some of the concepts may be challenging, but no prior knowledge is required of any of the subjects covered.

Unfortunately the book doesn't start very well. Rather than giving a gentle introduction to the subject, the author seems to be trying to show what a difficult subject this is. Don't worry if you find this a struggle as happily the rest of the book is much better. Part two deals with areas such as Entropy, Relativity and genome sequencing, finishing with Landauer's ideas that 'Information is Physical'. Part three starts by describing some of the ideas of quantum theory, and proceeds on to quantum computers, finishing with an account of black holes.. The last part consists of two chapters, one looking at alternative measures of information, and the last on the Zeilinger's ideas describing quantum theory in terms of information

Amazon.com info
Paperback 272 pages  
ISBN: 0753817829
Salesrank: 2821360
Weight:0.57 lbs
Published: 2004 Phoenix (an Imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd )
Marketplace:New from $70.72:Used from $10.97
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Amazon.co.uk info
Paperback 272 pages  
ISBN: 0753817829
Salesrank: 973148
Weight:0.57 lbs
Published: 2004 W&N
Marketplace:New from £86.76:Used from £0.13
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Amazon.ca info
Paperback 272 pages  
ISBN: 0753817829
Salesrank: 615471
Weight:0.57 lbs
Published: 2004 Phoenix
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 143.09:Used from CDN$ 17.06
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Product Description
'A whistle-stop and humbling tour of physics high points over the past century' Jerome Burne, FT magazine Today we live in the information age. Wherever we look it surrounds us, and with the help of ever more efficient devices, from the internet through to mobile phones, we are producing, exchanging and harnessing more than ever before. But information does far more than define our modern age - at a fundamental level it defines the material world itself, for it is through its mediating role that we gain all our knowledge, and everything derives its function, existence and meaning from it. In twenty-five short chapters, von Baeyer takes us from the birth of the concept of information and its basic language, the bit, through to the coal-face of contemporary physics and beyond relativity; black holes; randomness; abstraction - explaining why it has the power to become the most fundamental concept in physics - as fundamental as mass and energy.