[Wilczek Book picture]


The Lightness of Being:
Mass, Ether and the Unification of Forces

New book from Frank Wilczek, Nobel prize winner

"Want to know what it's all about? Here's a book that candidly tells you what 'it' is. And just about everything you thought about 'it' is wrong. Accessible, charming, and cheeky, The Lightness of Being reveals a universe where matter is the hum of strange music, mass doesn't weigh, and empty space is a multi layered, multicolored superconductor."
-- K. C. COLE, author of Mind Over Matter : Conversations with the Cosmos


Almost without our noticing, our understanding of nature's deepest reality has changed radically over the past quarter-century. We are now tantalizingly close to a long-sought breakthrough: the Grand Unification of the fundamental forces of nature.

Acclaimed physicist and Nobel Laureate Frank Wilczek has played a lead role in establishing these new paradigms. Transcending older ideas about matter and space, he explains a remarkable new discovery: Matter is built from almost weightless units, and pure energy is the ultimate source of mass. Wilczek calls this discovery "The Lightness of Being." But he also shows us much more. Space is no mere container, empty and passive. It is a dynamic Grid -- a modern ether. The Grid is more fundamental than any "fundamental" particle; its spontaneous activity creates and destroys particles. This new understanding of mass and "empty space" explains the puzzling feebleness of gravity and brings a gorgeous unification of all the forces of nature into sharp focus.

The Lightness of Being is the first book to explore the implications of these revolutionary ideas. Wilczek presents a stunning new view of our fantastic universe and envisions a new golden age in fundamental physics.


"Frank Wilczek takes readers on an enjoyable and enlightening voyage that starts with the deep insights that won him a Nobel Prize, and moves on to the more speculative realms that physicists are new investigating. This is a colorful and masterful treatment of recent developments in fundamental physics."
-- PETER WOIT, author of Not Even Wrong

"The Lightness of Being is a lively, playful, and inventive tour de force, written by a lively, playful, and inventive key mover m the field. Few creative popular expositors of physics are also brilliant physicists. It is rarer still to find a creative expositor of physics who is not only brilliant but has personally helped change the way we think about nature."
-- LAWRANCE KRAUSS, author of Hiding in the Mirror: The Mysterious Allure of Extra Dimensions

"The Lightness of Being takes the reader on a mind-stretching journey, providing a revolutionary new vision of the universe. Frank Wilczek is an extraordinarily accomplished and creative scientist who has the rare ability to communicate scientific ideas and insights with exceptional clarity-- but also with a delightful playfulness."
-- JEROME I. FRIEDMAN, Nobel Laureate, MIT

"The Lightness of Being is a delightful celebration of the wonders of physics, told by one who has helped define the current frontiers. Wilczek's lightness of touch and wry humor make this book a joy to read."
-- FRANK CLOSE, author of The Void

"Vintage Wilczek -- fun, simple and right."
-- ROBERT LAUGHLIN, author of A Different Universe and The Crime of Reason

"This book is deep, simple and incredibly well-written. Starting from the nature of mass, Professor Wilczek leads the reader to an understanding of the most profound ideas and accomplishments in physics today."
-- T. D. LEE, Nobel Laureate, Columbia University