History and Philosophy of Science, Press Releases

Press Release: Ekeland, The Best of All Possible Worlds

jacket imageLeading readers on a journey through scientific attempts to envision the best of all possible worlds, from Galileo to superstring theory, Ekeland explores the legacy of the theory of optimization—first proposed by French physicist Maupertius and later expanded on and revised by Leibniz—which holds that any system will always operate in the most efficient means possible. Here Ekeland—an able and masterly distiller of complex mathematics—traces the history of this profound idea and its influence on centuries of intellectual advances, from Bentham’s utilitarianism and Darwin’s natural selection to Einstein’s theory of relativity and John Nash’s game theory. The result is a dazzling display of erudition—The Best of All Possible Worlds will be essential reading for popular science buffs and historians of science alike.
Read the press release.