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Table of Contents

* Prologue: Really Big Questions * Background *1. Electric Rain: Information in Our Lives *2. The Spell of Democritus: Why Information Will Transform Physics *3. In-Formation: The Roots of the Concept *4. Counting Bits: The Scientific Measure of Information *5. Abstraction: Beyond Concrete Reality *6. The Book of Life: Genetic Information *7. A Battle among Giants: Reductionism and Emergence *8. The Oracle of Copenhagen: Science Is about Information * Classical Information *9. Figuring the Odds: How Probability Measures Information *10. Counting Digits: The Ubiquitous Logarithm *11. The Message on the Tombstone: The Meaning of Entropy *12. Randomness: The Flip Side of Information *13. Electric Information: From Morse to Shannon *14. Noise: Nuisance and Necessity *15. Ultimate Speed: The Information Speed Limit *16. Unpacking Information: The Computer in the Service of Physics *17. Bioinformatics: Biology Meets Information Technology *18. Information Is Physical: The Cost of Forgetting * Quantum Information *19. The Quantum Gadget: Quantum Weirdness Brought to Light *20. A Game of Beads: The Wonder of Superposition *21. The Qubit: Information in the Quantum Age *22. Quantum Computing: Putting Qubits to Work *23. Black Holes: Where Information Goes to Hide * Work in Progress *24. Bits, Bucks, Hits and Nuts: Information beyond Shannon *25. Zeilinger's Principle: Information at the Root of Reality * Notes * Index

Promotional Information

Hans Christian von Bayer is well known for explaining the complexities of science to the rest of us, and in this book he lives up to his reputation by taking on one of the most difficult concepts around--information. Starting with his characterization of information as a gentle rain that falls on all of our lives, he leads us through a universe in which information is woven like threads in a cloth. Masterful! -- James Trefil, Clarence J Robinson Professor of Physics at George Mason University and co-author of The Dictionary of Cultural Literacy

About the Author

Hans Christian von Baeyer is Chancellor Professor of Physics at the College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia. In the course of his career he has been elected Fellow of the American Physical Society, served as Director of the Virginia Associated Research Campus--an interdisciplinary research laboratory which became the nucleus of the Jefferson Lab (the world's premier electron accelerator facility for nuclear physics)--and garnered numerous awards for his scientific writing. His previous books include Taming the Atom, Rainbows, Snowflakes and Quarks, and Warmth Disperses and Time Passes.


In Information, physicist Hans Christian von Baeyer sets out to explain why...information is the irreducible seed from which every particle, every force and even the fabric of space-time grows. This is deep stuff, but von Baeyer romps through a huge range of subjects, including thermodynamics, statistics, information theory and quantum mechanics with ease...You will never think of information the same way again. New Scientist 20031101 Von Baeyer has provided an accessible and engaging overview of the emerging role of information as a fundamental building block in science. -- Michael Nielsen Nature 20040101 Delving into the history of science from ancient Greek theories of the atom to the frontiers of astrophysics, [Von Baeyer] shows how the concept of information illuminates a huge variety of phenomena, from black holes to the gamesmanship strategies of Let's Make a Deal...Von Baeyer manages to steer clear of equations without resorting to the hand-waving metaphors that too many science popularizers lapse into when trying to convey difficult ideas. The result is a stylish introduction to one of the most fascinating themes of modern science. Publishers Weekly 20040301

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