The Gravity of Math

How Geometry Rules the Universe


By Steve Nadis

By Shing-Tung Yau

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  2. Hardcover $32.00 $41.00 CAD

"A must-read.”―Avi Loeb, New York Times–bestselling author of Extraterrestrial

One of the preeminent mathematicians of the past half century shows how physics and math were combined to give us the theory of gravity and the dizzying array of ideas and insights that has come from it 

Mathematics is far more than just the language of science. It is a critical underpinning of nature. The famed physicist Albert Einstein demonstrated this in 1915 when he showed that gravity—long considered an attractive force between massive objects—was actually a manifestation of the curvature, or geometry, of space and time. But in making this towering intellectual leap, Einstein needed the help of several mathematicians, including Marcel Grossmann, who introduced him to the geometrical framework upon which his theory rest.
In The Gravity of Math, Steve Nadis and Shing-Tung Yau consider how math can drive and sometimes even anticipate discoveries in physics. Examining phenomena like black holes, gravitational waves, and the Big Bang, Nadis and Yau ask: Why do mathematical statements, derived solely from logic, provide the best descriptions of our physical world?
The Gravity of Math offers an insightful and compelling look into the power of mathematics—whose reach, like that of gravity, can extend to the edge of the universe.

  • “A captivating and comprehensive journey through the mathematics of gravity and its unresolved puzzles from the Big Bang to the formation of black holes. There are no better authors to tell the story than the brilliant mathematician Shing-Tung Yau and the exceptional science writer Steve Nadis. A must-read.”
    Avi Loeb, New York Times–bestselling author of Extraterrestrial
  • “This book will leave you amazed at how brilliant human thought discovered the intimate connection between the falling of an apple on Earth and the existence of a massive black hole at the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. With superb technical explanations and polished prose, this book illustrates how real mathematical physics can give even the most imaginative science fiction some pretty stiff competition for excitement.”
    Paul Nahin, University of New Hampshire
  • “A splendid rendition of one of our greatest scientific sagas, including the most recent instalments: this story of general relativity describes the mind-blowing union of gravitation and geometry, deftly weaving math and mass. A book on gravity that readers will fall for.”
    Karl Sigmund, author of The Waltz of Reason
  • “With clarity and finesse, Nadis and Yau chronicle the deep connections between mathematics and physical reality, from Einsteinian relativity to string theory. The Gravity of Math offers a literary treat for anyone looking for lucid explanations of the deep principles underlying contemporary physics.”
    Paul Halpern, author of The Allure of the Multiverse
  • “The best account on the crucial role played by mathematics in the formulation and development of general relativity that I have read so far.”
    Sergiu Klainerman, Princeton University

On Sale
Apr 16, 2024
Page Count
272 pages
Basic Books

Steve Nadis

About the Author

Steve Nadis, a contributing editor to Discover magazine and a contributing writer to Quanta, lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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Yau, Shing-Tung

Shing-Tung Yau

About the Author

Shing-Tung Yau is a mathematics professor at Tsinghua University and professor emeritus at Harvard University. The recipient of the Fields Medal, National Medal of Science, and a MacArthur Fellowship, he lives in Beijing.

Learn more about this author