The Deepest Idea in the Universe

Book details

ISBN: 9781471129018
Published: July 2016

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Convergence is a history of modern science with an original and significant twist. Various scientific disciplines, despite their very different beginnings, and disparate areas of interest have been coming together over the past 150 years, converging and coalescing, to identify one extraordinary master narrative, one overwhelming interlocking coherent story: the history of the universe.

Intimate connections between physics and chemistry have been revealed as have the links between quantum chemistry and molecular biology. Astronomy has been augmented by particle physics, psychology has been increasingly aligned with physics, with chemistry and even with economics. Genetics has been harmonised with linguistics, botany with archaeology, climatology with myth. This is a simple insight but one with profound consequences. Convergence is, as Nobel Prize-winning physicist Steven Weinberg has put it, ‘The deepest thing about the universe.’

This book does not, however, tell the story by beginning at the beginning and ending at the end. It is much more revealing, more convincing, and altogether more thrilling to tell the story as it emerged, as it began to fall into place, piece by piece, converging tentatively at first, but then with increasing speed, vigour and confidence. The overlaps and interdependence of the sciences, the emerging order that they are gradually uncovering, is without question the most enthralling aspect of twenty-first-century science.

Reviews of Convergence

"Provocative ... Watson examines an impressive array of connections between disciplines ... [he] sheds light on what can be gained when different research areas achieve convergence ... [His] overall argument remains convincing."


"Watson offers the reader a “big history” of the modern sciences ... Those seeking a grand overview of science’s greatest hits over the past century will find it here."

The Washington Post

"Watson argues persuasively"

Physics World

"‘A fascinating history of science over the past 150 years that offers a powerful argument ... that many disparate branches of science are converging on the same truths."

Cool Science Radio

"In this massive tour de force ... Watson persuasively presents a deep and challenging idea."

Publishers Weekly

"A delightful exploration of “the deepest idea in the universe” ... Just as we are in a golden age of science, we’re also in a golden age of writing about science, and Convergence lead us into fascinating new territory."

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Convergence is profoundly simple and simply profound – and possibly the most important book you’ll read this year."

Fortean Times

"This fascinating narrative ... Watson treats biology, chemistry and physics as entangled plotlines, and readers’ excitement will build as more connections are made. High recommended."

Library Journal