Cover image for God in the equation : how Einstein became the prophet of the new religious era
God in the equation : how Einstein became the prophet of the new religious era
Powell, Corey S., 1966-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Free Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
277 pages ; 23 cm
Personal Subject:
Subject Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BL240.3 .P69 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Religion and science meet in a new big bang of a book. Corey Powell's riveting story explores how scientists try to explain more than the material universe. The initial idea was Einstein's 'fudge factor'. He called it his 'biggest blunder' and is known by scientists as the Greek letter Lambda. It was the first rigorous expression of this quest for something beyond the tangible. Cosmology, the attempt to explain our universe, its size, shape, beginning and end, has belonged to science for a century or so. And now it has reached a plateau, possibly its end point. There is some mopping up to be done understanding the nature of dark matter and dark energy. But dark matter and dark energy are now enshrined in scientific theory. Science has at last formulated a full-blown spiritual theory, a Church of Lambda. Powell contends that there is a God, the sum of the energies scattered through the universe. This god isn't so far from what Einstein called the 'Old One, ' the strict Spinozan determinist who could not intervene in worldly affairs - but is inspiring and powerful. Corey Powell introduces readers to the god in the equations of modern cosmology, giving a fascinating insight into how t

Author Notes

Powell, Corey S. is an editor at Discover magazine and also a regular contributor. He has written for a variety of other publications, including Scientific American and Newsday. An adjunct professor of science writing at New York University, he lives in Brooklyn, New York

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

In anointing Einstein as the prophet of a new faith ("sci/religion"), Powell appropriates scriptural vocabulary in ways that some readers may find wildly inappropriate. After all, what kind of religion demands of its adherents no obedience to holy commandments in this world and inspires no hope of eternal life with God in the next? Still, Powell's provocative ecclesiology does illuminate the priestly functions modern scientists have assumed since Einstein first dared to inscribe the entire cosmos in a single bold equation. In a chronicle that opens to nonspecialists the largest of astronomical questions, Powell shows that pioneering theorists have emulated Einstein's example by framing models of the universe that reflect a worshipful devotion to cosmic harmony. And in testing their models, these researchers have often experienced a thrill of religious ecstasy upon discovering unexpected glimpses of such harmony, frequently manifest in near-mystical phenomena such as dark matter and quantum fluctuations. Though some purists will protest that he pushes his science-as-religion metaphor too strenuously, most readers will applaud Powell for his deeply stimulating synthesis. --Bryce Christensen

Publisher's Weekly Review

For thousands of years, science and religion have occupied separate rooms in the house of culture. As science writer Powell points out, though, such a separation is hardly warranted in the modern world, where a new faith that he calls sci/religion captures both the mystical and the empirical. The prophet of sci/religion, Powell claims, is Einstein, whose search for a unifying factor in his relativity theory brought together the elements of physics and metaphysics. Einstein believed that a spirit vastly superior to the spirit of man is manifest in the laws of the universe, and he named this spirit Lamda. His Lamda principle became known as the cosmological constant, a force that dominated the universe and mitigated the inward pull of gravity. In this lively story, Powell traces the rise of the scientific community' s tendency to explain the workings of the universe in mystical ways, as they search for the forces dark energy, dark matter that unify and bring order to the universe. Powell argues that sci/religion offers a religion of rational hope as an alternative to what he calls old-time religion. He also contends that sci/religion can offer a theory of human consciousness rooted in the interactions of subatomic particles and fields. Powell' s view of religion is decidedly outdated, as he has missed the resurgence of religion and spirituality in the late 20th century. Despite this, he convincingly shows the ways that science has molded itself into a new faith, and his book will surely generate controversy and skepticism among scientists and religionists. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

1 The God of Sci/Religionp. 1
2 How God Got a Job in Physicsp. 15
3 The Church of Einstein is Foundedp. 47
4 The New Cardinals Bicker in Europe and Americap. 81
5 Einstein's Prophecy Fulfilledp. 113
6 The Era When the Universe Came Forth from the Hands of the Creatorp. 145
7 Hisses from the Microwavesp. 181
8 The Angel of Dark Energyp. 209
9 Salvation in the Church of Einsteinp. 241
Acknowledgmentsp. 259
Bibliographyp. 261
Indexp. 265